Thursday, September 30, 2004

NATO and Baltic Defence

An article by Paul Goble, from Wednesday's Postimees newspaper, Tallinn, Estonia. (via MAK)

NATO Can Defend Baltics But the Baltics Could Defeat Themselves

Paul A. Goble

Tartu, September 28 -- NATO could successfully repel any Russian military attack on the Baltic countries at any time during the next decade – unless Russian covert actions were able to destabilize the three Baltic societies and then Russian psychological operations in Western Europe were able to divide the Western alliance, according to a study conducted by a group of senior American defense analysts.

Their conclusions are contained in a paper entitled „Assuring Access in Key Strategic Regions” that was prepared for the U.S. Army by RAND, a leading American think tank that for more than 50 years has prepared studies for the American government on a wide variety of topics. This 187-page monography was posted in its entirety on the Internet at this link. It should become „must reading” for everyone concerned about the security of the Baltic countries.

In the study’s own words, its nine authors „developed scenarios
and conducted political-military games to determine what strategies, tactics and capabilities potential adversaries might use to complicate U.S. access to key areas and how effective the U.S. counters to these tactics are.” As is usually the case with such planning exercises and as anyone reading their conclusions must remember, they organized this game not because they or those who ordered the study expect particular conflicts but rather they are interested in doing what is necessary to preclude them.

This particular RAND study includes discussions of the results of games conducted about possible conflicts in Southwest Asia, the Pacific Theater, the European Theater, and Latvin America and the Caribbean. The European theater game concerned a Russian decision to invade Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in order to detach these three Baltic countries from NATO and the European Union and to project Russian power westward.

The scenario for European theater game, according to the RAND analysts, was „a deteriorating U.S.-Russian relationship,” one in which Russia felt increasingly vulnerable to encirclement and the U.S. increasingly angered by „continued Russian close ties with Iran.” Indeed, for the purposes of this game, Washington had reached the conclusion that Russia’s support for Iran’s nuclear program meant that Moscow was no longer an ally in the war against terrorism but rather an „enabler” of the terrorists and the governments supporting them. Because of these changes, ever fewer Russians were willing to view Baltic membership in NATO as irreversible, and ever more officials in NATO countries reached the conclusion that any Russian assertivenss must be countered quickly and effectively.

The „catalyst” for the crisis between Russia and the West over the Baltic countries that formed the basis of this strategic planning game was, in the words of the RAND document, „the failure of Estonia and Latvia to fully integrate their ethnic Russian populations.” That „failure,” the document says, led to increasing activism by ethnic Russians in both countries, and that activism in turn opened the way for „Russian intelligence services to exploit existing protests and unrest by providing financing and organizational expertise” to these groups. According to authors of this scenario, this dramatically expanded ethnic Russian unrest then prompted the governments there to „ a violent crackdown,” something that gave Moscow „an opportunity to pose as a protector of human rights,” a stance with the
potential to divide the NATO alliance.

In this game, Russia then threatened the Baltic countries, but NATO reacted by demanding that Moscow stop its „provocative” actions and by taking steps to defend the Baltic countries in the event of a Russian move. „Fearing that the loss of both international and domestic face will lead to a collapse of the government, the Russian leadership then ordered an invasion of the Baltic states.” Because of its continuing problems with organization and supply, the Russian Army commander tells its political masters that the military needs at least 30 days to prepare.

That delay made all the difference, the authors suggest, because it gave NATO the time the alliance needed to respond. And the study states that on the field of battle that would result from this, NATO could and would defeat or repulse any Russian military moves against the Baltic countries. That conclusion, the study says, is true now and will be true for at least the next decade.

For many in the Baltic countries, such a conclusion would seem to be the answer to their dreams, a guarantee against Russian theats for some time to come. But – and this is the most important aspect of this RAND study -- this silver cloud has a very dark lining. The study’s authors note that precisely because of „the chronic and difficult-to-reverse weaknesses of the Russian military” on the battlefield itself, Moscow will have to depend on covert intelligence activities and psychological operations as its „most effective” weapons to divide the Western alliance and to give Moscow a freer hand in dealing with the Baltic states.

What are these type of activities likely to involve? One part of the covert action has already been mentioned: Russian security services promoting ever more extreme activism by ethnic Russians in Estonia and Latvia and causing precisely the kind of crackdown by the two governments that the Russian authorities could invoke as justification for their demands. But another part of such covert action could, according to the authors of this scenario, include special operations to impede NATO operations both in the Baltic countries and in NATO countries in which the forces to be used against a Russian thrust into the Baltics would have to operate.

Moscow, according to the game’s scenario, would then launch its psychological operations -- including massive propaganda campaigns and increased diplomatic activity -- against the the major NATO countries in Europe in order to try to cause at least some of them to refuse to support an alliance effort in this area.

Despite their confidence that NATO could win on the Baltic battlefield if things ever reached such a pass, the RAND authors say that such Russian intelligence operations and psychological warfare could divide NATO countries on the question of how or even whether to respond and thus create a situation in which Moscow could gain the upper hand.

That conclusion is not something many in the Baltic countries will want to hear, in the first instance because it highlights not how well they are protected regardless of what they do but how what they themselves do will determine how well they are protected.

Indeed, the security of all three Baltic countries in the minds of the authors of this RAND study appears more likely to depend on how well the Baltic countries can integrate all those living on their territory and on how well Baltic governments and their diplomats can explain these efforts to their NATO partners -- rather than on their own membership in the Western alliance alone.

This RAND study thus provides a useful correction both to the euphoria many in the Baltic countries felt upon gaining NATO membership and to the pessimism many of the same people feel in the face of the recent changes in Moscow. And as such, this RAND document merits the widest possible discussion in all three Baltic countries, a treatment that few such papers ever receive or deserve.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Basayev - IV

From, a long article which suggests that the focus of the investigation into the recent terrorist actions in Russia may be shifting away from Basayev. My quick translation:

Karachai Trace in Moscow Terrorist Acts

New information has appeared in the investigation into the bombings of the two aircraft and the one outside the “Rizhskaya” metro. A highly placed official has produced a version which states that these acts of sabotage were organized by members of the Karachai jamaat – a group calling itself “Muslim Association No. 3”. According to the investigation, the group is led by Achemez Gochiyayev – a terrorist who is directly connected with the Moscow apartment bombings of 1999. Thus, suspicion is being moved from Chechen terrorist No. 1 Shamil Basayev to bombers from Karachai. What lies behind this?

Moscow’s deputy public prosecutor Vladimir Yudin, appearing on television on 26 September 2004, declared that the terrorist Roza Nagayeva, who blew herself up outside the Rizhskaya metro station on 31 August 2004, had an accomplice – a resident of Karachai-Cherkesia named Nikolai Kitkeyev. According to the information presented by Yudin, Kitkeyev has two previous convictions: since 2001 he has been under investigation by the MVD of the Republic of Karachai-Cherkesia and Stavropol Region for his part in illegal armed formations, an attempt on the life of a militiaman, and possession of firearms.

The identity of the deceased Kitkeyev was discovered during the investigation. The body of one of the men who died outside the metro station, Nikolai Samygin, was not claimed by anyone. Having checked Samygin’s identity, the investigators established that Samygin and Kiteyev were the same person.

In the opinion of the investigators, Kitkeyev’s fate was to some extent accidental. He was a controller, whose function was to see that the terrorist act was carried out. But he became one of the victims of Nagayeva’s bomb.

The most interesting thing about this information is another factor: according to Yudin, Kitkeyev is a native of Karachai. And SMI reports have already given a version implicating Kitkeyev with the Karachai jamaat, the terrorist group calling itself “Muslim Association No. 3”. The head of the Association is Achemez Gochiyayev, According to the investigators, it is Gochiyayev who is behind a whole series of terrorist actions, including the apartment bombings on Kashirskoye Shosse and Ulitsa Guryanova in September 1999, the Moscow metro bombing of 6 February 2004, the bombing of two aircraft in August 2004, the bombings at the Kashirskoye Shosse bus stop and the terrorist act outside the “Rizhskaya” metro station.

The Karachai jamaat, which according to experts mainly specializes in sabotage and bombing, owes its origins the Wahhabite underground in Karachai-Cherkesia. The founder and leader of the jamaat is considered to be Ramazan Borlakov, the subject of a federal investigation. According to intelligence information, he is still in Chechnya. As the imam of one of the local mosques, in the mid-1990s Borlakov visited a number of Arab countries, where he found sponsors for the opening of a madras in the village of Uchkeken.

The teachers in this educational establishment were Arabs who preached to the local Muslim youth, instructing them in the correct interpretation of Islam, and also in correct observation of prayer and ritual. Parallel with the interpretation of Islam, Borlakov preached that Muslims in Russia were being oppressed, that it was necessary to live by Sharia law, not worldly law, that the Muslim spiritual authorities in Russia were a rotten and corrupt structure. Gradually this theoretical teaching began to move towards practical instruction.

With Borlakov’s help, new mosques began to be built in Karachai-Cherkesia, and Wahhabite ideology began to spread through the agency of the imams. The local youth, which had undergone ideological training, was sent for further training as fighters to training camps near Urus-Martan and Serzhen-Yurt. In the view of the FSB, it was from these fighters that the so-called ‘Karachai Battalion” was formed, which in August-September 1999 took part in military actions in the Tsumadin, Botlikh and Novolak regions of Dagestan, together with Basayev’s fighters. Moreover, Borlakov is considered to be Achemez Gochiyavev’s teacher and mentor.

Gochiyayev was first mentioned in the course of the investigation of the explosions in Moscow in 1999. According to information in the hands of the special services, in early 1999 the Jordanian Khattab allocated 2 million dollars to the Karachai jamaat, for the execution of terrorist acts in Russia. At the same time the Karachai jamaat saw the “lighting-up” of Gochiyayev’s associates Adam Dekkushev and Yusuf Krymshamkhalov. In Chechnya, a few months after the financial injection from Khattab, Dekkushev and Kryshamkhalov acquired several tons of explosive, packed in sugar sacks. Gochiyayev and his assistant Denis Saytakov took 6 tons of this explosive to Moscow. As a result of the two Moscow terrorist acts, 218 people were killed.

Dekkushev and Krymshamkhalov were not found at once. The first to be investigated were Muratbi Bayramukov, Aslan and Murat Bastanov, Muratbi Tuganbayev and Taykan Franzusov – this was in July 2001. The investigation was unable to prove their complicity in the apartment bombings. Charges were filed under other articles: participation in illegal armed formations, planning of terrorist acts, manufacture of explosives and carrying of firearms. They were all given lengthy prison sentences.

In Georgia in July 2002, in the village of Daba-Ureki, Adam Dekkushev was arrested by the local special services. Later he was transferred to the Russian law-enforcement agencies. In Georgia in December 2002 , in the Lagodekh region, Yusuf Krymshamkhalov was arrested. He was also transferred to Russia. .All the episodes of the terrorist activity of these two men have been proven. In January 2004 Adam Dekkushev amd Yusuf Krymshamkhalov were sentenced by Moscow City Court (Mosgorsud) to life imprisonment. As of this time, Achemez Gochiyayev has still not been caught and according to some sources is said to be hiding in Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge region.

It should be noted, however, that Gochiyayev categorically denies his participation in the terrorist acts. In 2003 the Russian SMI pulished a letter from him (written in the spring of 2002), in which he asserts that he had nothing to do with the Moscow blasts, and that everything that had happened was a provocation of the FSB. The value of this statement is doubtful, especially since according to the most recent reports of the law enforcement agencies, Gochiyayev was indirectly involved in the seizure of the hostages at Beslan. The Russian special services say that the leaders and coordinators of the Beslan terrorist act were located outside the Russian Federation, and that one of them could very well be Gochiyayev.

The Origins of the Karachai Trace

What lies behind the Karachai version of the investigation? As usual, there are more questions than answers. Strictly speaking, investigative measures are conducted by the executive-investigative group of the public prosecutor’s office of the city of Moscow. Routine executive measures are conducted by officials of the FSB. It is for this reason, according to the SMI reports, that the FSB officials are not happy with the fact that the information about the Karachai trace came from the public prosecutor’s mouth – by openly endorsing the Karachai version, the public prosecutor’s office frightened off the clients of the terrorist act and confused the FSB’s executive plans in this regard.

If this is so, it means that the investigation of the series of terrorist acts in Moscow is suffering from lack of co-ordination. While the FSB is striving to keep the Karachai trace version a secret, a prominent figure in the public prosecutor’s hierarchy is trumpeting this version to the whole of Russia. Why did Yudin need to do this? To demonstrate that he was in the know, and reassure public opinion with information that the investigation was proceeding at full tilt and had already achieved definite results? To draw the attention of Russians to a new problem – that the “blame” for spreading terrorism lay not with Chechnya, but also with Karachai-Cherkesia?

In addition, the official authorities have until now confidently named Shamil Basayev as the organizer of the recent terrorist acts. The representative of the executive staff in control of the counter-terrorist operation in the North Caucasus, Ilya Shabalkin, stated after the terrorist acts that the joint participation of Maskhadov and Basayev in the preparation of the explosions, the destruction of the aircraft and the attack on Beslan as a foregone conclusion simply because it was to both their advantage to carry out terrorist acts in Russia. Now it turns out that the authorities have a new version.

Why Karachayans, in particular? In whose interest is it to trumpet the Karachai version in the case of the recent terrorist acts? Until now, as a region, Karachai-Cherkesia has been perceived by the public consciousness as relatively stable compared to Chechnya. It turns out that events there are developing according to the well-known saying about still waters.

Yes, Basayev took responsibility for the terrorist acts. Nothing unusual there, really – Basayev, who long ago turned into a bogeyman, is ready to ascribe to himself practically every new terrorist act in Russia. In the last analysis, notoriety in the terrorist business can bring palpable dividends. But whether Basayev is really connected to the explosions at the metro station and in the air above Tula and Rostov, can only be ascertained if the leader of the fighters himself is seized, together with his archive. Meanwhile, Basayev has been sought since the days of the First Chechen War, and can still not be caught, even though Chechnya is literally stuffed with units and sub-units of the special forces.

Is Basayev connected to the Karachayans? To a certain extent, yes. Even before the Moscow explosions his name was sometimes mentioned together with that of Achemez Gochiyayev, and the two elite terrorists probably entered into communication with each other at some point or other. But it is impossible to prove or disprove a connection between the two fighters – the information that Basayev is Gochiyayev’s co-ordinator is now and then heard from the mouths of officials, but there is so far to confirmation of this. While reports from the other side of the case are riddled with contradictions.

In general, the involvement of Karachayans in various terrorist acts has manifested itself several times. In addition to the Moscow bombings of 1999, information in the hands of the special services shows that the Karachai Wahhabite communes were connected to the bombings in Karachai-Cherkesia itself in March 2001 and on the railway in the Kaminvod region in December 2003. But the roots of this bombing activity are in the Wahhabite underground that was created on the republic’s territory in the 1990s.

In 2001 the Procurator General of the Russian Federation Vladimir Ustinov, said in Cherkessk that his department had information about people who were making practical preparations for a revolt in Karachai-Cherkesia and Kabardino-Balkaria. At that time, the authorities in both republics both refuted this information. None the less, after a series of arrests, in Pyatigorsk in 2002 a trial took place ay which arrested conspirators were given varying terms of imprisonment.

It is worth noting that in Nalchik and Cherkessk officials continue to deny the presence of a Wahhabite underground in the republics. Meanwhile, according to the local inhabitants, the Wahhabites feel they have nothing to fear in Karachai-Cherkesia, while in Moscow no one even wants to give this any attention.
Now, with the emergence of the Karachai trace in a series of large-scale terrorist acts, there arises a conclusion that is not very pleasant for the authorities: it turns out that there is, working in Russia, a powerful underground organization the aim of which is to split the country, with terrorism as its principal method. It turns out that Chechen terrorists receive their support not from “Al Qaeda” or the world international of radical Islamists, but from a ramified underground network within Russia. And during recent last years this network has not been destroyed or weakened, and consequently the problem of terrorism has not only not been resolved, but has actually increased. If this is true, then it is not Chechnya and Ingushetia taken separately that must be considered the hotspot in the North Caucasus, but the entire region as a whole, and then it is appropriate to ask the authorities a question: how could such a thing have happened?

There is an old saying: “Victory has many fathers, but defeat is always an orphan.” For as long as victory over terrorism and victory over the fighters in Chechnya remain a distant prospect, the special services cannot expect to avoid numerous failures and blunders. It is possible that Yudin’s intervention was dictated by an urge to remove responsibility from himself by switching the attention of public opinion to something new. It cannot be excluded that the public prosecutor’s office really does have serious “gains” to make from Karachayan terrorists, and that the fact that it was the public prosecutor’s office, and not the FSB, that revealed the Karachai trace, is capable of lifting its “rating” with Russia’s law enforcement agencies. In that case the responsibility for the non-averted terrorist acts can be shifted on to colleagues and competitors, with the inference that Karachayans being involved in terrorist acts is the result of poor work by the FSB in the republic, as the law enforcement agencies were not able to expose the underground terrorist network in time.

And, lastly, there is one more curious detail – according to information received by the “Kommersant” newspaper, the suicide bomber who carried out the terrorist act in the Moscow metro in February 2004 was a male Karachayan named Izhayev. However, so far the terrorist’s name has never once been mentioned once anywhere, and neither has the nationality of the terrorist. In addition, the officially trumpeted version said that the explosive device was detonated by a woman. Neither the FSB nor the public prosecutor’s office have made any statements about the disclosure of the terrorist act at “Avtozavodskaya”. So where did the suicide bomber’s name come from, and how is known that he was a Karachayan?

So far there are no answers to these questions. But, to sum up the above, it is possible to make a couple of suppositions. One: the authorities were playing some new game in which a special place had been allotted to Karachai-Cherkesia. Here an impression is created that the republic, together with Chechnya, has been “ear-marked” as being responsible for terrorism. And two: so far the investigation has been unable to establish reliably what lies behind the terrorist acts, and the Karachai trace is one of the variants that are being thrown into the press for study by public opinion.

Sergei Karamayev

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The "Estonia"

Today is the tenth anniversary of the sinking of the ferry "Estonia", in which 852 people lost their lives.

Factoids and Forgetting

On September 9, 2004 Caucasus analyst Pavel K. Baev wrote:

Putin's counter-terrorist spin on the Beslan tragedy involves three specific points that, taken together, should explain away the lack of leadership and the inefficiency of the security services in handling the hostage situation.

First, it is considered essential to prove the international connections of the band of hostage takers. The news about ten dead Arabs broke on Friday afternoon, when the firefight was still underway and it was impossible to identify the bodies. Putin quickly recycled this factoid to the foreign journalists despite the contrary evidence given by the former hostages, GazetaRu reported on 7 September.

Second, every effort is being made to establish that the assault was neither ordered nor planned; the chaotic bloodshed broadcast live to the whole world provides strong evidence of that failure. However, the demonstrated lack of willingness to enter into any meaningful negotiations with the terrorists means that a forceful assault was the only available option, the question was just about the timing, Moskovsky komsomolets reported on 6 September.

Third, with every possible stretch of argument, the Beslan tragedy should be separated from the war in Chechnya, which was not mentioned once in Putin's address, according to Izvestiya on 6 September. Since it is impossible to hide the fiasco of the Kremlin's massive propaganda effort trumpeting "normalization" in Chechnya, the theme has to be closed. Any attempt at offering a political way out of the deadlocked war will now be rejected with righteous rage.

Now Dr Baev has pointed to Moscow's latest tactics in this strategy of "factoids and forgetting":

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was certainly in his element at the UN General Assembly last week, packing a full schedule of meetings and delivering a hard-hitting speech. Admittedly, he had little to say about the humanitarian catastrophe in Darfur, the deepening gap between rich and poor nations, or about the uphill struggle against the AIDS pandemic. His unwavering focus was on the war against terrorism, where he was not so much recruiting new allies as seeking to establish that Russia, as a "frontline" state deserves more sympathy for its suffering and more support in its struggle than it actually receives because of the "double standards" adopted by Western governments and media (GazetaRu, September 24). Lavrov may be one of the few elite professionals in President Vladimir Putin's government, but his skill cannot eliminate or even hide the inconsistencies and logical contradictions in Moscow's anti-terrorist discourse.

Accepting war as a fact of political life after years of denial, President Putin is inevitably falling into many of the same traps that President George W. Bush discovered after his declaration of the same war. If terrorism is just an instrument (as Putin established in his first post-Beslan statement), then who is the enemy? Lavrov does not feel obliged to repeat Putin's hints about "those who want to tear from us a juicy piece of pie" and others who help these pie-lovers because they want to remove the threat represented by Russia as "one of the world's major nuclear powers." The anti-Western smack of these hints is unmistakable, as is the anti-Islamic context of the accusations against sponsors of terrorism, based on the eagerly spinned rumors about ten "Arabs" being among the terrorists killed in Beslan.

At the same time, the whole Russian political establishment has apparently forgotten the word "Chechnya" and insists vehemently that every attempt to establish a connection between terrorism and the deadlocked brutal war in that not-to-be-named place is nothing but "provocation" (Novaya gazeta, September 16). That leaves Lavrov with empty statements about "our whole civilization" that should stand united against terrorism and without any clue about how this war against a handful of "barbarians" could possibly be won.

The whole article can be read here.


-- So long as love is "blind", that is, so long as it does not see a whole being, it is not truly under the sway of the primary word of relation. Hate is by nature blind. Only a part of a being can be hated. He who sees a whole being and is compelled to reject it is no longer in the kingdom of hate, but is in that of human restriction of the power to say Thou. He finds himself unable to say the primary word to the other human being confronting him. This word consistently involves an affirmation of the being addressed. He is therefore compelled to reject either the other or himself. At this barrier the entering on a relation recognises its relativity, and only simultaneously with this will the barrier be raised.

Yet the man who straightforwardly hates is nearer to relation than the man without hate and love.

Martin Buber

Monday, September 27, 2004

Marx and Jefferson

Something that really struck me when reading Johann Hari's interview with Christopher Hitchens:

So that interest in the neocons re-emerged after September 11th. They were saying - we can't carry on with the approach to the Middle East we have had for the past fifty years. We cannot go on with this proxy rule racket, where we back tyranny in the region for the sake of stability. So we have to take the risk of uncorking it and hoping the more progressive side wins." He has replaced a belief in Marxist revolution with a belief in spreading the American revolution. Thomas Jefferson has displaced Karl Marx.

Having read LGF since March 2004 (I'm taking a break right now), I can confidently say - yes. But what does this mean? Marx = Jefferson? I think we should be told.

Predominantly Russian targets

Among others, VOA News and AFP have reports on a recent statement by Cyprus's Justice Minister Doros Theodorou. AFP has him claiming that

"There are Chechens and other terrorist groups over there (north) being trained" ...

"But we are mainly talking about Chechens who are trained to hit predominantly Russian targets," he said.

Russian propaganda really is working.

It seems that nowadays it's de rigueur for government figures in Western countries who want to sharpen up their anti-terrorist credentials to claim that "Chechens" are responsible for terrorism there. And who or what might the non-Russian targets of the "Chechen terrorists" be?

It's not really a secret any more that the part of Cyprus Mr Theodorou hails from is the main repository for the goods, money and assets that have been looted from Russia - and Chechnya - by Russian government mafiosi.

The Ticking Clock

Yevgenia Albats, writing in the Moscow Times,under the rubric Putin's Days Are Numbered:

In the midst of all the bad news coming out of Russia, last week offered some hope. A survey conducted by the pro-Kremlin Public Opinion Foundation revealed that despite a massive advertising campaign on state television, ordinary Russians do not support President Vladimir Putin's proposed reforms, including the appointment of regional leaders.

Sixty-one percent of respondents from across the country voiced their opposition to the proposal, which would for all intents and purposes allow the Kremlin to handpick regional leaders. The poll showed that an overwhelming majority of Russians also oppose Putin's proposal to scrap the election of State Duma deputies from single-mandate districts. Instead, the lower house is to be composed exclusively of candidates elected from party lists, effectively excluding the election of independent candidates. Only 9 percent of respondents supported this change. Meanwhile, 50 percent said they trust deputies elected from single-mandate districts.

Albats notes that

Despite all the lies, deception and repression, resistance to the rise of the omnipotent state is still alive in society, as recent poll results suggest. More evidence has come from television managers and journalists, often considered the most corrupt and obedient part of the country's elite. More than one-quarter of the members of the Academy of Russian Television signed an open letter last week acknowledging state censorship of the electronic media. Three programs pulled off the air recently -- NTV's "Svoboda Slova," "Krasnaya Strela" and "Namedni" -- received the academy's TEFI award Friday night. Meanwhile, television personalities who decided that loyalty to the state was more important than telling the truth to their viewers came up empty-handed. Millions of viewers witnessed the disgust with which they were greeted by their colleagues -- a telling sign of growing disillusionment among a sector of the elite heavily courted by the Putin administration with high salaries and exceptional access to information.

Things may get worse -- much worse -- before the Putin regime collapses. But one thing is now clear: To suppress the growing opposition to his rule, Putin would have to resort to Stalinesque measures. But Putin is no Stalin, and Russia in the 21st century differs fundamentally from Russia in the 1920s and 1930s, even if some Western analysts argue to the contrary. The clock is ticking for Putin's Kremlin, and there are more and more of us who intend to make sure the clock doesn't stop.

Eloquent campaigners

At Harry's Place, a post on how softheaded multiculturalists ended up apologising for the murder of black gay people.

Jamaica is the worst place in the world to be gay. As Peter Tatchell - the great gay rights campaigner - explains, "For us, it's like being a woman under the Taliban." I've written a piece about Tatchell's heroic campaign to support gay Jamiacans and stigmatise the Jamiacan reggae music that incites the murder of gay people.

Hm. I think there's a danger inherent in possible responses to injustices like this one. The response can end up being as illiberal as the injustice itself. That's not the same as saying that "eloquent campaigners" shouldn't have the right to lobby and criticise and rally opinion - just that caution needs to be observed with the rhetoric, which can be used for purposes opposite to the aims that are being campaigned for. After all, the BNP don't care much for "soft-headed multiculturalists" either. As someone noted recently in a different but related context (the Turkish government's intention to criminalise adultery), it seems that the space between extremes is getting narrower and narrower in public debate these days.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Putin and Pre-emption

From Jane's Weekly, perhaps the shrewdest assessment of Moscow's strategy in the aftermath of the Beslan atrocity:

Moscow’s claim that it is fighting the same war on terrorism as the United States is not taken seriously. The people who belong to Al-Qaeda and who struck at the US three years ago, rejected everything America stood for: its economic prowess, its technological advances and its notions of society. For Osama bin Laden, the war is an apocalyptic clash of civilisations, a global confrontation between religions.

The terrorism that faces Russia today is of a different variety. It was born out of a war for the liberation of one ethnic group. The militants who attacked the US were foreign; those who attacked Russia were, nominally, its own nationals. Furthermore, Al-Qaeda rejects the concept of the Western world, whereas the Chechens want to join this world, albeit as a separate nation.

The Chechens are not fighting in the name of Islam, although they happen to be Muslim. They fight for the nationalist aspiration of independence. Al-Qaeda and its allies cannot be negotiated with, even if they were to give up violence. But, at least in theory, there is an answer to the Chechen problem, namely that of granting independence to this Russian province.

And, the article concludes:

Ever since the end of the Soviet Union, the Russians have wanted to maintain control over the oil-rich and strategically important Caucasus region and especially over the neighbouring republic of Georgia... Under the guise of fighting terrorism, the Russians now hope to reimpose control over Georgia. It is rather convenient that they can do so by using the same justification that the Americans are using elsewhere in the world.

But, more importantly, Russia’s pre-emption doctrine represents a free-for-all for its secret agents. For years, the Russian government demanded the extradition of Chechen political leaders who sought asylum in other countries, claiming that they were terrorists. Without exception, courts in Western countries rejected these claims as unfounded. Well before the school massacre, however, the Russian security services adopted a new technique — that of simply assassinating such people. The former Chechen president was assassinated in the Gulf state of Qatar in February and further assassinations are sure to follow. Yet again, the Russian authorities will claim that they are doing nothing different from what the US Central Intelligence Agency has done. In practice, however, the Russians are targeting all those Chechens with whom a peaceful deal to the crisis can still be negotiated — far from eliminating terrorism, they are eliminating the chances for any political settlement.

Read the whole thing here.


From The Chechen Times:


Situation in Chechnya and Ingushetia noticeably worsened

Over the past few days, the situation in Chechnya and Ingushetia has noticeably worsened. Federal Forces in Ingushetia are mobilizing personnel and hardware, with troops stationed along highways and on the borders of towns and villages. Along the Rostov-Baku federal highway, between the village of Yandare and the Chechen border, soldiers are digging trenches every 15-20 metres, and a large number of armored vehicles have been positioned on both sides of the road. In Yandare itself, Russian servicemen have taken up military positions near the Chechen refugee camp located on the grounds of the Nazranovsky Agricultural Technical College. Frightened camp residents are not permitted to go beyond the camp’s boundaries and are expecting a «zachistka." A feeling of panic is also noticeable among the people of Ingushetia, several of whom have left the republic. Troops are also gathering in the Sunzhensky District of Chechnya where a large-scale «zachistka» was carried out on 22 September.


Friday, September 24, 2004


Posted 23rd September 2004:

Заявление президента ЧРИ А. Масхадова

В связи с заявлением Шамиля Басаева, в котором он принимает на себя ответственность за организацию террористического акта в г. Беслан Северной Осетии, ответственно заявляю, что руководство Чеченской Республики Ичкерии и находящиеся под моим командованием Вооруженные силы Чеченской Республики Ичкерии не имеют никакого отношения к данному террористическому акту.

Еще раз хочу отметить, что самым решительным образом отвергаю и осуждаю подобные методы ведения борьбы, от кого бы они ни исходили.

К сожалению, в условиях продолжения настоящей войны привлечь к ответственности виновных в совершении данного террористического акта практически невозможно. Однако ответственно заявляю, что после прекращения войны лица, виновные в совершении противоправных действий, будут преданы Суду, в том числе и Шамиль Басаев.

Призываю Международное сообщество учредить Международный трибунал по всестороннему расследованию всех преступлений, совершенных в ходе этой войны обеими сторонами конфликта.

Однако считаю необходимым отметить, что подобные акты являются следствием и реакцией на геноцидную войну российского руководства против Чеченского народа, в ходе которой российская армия убила 250 тыс. человек, в том числе 42 тыс. детей.

Продолжение этой войны может привести в конце концов к тому, что ситуация станет неуправляемой, следствием чего неизбежно явится нарастание количества и масштабов актов терроризма.

Общеизвестно, что причиной этого многовекового конфликта, который имеет четырехвековую историю, и в ходе которого чеченский народ неоднократно подвергался жесточайшим актам геноцида, является стремление российского колониализма подавить волю чеченского народа к осуществлению своего законного права на самоопределение.

Единственно возможным и правильным решением чеченско-российского конфликта является политическое решение, которое предусматривало бы международные гарантии прекращения и не возобновления геноцида чеченского народа со стороны российского колониализма.

Президент ЧРИ Аслан Масхадов, 23.09.04г.

Чеченпресс, Отдел правительственной информации, 24.09.04г.


Statement by President of the ChRI A. Maskhadov

In connection with Shamil Basayev's statement, in which he took responsibility for the organization of the terrorist act in the town of Beslan in North Ossetia, I categorically declare that the government of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and the Armed Forces of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria under my command have nothing to do with this terrorist act.

I want to say once more that I most decisively reject and condemn such methods of fighting, no matter who uses them.

Unfortunately, it is practically impossible under the conditions of the continuation of the present war, to call to account those who are guilty of this terrorist act. However, I categorically declare that after the end of the war, persons who are guilty of carrying out provocative acts will be taken to court, including Shamil' Basayev.

I call the international community to establish an international tribunal for the comprehensive investigation of all crimes committed during this war by both sides of the conflict.

However, I find it necessary to mention that such acts are a consequence of and reaction to the genocidal war of the Russian government against the Chechen nation, during which the Rusian army has killed 250,000 people, including 42,000 children.

The continuation of this war might finally lead to the situation becoming uncontrollable, and the result will inevitably be an increase in the number and scale of terrorist acts.

It is widely known that the reason for this conflict with a four-century-long history, during which the Chechen people has suffered extremely severe acts of genocide, is the striving of Russian colonialism to quell the will of the Chechen people to realize its vested right for self-determination.

The only possible and correct solution of the Chechen-Russian conflict is a political one, which would provide an international guarantee of the stop and the impossibility of a renewal of the genocide of the Chechen people by Russian colonialism.

President of the ChRI Aslan Maskhadov, 23.09.04

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Basayev - III

From a previously untranslated part of Basayev's 17 September statement (tr. by Marius L. at Chechnya-SL):

Mujahedin committed a fateful mistake, after allowing to approach to the building "mchs" [Emergency Situations Ministy] - FSB vehicle, not known why.

- MCHS men before the explosions shouted to the hostages -" run out [of the building]"; and the explosions occurred immediately after this.

- Shooting towards the school was conducted to cover the MCHS men; and after the explosion, two our mujahedin who came out to them to meet them, were immediately killed.

- Helicopters with the snipers had appeared immediately.

- It's a lie, that Alfa and Vympel were not ready, that "they even did not split [share] between themselves the scope of fire [target sector] and fire points". Although, politicians have converted them into executioners, they're nevertheless, respected as professionals.

- For the comparison: "The operational HQ reported that the terrorists themselves provoked the spetsnaz. A group of hostages attempted to get out from the hall, explosions and shots inside were heard and to the theatrical center the spetsnaz groups had been dispatched for the rescue of hostages... (they haven't come with
anything knew): Live reporting of the First Channel by correspondent Anna Raiva after the Nord-Ost".

- The General Attorney [Gore-Prokuror] of Rusnya - Ustinov - officially stated to Putin that the mujahedin were changing circuit [chain] and therefore an explosion has occured accidently. Even the last idiot will not be changing chain during the operation, and furthermore at the same moment, when the enemy's vehicle is approaching the building.

- On the walls of gymnasium there were practically no shrapnels, although in the mines there were more than 30 thousand shrapnels (8 pieces of regular army mines - so called "lyagushki" - 2700 shrapnels in each of one, 10 home-made, under "lyagushki" mines - 1000 shrapnels and two MON -1000, home-made of saltpeter - 1000 shrapnels in each).

- The basketball rings, in which there were large mines, intact.

- Self-explosion is excluded - then it would had explode simultaneously all 20 mines, connected into the one chain, and they showed four unexploded mines. One chain [constructed] of four garlands [wreaths], five mined in each, was locked independently of each other on two sides. From four sides of the garlands, small 9
volt batteries were connected, while from the opposite sides - 45 volt ones. I personally, for ten days had prepared this group in the forest near the village of Batako-Yurt, some 20 km from the town of Beslan, and several times had tested this system. There would explode either all of them, or not a one.

- Colonel Orstkhoyev was phoning to my deputy several times during the assault, and said that the Russians were shooting at the hall from a cannon on the panels (stands) [Rus.pult] and cut [broke] [electric] wire. After this, they went for break-through. For the last time he was connecting it was at two P.M. after saying his telephone was running low.

- We propose to the independent experts to verify shrapnels and nature of injuries.

Mujahedin did not shoot at the children, not there was a conflict among them and they did not run into the different directions, "covering themselves up with children" They in principle knew for what they were going and clearly were carrying out all my directives. I said to them " ... if the assault begins, or explosion
takes place in the gymnasium, then you all go forward attacking, for the break-through. You do not sit in the building, do not defend it. The Alfa troopers [Alfovtsy] are trained to attack and to finish [people] off, they are not trained to protect. You attack, break open into the city and try to inflict a maximum casualties on the enemy. Die with dignity and become an example for those, who will take your place after you".

See also the rest of Basayev's statement.

Terrorism and Double-Speak

"War has been declared against us," Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov announced. Lapdog journalists adjusted his statement to read, "War has been declared against Russia." But what has Russia got to do with any of this? We're hostages. If you want your message to be taken seriously, blow up a plane.

In fact, Ivanov committed a very Freudian slip of the tongue. What we are observing is the dismantling of Putin's power by the same methods with which it was built. They say if you live by the sword you will die by the sword -- especially if the sword isn't yours.

Boris Kagarlitsky, writing in the Moscow Times.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

State-Sponsored Terrorism

Excerpt from The Jamestown Foundation
Wednesday, September 22 -- Volume 1, Issue 90


Leading opposition presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko is the target of a range of dirty tricks intended to defeat his bid to succeed Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma. As Russian political commentator Andrei Piontkovsky wrote in Ukrayinska pravda on September 10, "The basic strategy of the outside political image makers is aimed mostly at the Russian population of Ukraine, to portray Yushchenko as a Russophobe and Ukrainian nationalist and to provoke an ethnic split in Ukrainian society."

Russian "political technologists" (a combination of political lobbyists and dirty tricksters), with close links to Russian President Vladimir Putin, have been very active in Ukraine's presidential campaign. Many of the dirty tricks originated with Gleb Pavlovsky, Maraty Gelman, and their Effective Policy Foundation (EPF), which works on behalf of Presidential Administration chief Viktor Medvedchuk.

This month Pavlovsky opened a public front in Kyiv for his secret EPF activities, the Russian Club. Both the Russian ambassador to Ukraine, Viktor Chernomyrdin, and Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych attended the club's opening.

Pavlovsky and Gelman's work on behalf of the Ukrainian Presidential Administration is based on long-standing ties with its head, Viktor Medvedchuk. Medvedchuk leads the Kyiv oligarch clan's Social Democratic United Party (SDPUo), which has worked closely with the EPF since the 1998 Ukrainian parliamentary elections.

The EPF has been hired to secure a Yanukovych victory by defeating his main rival, pro-Western reformer Viktor Yushchenko. Failing this, the election results could be annulled, with Yushchenko and Yanukovych barred from a repeat election. Kuchma could then stand for a third term, facing only weak left-wing opposition candidates (Ukrayinska pravda, August 30; Hrani Plus, August 30-September 5).

The EPF's objectives fall into three main categories. First they seek to undermine Yushchenko's credibility, by producing fake leaflets, critical books and pamphlets, and launching inflammatory television attacks. Second, they are using the Tax Police to investigate businessmen who support his campaign, thus undermining his financial support. Third, EPF has paid extreme nationalists to claim they support Yushchenko and use the same groups to carry out terrorist attacks that are then blamed on Yushchenko.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

A Fascist Petro-State

Zbigniew Brzezinski tells it like it is:

...the leeching and self-centered mindset of the Moscow political elite stifles political democratization. Mr. Putin's move is popular with the elite because it propitiates the basic interests of a power elite that still harbors nostalgia for great- power imperialist status, that identifies its own well-being with domination over all of Russia, and through Russia over at least the former states of the Soviet Union. To the power elite, the independence of Ukraine, or of Georgia, or of Uzbekistan is an historic offense. To it, the resistance of the Chechens to Russian domination is a "terrorist" crime. To it, autonomy for 20 million ethnically non-Russian citizens is a challenge to its own privileges.


Mr. Putin's regime in many ways is similar to Mussolini's Fascism. Il Duce made "the trains run on time." He centralized political power in the name of chauvinism. He imposed political controls over the economy without nationalizing it or destroying the economic oligarchs and their mafias. The Fascist regime evoked national greatness, discipline, and exalted myths of an allegedly glorious past. Similarly, Mr. Putin is trying to blend the traditions of the Cheka (Lenin's Gestapo, where his own grandfather started his career), with Stalin's wartime leadership, with Russian Orthodoxy's claims to the status of the Third Rome, with Slavophile dreams of a single large Slavic state ruled from the Kremlin.


That combination may be appealing for a while but ultimately -- probably within a decade or so -- it will fail. The younger and better educated and more open-minded Russian generation will slowly permeate the ruling elite. The upcoming generation will not be satisfied with life in a Fascist petro-state in which the Kremlin glitters (because of oil profits) while the rest of the country falls further and further behind not only Europe but also China. They are aware that decentralization of their huge country, which can unleash social initiative, is the key to modernization. That reality cannot be obscured forever by the slogans about "terrorism" that Mr. Putin used to justify the imposition of stifling political centralization.

Indeed, already today the neighboring Ukraine of nearly 50 million people (whom the Bush NSC has so studiously ignored while naïvely courting Mr. Putin) is beginning to provide a contrast in two major domains: its economic progress is more diversified and more evident in other cities than just in the national capital; and its politics (while still vulnerable to manipulation) have produced two genuinely contested presidential elections. As of today, no one can predict the outcome of the Ukrainian presidential elections scheduled for late October, a fact that stands in sharp contrast with the Russian "elections" in which Mr. Putin was the candidate.

And points to one major failing of the Bush foreign policy:

Unfortunately, over the last several years the White House has fostered a cult of Putin that has done great harm to the increasingly isolated Russian democrats. Their cause deserved support. There were Russians who bravely stood up and opposed the progressive silencing of Russia's free media. There were Russians who voiced concerns regarding the narrowing scope of Russia's democracy. There were Russians who protested against the inhuman and almost genocidal massacres of the Chechens. Never once did any of them hear any measure of support from the top leadership of the country that once held high the standard of human rights in opposition to communist tyranny.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Viktoras Petkus

"How can I comment on the fact that our government gave way before the Kremlin?" the well-known Lithuanian dissident, former deputy to the parliament Viktoras Petkus said to RZ. He admitted that lately the server on which the Kavkazcenter site was opened was located in his Vilnius apartment. "This server has been moved from apartment to apartment, because of pressure from the authorities. I've agreed to set it up at my place. I'm afraid of nothing. Fighting for independence of Lithuania I had spent 26 years in the Soviet prisons and camps of the Gulag. I had four convictions, under Stalin's government and in the later period. There can be no double standards in the fight for independence and self-determination of nations," Petkus added.

Agents of Lithuanian Security Department didn't enter his apartment. The website has been blocked by use of technical means.

Robert Mickiewicz in Vilnius

tr. Marius at C-SL (minor edits)

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Desperate, Devout, or Deceived?

A comprehensive and thorough report on Chechnya’s Suicide Bombers: Desperate, Devout, or Deceived? by John Reuter, published by the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya, concludes among other things that

Like pounding mercury with a hammer, top-heavy use of massive military force to counter Islamic terrorism only seems to generate more varied and insidious forms of terrorism and broaden support... Fareed Zakaria makes an apt comparison of the Turkish Kurd suicide attacks in the late 1990s and Chechen suicide terrorism. After being subjected to a devastating wave of suicide bombings in the 1990s, Turkey began to see fewer and fewer suicide bombings until they almost completely subsided. As Zakaria points out, this result was achieved by a systematic ‘hearts and minds’ campaign in which Turkey “worked very hard to win over the Kurds, creating stable governing structures for them, befriending them and putting forward social welfare programs…On a per capita basis, it has invested more in the Kurdish region than any other part of Turkey.” Zakaria notes the scorched earth policy of the Russian government in the first and second war, and concludes:

"There are many differences between the Kurds and the Chechens. But both are Muslim populations that have political grievances. In one case, the grievances and tactics grew more extreme and violent, culminating in suicide bombing. In the other, suicide bombing gave way to political negotiations and even coexistence."

There is a lesson here. If Russian leaders truly want to understand the source of suicide terrorism, then perhaps they should take a closer look at the human catastrophe they have wrought in Chechnya. Russia must recognize that ‘counter terrorism’ strategies, which employ abduction, torture, and lawless killing, can only create more terrorists. And if Russia wants to prevent another wave of suicide bombings, then it would be well served to seek peaceful reconciliation by constructively engaging those moderate voices that still exist in Chechnya.


In Sernovodsky Village in the Sunzhensky region, village management has put forward preparations for the accommodation of a hundred troops in addition to the 40 already there.

A large military contingent arrived on September 14th, near the village of Alhan-Jurt in the Urus-Martanovsky region. The troops are stationed in the northern part of village. According to local residents, there are tanks located every 50-100 meters with their barrels pointed at the village.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Zakayev on Basayev

"Akhmed Zakayev comments on Shamil Basayev's statement"

The Chechenpress news agency has asked [Chechnya's rebel deputy premier] Akhmed Zakayev to comment on [field commander] Shamil Basayev's statement in which he claims responsibility for the terrorist act in Beslan. This is what Akhmed Zakayev said:

«Могу лишь вкратце повторить то, что сегодня завил по этому поводу представителям ведущих мировых информагентств.

Как известно, Путин неоднократно и в категорической форме утверждал, что он не будет вести переговоров с демократически избранным президентом ЧРИ Асланом Масхадовым. Но сегодня, после трагедии в Беслане, мы все стали свидетелями того, что Путин за спиной Масхадова вел переговоры с Шамилем Басаевым, не имеющим никакого отношения к легитимному чеченскому руководству. Факт этих переговоров подтверждают многие российские СМИ, депутаты Госдумы РФ и такой высокопоставленный кремлевский функционер как помощник президента РФ Асланбек Аслаханов. И мы также все стали свидетелями того, как очередной раунд переговоров между Путиным и Шамилем Басаевым закончился массовым убийством детей.

В связи с этим хотелось бы предупредить как российскую общественность, так и международное сообщество, что ни сейчас, ни впредь подобные закулисные переговоры Путина и Басаева абсолютно нелегитимны и их результаты для чеченского руководства не будут иметь никакого правового значения.»

"I can only briefly repeat what I told representatives of leading news agencies of the world today. "As is known, Putin has repeatedly and categorically claimed that he will not conduct any negotiations with the democratically-elected president of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, Aslan Maskhadov. But after the tragedy in Beslan, we all witnessed that Putin had been conducting negotiations behind Maskhadov's back with Shamil Basayev who has nothing to do with the legitimate Chechen leadership. The fact of these negotiations is confirmed by many Russian media, deputies of the Russian State Duma and by such a high-ranking Kremlin functionary as the aide to the Russian president, Aslanbek Aslakhanov. Also, we all witnessed that another round of the negotiations between Putin and Shamil Basayev ended in the mass carnage of children.

"In this connection, I would like to warn both the Russian public and the international community that such negotiations behind the scenes between Putin and Basayev are absolutely illegitimate and their results will be of no legal importance to the Chechen leadership.

"In turn, the Chechen leadership has repeatedly stated that the Russian-Chechen conflict has no military solution. We decisively condemn any forms of violence in solving political problems and are sure that the methods employed by Vladimir Putin and Shamil Basayev for achieving political aims are unacceptable. These methods will not yield the necessary results, but will only increase the number of pointless casualties. They will further the expansion of the war and deepen the abyss of alienation between the peoples of Chechnya and Russia. We are sure that we will not be able to achieve a lasting peace without intervention by the international community.

"It is worth emphasizing that Shamil Basayev, unlike Vladimir Putin, constantly appeals to international law. Shamil Basayev has repeatedly suggested that Putin observe the rules of war envisaged in Geneva conventions, and with the consent of the leader of the Russian Federation, he is ready to make a commitment to end any terrorist activities. Moreover, Shamil Basayev has repeatedly appealed to the leaders of the countries included in the antiterrorist coalition, calling on them to foil the terrorist activities in Chechnya of their ally Putin. However, neither the leadership of the coalition, nor Putin himself reacted to these calls by Shamil Basayev, which resulted in the Beslan tragedy.

"As for the president of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, Aslan Maskhadov, he has already made a number of statements in which he decisively condemned the terrorist act in Beslan and described as unacceptable and amoral all similar attempts to stop Putin's genocide in Chechnya. However, there are no doubts that as long as Putins define Russia's policy in the Caucasus, Basayevs will not disappear in Chechnya."

[Signed] Chechenpress Department of Government Information, 18 September 2004

From Red To Brown

Masha Gessen, writing in New Republic Online, has an inside view of what the future is likely to hold for the Russian Federation:

Countries, like people, do not cope well with fear. But countries, unlike people, cannot run away when they are frightened. So they act like people in other ways. They reach for totems they hope will protect them, such as the flag; they become withdrawn, barricading themselves with visas and security checks; they get aggressive; often, they panic. Frightened countries can be extremely dangerous to themselves and to others. Russia right now is a frightened country embarking on steps that gravely threaten its own people and, most likely, the people of other countries.

To be blunt, Russia is about to turn itself into a dictatorship. Using as a pretext the fear that has gripped his country, President Vladimir Putin has announced sweeping political reforms that will eliminate all direct elections except those for president, who, through a convoluted process, will effectively appoint members of parliament. With the state in control of all broadcast media and increasingly dominating print media, the presidential election will also be orchestrated by the Kremlin. Still, as the new political system takes shape, the person at the helm--the actual dictator--might not be Putin. The new leader could actually be a fascist head of an aggressive, nationalistic, war-mongering Russia.

The rest of her article, with its assertion that

fascism is what Russians want. They tell pollsters they are willing to sacrifice their freedoms. They say they want all Chechens to be evicted from Moscow and other large cities. They crave an extreme crackdown. "A totalitarian state cannot be blackmailed by the threat of death of civilians," said Mikhail Leontyev, one of Russia's most prominent pundits, in his nightly commentary on federal Channel One, the most-watched network. "Terrorism happens only in democracies." Leontyev's words express both the Kremlin's and the public's agenda: Polls show that a majority of Russians will readily cede their civil liberties to security services. The security services, in turn, are behaving accordingly. Last week, Moscow police beat up a Chechen man, famed cosmonaut Magomed Tolboyev. Human rights advocates say beatings of ordinary Chechens and other Muslims are now commonplace occurrences in Russia.

can be read here (free registration required).

Friday, September 17, 2004

Basayev - II

From the Kavkaz-Tsentr website - a site heavily hacked by FSB - a declaration from Basayev claiming responsibility for Beslan:

Update 18 September: the Kavkaz-Tsentr site has been temporarily closed down by the Lithuanian authorities, pending a judicial inquiry. The Lithuanian ambassador in Moscow was summoned to the Russian foreign ministry and told to stop the website's activities.

BBC reports: The Chechen rebel website is based on a server in the flat of well-known Soviet-era dissident and political prisoner Viktoras Petkus.

Mr Petkus told the Baltic News Service on Friday that the decision was "a shameful obsequiousness against another state's will".

Lithuanian authorities have been trying to shut down the site - hosted by Elneta service provider - since last year.

But the case has gone before the country's Supreme Court and a ruling is expected next year.

Reuters reported that Putin

said on Friday that the West's "patronising and indulgent attitude" to terrorism amounted to complicity, Itar-Tass news agency said.

It quoted Putin as telling an international meeting of city mayors that Western calls to negotiate with Chechen separatist rebels amounted to the failed appeasement of Nazi Germany ahead of World War Two.

"We have long warned about the threat of terrorist attacks, but our voice has not been heard," he said. "Moreover, we faced double standards in the attitude towards terrorism.

"I urge you to remember the lessons of history, the amicable deal (with Adolf Hilter) in Munich in 1938 ... Of course,the scale of consequences is different ... But the situation is very similar."

And the Nazi-Soviet pact of 1939?

The plot thickens, and the propaganda is warming up.


On Wednesday, the Guardian newspaper published Yevgeny Yevtushenko's poem 'School In Beslan'.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Parts Of The Truth

A recent post to Chechnya-SL quotes a message from Donald Jensen, Russia specialist and director of RFE/RL's Newsline, in response to Ira Straus's criticism of RFE/RL. Part of the message reads:

First, Mr. Straus' appeal to logic is disingenuous unless you believe, as he seems to, that in the wake of the Dagestan invasion, Russia had to invade Chechnya and no choices were involved. Not so. Without getting into the motivations of Basayev going in, without getting into the evidence that a corridor was left for him to get OUT of Dagestan, without getting into the suspicious set of circumstances surrounding these events aired by individuals like Aleksey Arbatov (hardly a paranoid Russophobe) etc., that invasion was repulsed during August ( After this, Russia had options and the choice made was not the only one. Others included attempting to seal the border around Chechnya, invading up to the Terek, crossing the Terek etc. However, the apartment bombings did take place in September, the government did blame the Chechens and used this, not the invasion of Dagestan, as the causus belli.

In short, Straus makes an appeal to chronology and then proceeds to violate chronology because it doesn't suit his purposes. In addition, despite what Mr Straus thinks, there's really no necessary contradiction between "the FSB did it" and "Boris Berezovskiy" when it comes to the apartment bombings. And it is entirely keeping with Berezovskiy's audacity to blame an institution -- elements of which may have been his accomplices -- as the sole perpetrator of the acts. I will not discuss further the evidence concerning the apartment bombings here, except to note that some colleagues are working with the evidence as I speak in an effort to see where it leads.

I will add a couple of additional points:

1) Anton Surikov, another inhabitant of the gray zone where Russian authorities regularly intersect with criminal interests, did note that the theory that the security services assisted Basayev in the invasion of Daghestan had a "right to exist, but only in part." A tad mysterious to be sure, but he knows Basayev and assisted him during the time Basayev fought WITH the Russians in Abkhazia. Lebed said the same.

2) Sergey Kovalev, hardly "anti-Russian," also raised about this in his commission's investigation of the apartment bombing.

3) Polling among Russians indicates that more than a third believes that the "authorities" may have had something to do with the bombings.

The fact is, there's a seamy underside to politics in Russia that we ignore at our peril. Note well what an active reserve officer said this week in Moskovskie Novosti (Igor Korolkov, "Russia After Beslan," MN #34, September 10, 2004): When they say that the Chechen boyeviky are financed from abroad, that's only part of the truth. Their main sources of income are from Russia, from Moscow. If any FSB investigator uncovers the business dealings the Chechens are involved in, he his quickly called off by customs, the procurator's office, their fellow FSB officers, MVD officers. It's absurd: the financing of the terrorists is aided by the very law enforcement organs that are battling them. He says he knows of FSB officers who help criminalized Chechen business types make money. Those same officers then go off to fight the Chechens, who are armed with weapons bought with that same money.

One of the interesting aspects of Western commentary on Beslan this week has been the outpouring of sympathy for Putin. He is now said to need help, just as 6 months ago he was acclaimed as being firmly in charge. I, for one, believe that, despite the unfortunate adulation of the west, Putin is in over his head, as will most likely become even more apparent in the coming months.

News from Russia

A poem by the Finnish poet Jarkko Laine, from his collection Paradise (Paratiisi, 1979)

News from Russia

News from Russia,
someone wants to exchange
their Pushkin for science fiction,
a moving gesture:
the lost paradise at both ends of the road,
the nigger on the chocolate bar wrapper,
the three-eyed Martian,
and not many people want to live today,
the laundrette’s display window,

news from Russia,
Lenin arrives at the station with German money in his briefcase,
everything must be changed so that there is nothing
except the name of the state,
the people’s state.
That Germany does not exist any more nor does that Lenin
who was shot so he would die, would never live again.

there is only politics,
another war scattered like manure on a field,
so that everything may flower, like art.
the child of war,

news from Russia,
the Russians don’t want war,
the Russians want to win,
they talk about peace, hard currency that does not exist,
the marks of Utopia, they are good for paying debts with,
they talk a lot, for a long time,

news from Russia,
the older the guidebook,
the easier it is to trust it,
the red star is not Baedeker’s,
that is the difference between the old one and the new one,

news from Russia,
Everyone wishes Mother Russia ill,
the American warmongers, the German warmongers, the Chinese warmongers,
the Finnish fascists, they all wish her ill,
have made a conspiracy to separate the lands of Russia from one another,
are going about in the border states speaking ill about Russia,
organizing non-Russian communism,
so low are they ready to go,
they would even buy Georgia with Stalin, that is their morality,
the new Varangians, peeping behind Moscow’s veil,

news from Russia,
it’s not a place at all,
it screams across the whole of Ivan’s square
as crazy as Vasily the Blessed was crazy,
speaking the truth is not enough for it,
it wants to be the truth itself,
distant and frothy like the Arctic Sea;
hanging gardens, a wonder of the world,
when its bells ring,
the corpses left on the gallows ring

news from Russia,
the chill-voiced woman on the radio in the middle of the night,
on every station,
in the pub the Finnish communist
talking in October about October,

news from Russia,
the past is irrevocable,
you go there if you go, as a ghost,
talking about it, sitting as if by nature,
sitting as a hostage to yourself until you are the past,
gone are those for whom a train was a samovar drawn by a team of horses,
gone are the corpses of the Streltsy, the Moscow Kremlin’s outermost fortification.
No longer do the ravens cover the gilt of the cupolas with their excrement,
no peacock is needed when there’s
a healthy cockerel in the back yard,
for five years that cockerel will crow, then they’ll bring a new cockerel;
and the snow will whirl: in Russia the snow will whirl,
we will watch it as on our television screens, we will wait for
news from Russia.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The Trauma Of War

A new report from Médecins Sans Frontières presents

the findings of two quantitative surveys conducted by MSF among the displaced populations in Ingushetia and Chechnya to gain information on living conditions and health status. People interviewed had been displaced for at least five years. We found a population living in unacceptable conditions, traumatized by conflict, and in fear of their safety. Physical and mental health needs were significant, but access to appropriate services is at best problematic. The authorities are currently undertaking a policy of moving people, against their will, from Ingushetia to Chechnya, but conditions in both locations are unacceptable and this will do nothing to improve the plight of this vulnerable population. The authorities must ensure protection and appropriate living circumstances for this displaced population. This will require greater attention from the international community to this conflict that has been largely ignored for the last decade.

The report, in PDF format, can be downloaded here.


At the beginning I had only one attitude: again this 'scum' started something out of the ordinary. Blasts of apartment buildings, blasts in the subway, etc. are not enough for them. Of course I meant Chechen terrorists, you have to forgive me – for I have sinned.

Stanislav Kozin, writing from Russia.

Swedish Anti-Semitism

The journalist and author Robert Skole, who has lived for many years in Sweden, has a grim report on the anti-Israel bias there, which even extends to anti-Semitic cartoons in the mainstream press (see the top of the linked page at Honest Reporting).

The profile of Jan Guillou, president of the Swedish Association of Journalists, on the same page, also makes troubling reading.

Via Andrew Sullivan and Harry's Place.

The Politics Of Beslan

It won't have escaped the notice of anyone who reads this blog that my attention has been focused for the past couple of weeks on one issue alone: Chechnya. The siege of Beslan and its aftermath have given rise to events so potentially momentous both for Russia and for the rest of the world that it has seemed wrong to concentrate on anything else much.

And the recent comment of independent lawmaker Vladimir Ryzhkov, reported by several agencies, that

"I don't understand how one can use the blood of Beslan's victims to resolve political tasks, to protect one's political interests and strengthen one's power"

is food for sustained and not very comfortable thought.

It seems clear that Putin and his government are involved in what is turning out to be some very murky shadow-play indeed, and we in the West would do well to keep a watchful eye on what transpires within the framework of Russian Federation politics in the near future.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Powell "concerned" about Putin

Reuters reports tonight that U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has expressed concern about the sweeping political changes introduced by Vladimir Putin:

"In effect this is pulling back (on) some of the democratic reforms, as seen by the international community, that have occurred in the past," Powell told Reuters in an interview.

The report quotes Powell as saying:

"We understand the need to fight against terrorism ... but in an attempt to go after terrorists I think one has to strike a proper balance to make sure that you don't move in a direction that takes you away from the democratic reforms or the democratic process"

and adding that

Washington would raise the issue with Moscow "in the days ahead."

Chechens Fleeing To Poland,34308,2283342.html

Chechens are fleeing to Poland

Jacek Brzuszkiewicz, Lublin 13-09-2004, last update 13-09-2004 20:44

The next group of 90 Chechens asked on Monday for refugee status after crossing the Polish-Belorussian border. After the attack of terrorists on the school in Beslan they are afraid of lynching and repressions for the side of authorities

All of them after crossing the border in Terespol have applied for refugee tatus. This is the second goup of Chechen escaping to Poland from the Russian Federation. On Saturday and Sunday the border in Terespol crossed 70 persons of Chechen nationality.

"All the Chechens who have applied for refugees status have been sent to the [refugee] center in Debak near Warsaw," says lieutenat-colonel Andrzej Wojcik, spokesman for the border unit - at the same time refuting Sunday's information from the Russian agency Interfax, which was alarming that the Poles are sending back from the border "hundreds of Chechens".

Among Chechens who in the last days applied for the refugee status in Poland are many families, often with small children. They are afraid of mob law from the side of Russians. "After Beslan we can't live there. It's dangerous to go on the street. They threaten that they do the same with Chechen children as the terrorists," as telling in Debak a resident of Grozny's suburb to an official of the Bureau of Repatriation and Foreigners. Other Chechens, more than their neighbours are afraid of repressions from the side of Russian authorities. "A Russian soldier on the street of Grozny was showing me that he was going to slash my throat" another said. They tell that they had been travelling to Poland for five days, because S.and N. Ossetia's borders were closed, they're travelled through Baku and Mineralniye Vody, by crowded trains and cheap private buses. For their trip, very often, their whole familes and neighbours were collecting money. The Chechens who came to Poland this last weekend tell about thousands of their countrymen who wait on any possibility to departure from Chechnya and other Caucasian republics.

Last week, every day, eight, nine Chechens had applied for refugee status. Since then, this number has been growing. - I'm afraid, that we can expect the real flood of Chechen refugees - says Jan Wegrzyn, the director general of Bureau of Repatriation and Foreigners.

At the disposal of 12 refugee centers there's 2300 individual places. After the last wave of escapes, only a few beds are left empty. Since the beginning of this year an application for the refugee status have filled 4500 persons in Poland, among them 3600 Chechens.

(tr. Marius at C-SL)

Zakayev At The House Of Lords

Akhmed Zakayev Appeals to the International Community to Help Resolve the Chechen Conflict

Opening remarks at the Press Conference at the House of Lords. London,14 September 2004

Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all I want to emphasize that the democratically elected Chechen government can only express horror and abhorrence in the face of the terrorist act perpetrated against the North Ossetian school in Beslan on 1- 3 September. President Maskhadov has declared that there can be no justification for terrorism, and he has called on the Chechen people to mourn those who died in this tragedy.

I categorically refute all accusations by the Russian government that President Maskhadov had any involvement in the Beslan events. Moreover, President Putin's subsequent linking of Aslan Maskhadov, a democratically elected president, to Shamil Basayev, who has accepted responsibility for a number of terrorist acts in the past, is a deliberate attempt to confuse international public opinion as to the real issues in the Chechen conflict. The accusation, as well as the call for a reward for President's Maskhadov's head as if he were but a common criminal, is nothing more than deliberate disinformation, part of the propaganda war conducted along the best traditions of the Soviet KGB, with the sole aim of discrediting those in Russia and the rest of the world who insist on dialogue with President Maskhadov.

Before answering your questions I would like to make a few important remarks. Who carried out the terrorist act? I believe that those responsible for the hostage taking in the school belonged to a local radical group, unlinked to any political forces or actors in the North Caucasus, and that this group was able to recruit volunteers amongst a population imbued with a desire for personal revenge for the death of their close ones in the hands of the Russian military. Let me remind you that more than 200 000 people have lost their lives in the hands of the Russian military, including more than 35 000 children. This does not mean that I condone the acts of those who, out of grief and despair, have lost all reason. I simply want to underline the circumstances which have lead to such madness.

The terrorist act of Beslan must also be placed in a particular context: that of the bloody conflict between the Ingush and the Ossetians, which started before the first Chechen war of 1994. In the autumn of 1992 hundreds of Ingush people were massacred in the Prigorodny region of North Ossetia. The scale of violence incurred then, in particular the massacre of children, far exceeded what we have just witnessed in Beslan. I am convinced that some of the participants in the attack on the Beslan school were also motivated by a desire for vengeance for the 1992 massacre, which explains the reported presence of many Ingush amongst the hostage takers.

Russian officials assert that persons of Arab, African and Korean origin were amongst the hostage takers. Following eyewitness accounts of surviving hostages, this has turned out to be not true. Russia also claims to have identified a number of individual Chechens amongst the dead hostage takers. These named Chechens are indeed real individuals, however they have been in prison in Russia for many years.

Faced with this barrage of lies from the Russian side, and in an effort to shed some truth on the events surrounding the attack on the school and the subsequent siege, President Maskhadov has ordered the head of the anti terrorist center of Chechnya to conduct an official enquiry into the Beslan events. He has also declared his willingness to cooperate with all interested parties in the investigation, and to share any information in his possession on individuals suspected of participating in this heinous crime.

International Terrorism and role of the international community Following the tragic events of 11 September 2001, the West realized that it needed Russian cooperation in the fight against international terrorism. In order to secure this cooperation, Western leaders have deliberately and consistently avoided the issue of the human rights abuses and war crimes in Chechnya, in their public and private dealings with President Putin. This line has been maintained in spite of the widely reported abuses of human rights perpetrated against the Chechen population, confirmed by the most respected and internationally recognized human rights organizations.

My question therefore to Prime Minister Blair, President Bush, Chancellor Schroeder, to name but a few, is "why are you not prepared to insist that your partner in the fight against terrorism espouses the standards of freedom, respect for human rights and civil liberties that you purport to defend?" Your silence has de facto given Putin carte blanche in his attempts to solve the Chechen conflict by force. This evidence of double standards by the West, which does not seem to hesitate to issue condemnation, or at times intervene, in other parts of the world that are suffering similar or even less extreme forms of state sponsored violence, is pushing many peaceful Chechens into carrying extremist acts out of desperation.

International terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism play only a minor role in the Chechen conflict and in Chechnya itself. However the Chechen tragedy is being hijacked by those who fuel the ideologies of both international terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism, who see in the conflict further evidence of the oppression of Muslims at the hands of the so called great powers. The West's reluctance to denounce Putin's approach to the Chechen problem is partly responsible for the fact that the cause of our people is now being manipulated by radical extremists who are at war with the West.

I understand that most political leaders in democratic countries are very sensitive to public opinion, and realistically I do not expect any changes in attitudes in the West until the public begins to exert pressure on governments to change. Yet without objective reporting on the situation in Chechnya, Western public opinion will continue to be inadequately informed on the real situation in the Republic. I therefore welcome and join the call by Reporters sans Frontiers in their open address to President Putin, to allow free movement for all journalists in Chechnya. Unless Western leaders are prepared to support this initiative, I fear that President Putin will be allowed to continue his disinformation campaign on Chechnya unimpeded.

Proposals for a peaceful resolution Putin's policy has not only not stabilized Chechnya, but has brought about a worsening of the situation. If Putin's policy towards Chechnya continues in the same vein, the Caucasus will radicalize even further, and I am gravely concerned that more Beslans will be inevitable. Therefore I call on Western governments to reconsider their strategy towards Russia, and make peace talks between Russia and the democratically elected government of Chechnya, under the auspices of international mediators, a non negotiable condition of Russia's continued status as a privileged interlocutor of the West, in both trade and political forums.

Aslan Maskhadov and his representatives once again declare their readiness to come to the negotiating table. In 2001 Putin stated that for Russia "Chechnya's status was not the most important issue. The most important issue was for Chechnya not to become a platform from which violence and aggression is directed against Russia". For our part, we declare that for us independence is not our main goal. It is simply one possible guarantee for the safety of the Chechen people. With good will and flexibility on both sides, the political aims of both parties should be achievable. However, following all that has happened, I fear that we can no longer find a solution without the participation of the international community, and guarantees that the interests of both parties will be acknowledged and respected.

Today, Aslan Maskhadov remains the only democratically elected leader in Chechnya, and the only one who can guarantee peace in the Caucasus if the war ends. As his official representative I confirm that we are ready to take this responsibility. But we cannot wage a war on two fronts: with the Russian army on one side and with international terrorism on the other. We need help from the international community.

If the world continues to ignore the Chechen problem, the responsibility for the ensuing Caucasus catastrophe will fall at the feet of Vladimir Putin and his Western apologists.


> Did anyone actually read the original text of this
ominous statement by
> Basayev? I tried to find it in the web but I didn't
succeed... couldn't specify the link either. Their report on
2nd September merely says:

Drugoy lider chechenskikh separatistov - Shamil' Basayev -
takzhe zayavil o svoey neprichastnosti k organizatsii
zakhvata shkoly v Beslane [...] na odnom iz saytov
chechenskikh separatistov.

(Another leader of Chechen separatists - Shamil Basayev - also declared his non-involvement in the organization of the seizure of the school in Beslan [...] on one of the Chechen separatist sites.)

(from Chechnya-SL)

Monday, September 13, 2004

"Anxious" Indifference

This is what the revived Empire of Evil needs: a unanimous approval of its actions without attempts to find the truth and punish the culprits. It rejects any honest investigation of the terrorist acts and the true reasons for the beginning of the two wars in Chechnya. Russian propaganda demands the existence of “the Chechen trace” in every terrorist act. Public is suggested to take everything for granted. The investigation into Basayev’s raid to Dagestan – an official reason for the beginning of the new genocide in Chechnya – has never been conducted. As well as we see no honest investigation of the apartment blasts in Moscow, Volgodonsk and Buinaksk, the hostage-taking in Nord-Ost, the killing of school children in Beslan is unlikely to be investigated too.

Why are these events marked out? Because in all other cases (a missile attack in the center of Grozny, bombing refugee columns, etc.) there are enough reliable proofs and evidence against the Kremlin. In all these cases it was impossible to hide the truth – too many witnesses. However, in all other cases – it was more or less easy to do, although few doubt Russian secret services were behind these events. We mean not only indirect proofs – there are many direct signs and evidence. The Chechen side has repeatedly stated it will support any initiative able to help an open and honest investigation into the Dagestan raid, the apartment blasts, and in all other cases. Paradoxically enough: “terrorists” have demanded investigation and trial, but in vain!

And what do we have as a result? De-facto all Chechens are declared the nation of criminals. The whole nation is tacitly declared criminal worldwide. Just think it over: THE WHOLE NATION! Not only men, but also women, children, the elderly! And all that happens not under Russian and Bolshevist czars. It happens today. The recent increase of activity coincided with the moment when the first Chechen files have finally reached the international court in Strasbourg! Lawyers have no doubts regarding their outcomes – Russia is likely to face serious charges. But who will hear them now when the entire world seems to accept that all the Chechens are criminals and potential “live bombs”?

We shall not think that all became possible as a result of non-professionalism of terrorism experts. That was a quite understandable and politically necessary decision. A psychological bribe to Putin for gas, oil and consumer markets. It is much easier to forget about Chechens and believe the Kremlin than to prove in practice one’s adherence to democratic principles, the fundamentals of the Western Civilization. The history simply repeats.

The emigrant of the first wave Sergei Melgunov, who published a book about the Bolshevist terror in Russia in early 20’s, has never been heard. Solzhenitsyn was heard in the height of the cold war. Today’s human rights reports about what is going on in Chechnya are covered with a cloak of silence. The reasons of such criminal inconsistency – an immediate political necessity. No one thinks about the consequences. Democracy is reduced to similar slogans of election campaigns. But the history proves – such dream of the mind gives birth to monsters. And today, after Russia’s decision “to bomb worldwide” have found understanding and approval, we can say with certainty – the beast has licked blood and liked it, and not only the beast liked it – but also public which watches what is going on with an “anxious” indifference from the western tribune of the circus.

Это именно то, что необходимо возродившейся Империи Зла: единогласное одобрение ее действий, без стремления докопаться до истины, а затем найти и наказать виновных. Она противится любому честному расследованию терактов и реальных причин двух войн Чечне. Присутствие «чеченского следа» в каждом теракте требует российская пропаганда. Общественности в этом случае предлагают верить на слово. А расследования похода Басаева на Дагестан - официальной причины начала нового геноцида в Чечне - как не было, так и нет. Как нет и честного расследования по фактам взрывов домов в Москве, Волгодонске и Буйнакске, нет расследования по факту захвата заложников в "Норд-Ост", не предвидится и расследования убийства школьников в Беслане.

Почему выделены именно эти события? Потому что во всех других случаях (ракетный удар по центру Грозного, расстрелы колон беженцев и многое другое) доказательная база, однозначно обвиняющая Кремль, не вызывает никаких сомнений. В этих случаях утаить правду не удалось - слишком уж много свидетелей. Во всех остальных - сделать это оказалось более или менее просто, хотя и теперь причастность российских спецслужб ко всем перечисленным выше событиям не вызывает сомнений. А ведь это не только косвенные доказательства - есть и много прямых улик. Чеченская сторона уже неоднократно говорила о том, что она поддержит любые инициативы, способные помочь открытому и честному следствию и по дагестанскому походу, и по взрывам домов, и во всех остальных случаях. Складывается парадоксальная ситуация: «террористы» безуспешно добиваются суда и следствия!

Что же в результате? Де-факто чеченцы объявлены нацией преступников. Во всем мире вся нация негласно объявлена преступной. Вдумайтесь в эти слова: ВСЯ НАЦИЯ! Не только мужчины, но и женщины, и дети, и старики! А ведь это происходит не во времена русских и большевистских царей. Это происходит сегодня. Нынешний всплеск активности произошел именно в том момент, когда первые чеченские досье с огромным трудом дошли до международного суда в Страсбурге! Юристы не сомневаются в их итоге - Россию ждут доказанные обвинения. Но кто услышит их теперь, после того, как, кажется, весь мир согласился с тем, что все чеченцы преступники и потенциальные «живые бомбы»?

Не стоит думать, что подобное стало возможным в результате непрофессионализма экспертов по вопросам терроризма. Это было вполне объяснимое и политически необходимое решение. Своего рода психологическая взятка Путину, за нефть, газ и рынки сбыта. Легче забыть о чеченцах и поверить Кремлю, чем доказать на деле свою приверженность демократическим принципам, основам Западной Цивилизации. История просто повторяется.

Эмигрант первой волны Сергей Мельгунов, опубликовавший еще в начале 20-х годов прошлого века книгу о большевистском терроре в России, не был услышан. В разгар холодной войны услышали Солженицина. Сегодняшние доклады правозащитников о происходящем в Чечне снова окружены стеной молчания. Причина подобной преступной непоследовательности - сиюминутная политическая необходимость. О последствиях не думает никто. Демократия свелась к однотипным лозунгам предвыборных кампаний. Но история доказывает - подобный сон разума рождает чудовищ. И сегодня, после того как решение России «бомбить по всему миру» нашло понимание и одобрение, можно уже с уверенность сказать - зверь лизнул крови и это понравилось не только ему, но и публике, взирающей c "беспокойным" безразличием за происходящим с западной трибуны цирка.

Read the whole article here (English)

and here (Russian)