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The All-National Congress of the Chechen People (NCChP) of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria came to power on 1 November 1991 under president Dzhokhar Dudayev, a former commander of the Soviet air force base in Tartu, Estonia. Since its formation, the organization advocated sovereignty for Chechnya as a separate republic within the Soviet Union. During the period of Soviet breakup, it switched this to explicit support for the separation of "Ichkeria" from Russia.
On 7 September 1991, the NCChP National Guard seized government buildings and the radio and television center. They stormed a session of the Chechen-Ingush ASSR Supreme Soviet, which caused the death of the Soviet Communist Party chief for Grozny, Vitali Kutsenko, who was either thrown out of a window or fell trying to escape, and effectively dissolved the government of the Chechen-Ingush ASSR. Between 1992 and 1994 and again from 1996 until 1999 Chechnya was de facto an independent state.