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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Encyclopedia Entry on Chechnya Declared Extremist

A Grozny court has labeled an encyclopedia entry on Chechnya as extremist and ordered the confiscation of volume 58 of the 62-volume "Big Encyclopedia," the Chechen government said Tuesday.

The encyclopedia was published between 2005 and 2006 by the Moscow-based Terra publishing house. The publisher declined to comment Tuesday.

Authorities will ask the Justice Ministry to include the volume in its list of extremist publications, Chechen ombudsman Nurdi Nukhazhiyev said, Interfax reported.

In an official complaint published last month, Nukhazhiyev said the entry portrays Chechens as being genetically predisposed to violence and constantly raiding their neighbors. "It pulls out old and totally shattered fables like mass treason and collaboration with the Germans [during World

War II] and genocide of [Chechnya's] Russian-speaking population," he said.

In a statement posted on the Chechen government's web site Tuesday, the ombudsman lambasted the entry as including "everything negative that has been said about Chechens for hundreds of years."

In an expert opinion for the court, Vitaly Naumkin, head of the Academy of Science's Oriental Institute, said the article contained "grave falsification of Chechen history and unscientific accounts that might cause [ethnic] hatred," Gazeta.ru reported.

Among others, it contains "vile myths" like a statement that Chechens welcomed the German army by preparing a white horse with a golden saddle as a present for Adolf Hitler, Naumkin said.

During Monday's hearing at Grozny's Zavodsky District Court, Chechen historian Vakhid Akayev said everything in the encyclopedia relating to Chechnya was ideologized and gave a one-sided interpretation of history.

"The worst is that this filthy parody was not written by people from the street but by 10 members of the Academy of Science," Akayev said, Interfax reported.

No copy of the full entry was available Tuesday. An aide to the encyclopedia's chief editor, Sergei Kondratov, said he was not authorized to provide a copy. Kondratov would not be available to comment, said the aide, who refused to give his full name.

Terra's publication is distinct from the "Big Russian Encyclopedia," the successor to the "Big Soviet Encyclopedia."

Launched in 2005, the Terra encyclopedia had a print run of 150,000 priced at 58,000 rubles (nearly $2,000).