On 6 March, between 1,500 and 2,000 Chechen fighters infiltrated Grozny and launched a three-day surprise raid on the city, overrunning much of it and capturing caches of weapons and ammunition. Also in March, Chechen fighters attacked Samashki, where hundreds of villagers were killed.
On 6 March, a Cypriot passenger jet was hijacked by Chechen sympathisers while flying toward Germany. Both of these incidents were resolved through negotiations, and the hijackers surrendered without any fatalities being inflicted.
The first St Patrick's Festival was held on 17 March 1996. In 1997, it became a three-day event, and by 2000 it was a four-day event. By 2006, the festival was five days long; more than 675,000 people attended the 2009 parade. Overall 2009's five-day festival saw almost 1 million visitors, who took part in festivities that included concerts, outdoor theatre performances, and fireworks. The Skyfest which ran from 2006 to 2012 formed the centerpiece of the St Patrick's festival.