Saturday, December 30, 2006

Chechen Society Today



The eighth issue of Chechenskoye Obshchestvo Segodnya (Chechen Society Today) is currently available for download (pdf, Russian) at the Prague Watchdog website.

Among other things, the current issue of the magazine contains an interesting interview with Czech journalist Petra Prohazkova, who has covered both the Chechen conflict and the war in Afghanistan. She compares the two experiences from a journalist’s point of view, stating that while from a personal standpoint she really prefers Russians to Americans, she admits that she would much rather cover bombing operations run by American forces: the bombing of Tora Bora was carried out with such precision that “the journalists stood calmly, smoking, adjusting their cameras, while the American planes that were bombing the nearby Taliban hillside flew overhead.” The Russian bombing of the Chechen capital Grozny was, by contrast, a thoroughly life-threatening episode for all who tried to witness and record it.

Ms. Prohazkova dispels the myth about the presence of Chechen fighters in Afghanistan. Although under the Taliban regime the Chechen government did have official representation in the country, and Yandarbiyev and Khattab visited it for a while, she says that now the Chechens “really aren’t here. One man once tried very hard to convince me that he’d killed a Chechen, a fearsome cutthroat. Then they showed me his diary, and we discovered that he was an Uzbek. It was just that for them, anyone who came from the post-Soviet space was a Chechen.”

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