Well, I may have missed something, but so far I haven't heard any significant break in this international silence. Meanwhile, the relentlessly courageous Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who insisted on covering the never-ending catastrophe in Chechnya, has been disposed of by assassination. And then earlier this month the Kremlin appointed a notorious thug, Ramzan Kadyrov, as Chechnya's acting president.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday appointed Ramzan Kadyrov, a 30-year-old former rebel and son of a murdered Chechen leader, as acting president of Chechnya, a spokesman for Putin said.In Chechnya itself, the carnage and atrocities grind on. So this statement issued last March remains all to timely, and it deserves re-reading.
Kadyrov, who was made Chechnya's prime minister last year, is head of a private militia force that human rights groups implicate in murder and kidnap but which he says provides security in the war weary region. (Washington Post - February 15, 2007)
[P.S. It would be quite wrong to suggest that Russian troops and their local auxiliaries are the only ones who have been committing atrocities in Chechnya, and I would be unhappy if anyone thought I was implying that. Let me repeat some comments I made at the time of the Beslan massacre in September 2004, when over 300 civilian hostages, including 186 children, were murdered by Chechen terrorists:
To avoid any possible misunderstanding, I want to emphasize some further points as clearly and forcefully as I can. None of this criticism of the Beslan atrocity, and of the kind of terrorism it exemplifies, in any way justifies or excuses the fact that Russia has been fighting an incredibly brutal, destructive, and often appalling war in Chechnya, marked by extensive atrocities (on both sides!), massive civilian deaths, and pervasive violations of the laws of war, including murder, rape and kidnapping of civilians by Russian troops and security services. However, the opposite is also true. Nothing about the Russian war in Chechnya in any way justifies or excuses this kind of terrorist massacre, which ought to be unreservedly condemned whatever one thinks about the Chechen war.]==========================
End the Silence Over
It is extremely difficult for an honest observer to break through the closed doors that separate
According to estimates by non-governmental organizations, the figure is between 100,000 (that is, one civilian out of ten) and 300,000 (one out of four). How many voters participated in the November 2005 elections? Between 60 and 80%, according to Russian authorities; around 20%, reckon independent observers. The blackout imposed on
But censorship cannot completely hide the horror. Under the world’s very eyes, a capital –
And yet the world remains silent in the face of the looting of
Indeed, the fundamental principle of democracies and civilized states is at issue in
The fight against terrorism is also at stake. Who has not yet realized that the Russian army is actually behaving like a group of pyromaniac firefighters, fanning the fires of terrorism through its behavior? After ten years of a large-scale repression, the fire, far from going out, is spreading, crossing borders, setting Northern Caucasus ablaze and making combatants even more fierce.
How much longer can we ignore the fact that, in raising the bogeyman of “Chechen terrorism,” the Russian government is suppressing the liberties gained when the Soviet empire collapsed? The Chechen war both masks and motivates the reestablishment of a central power in Russia – bringing the media back under state control, passing laws against NGO’s, and reinforcing the “vertical line of power” – leaving no institutions and authorities able to challenge or limit the Kremlin. War, it seems, is hiding a return to autocracy.
Sadly, wars in
Because we reject colonial and exterminating ventures, because we love Russian culture and believe that
It would be tragic if, during the G8 summit scheduled for
ANDRE GLUCKSMANN, VACLAV HAVEL, PRINCE HASSAN BIN TALAL, FREDERIK WILLEM DE KLERK, MARY ROBINSON, YOHEI SASAKAWA, KAREL SCHWARZENBERG, GEORGE SOROS AND DESMOND TUTU.