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I.Dementyeva: The Campaign Is the Second, the Approach Is the Previous One (-JRL)

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  • Norbert Strade
    Johnson s Russia List #5373 31 July 2001 davidjohnson@erols.com Dementyeva: Putin s silence on Chechnya said to representative policy of moving the war to the
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 2 5:15 PM
      Johnson's Russia List
      31 July 2001

      Dementyeva: Putin's silence on Chechnya said to representative policy of
      moving the war "to the periphery" of social consciousness

      Obshchaya Gazeta
      26 July 2001
      [translation for personal use only]
      Article by Irina Dementyeva, under the rubric: "OG's Version":
      "The Campaign Is the Second, the Approach - Is the Previous One"

      President Putin's silence with regard to the events in Chechnya has
      lasted too long to seem natural. We have in mind not a literal inability
      to speak, you understand but, on the contrary, the capability to
      converse in a trusting manner with an entire hall of journalists for an
      hour and a half and to answer 20 questions, including - about the color
      of his poodles and, in the process, to not say anything articulate about
      the war of annihilation. They ask him about human rights violations in
      Chechnya and he responds about "the metastases of the radicalization of
      the Muslim World".
      They ask him, then why are cleansing operations needed in Assinovskaya
      and Sernovodsk, and he says that there are people among the Chechen
      people who support us. He displays decisiveness and constancy in one
      thing: "They asked me, will I change my approach, and I respond - no."
      The deliberate attempts of the court political technologists "to
      relegate Chechnya to the periphery of the public consciousness" have
      only succeeded in part.
      What is occurring in Chechnya increasingly impacts Russia's economic
      situation, threatens its political system, and will inevitably develop
      into a problem of government. That makes the president's silence or his
      talk about export performance even more incomprehensible. In his
      country, he tasked Yastrzhembskiy, Manilov, and Zdanovich to set forth
      at least the facts and at least the thoughts.
      Even out-and-out PR personnel already cannot hear them without a sad
      smile. So, sensing which way the wind is blowing, the procurators and
      generals, colonels and liberal leaders, the Duma's ignorant young men
      and inspired cannibals, who, however, think of themselves as
      journalists, rush to be noticed.
      So, the president said that the cleansing operations will continue. As
      we all know, the number of refugees, who are saving their own lives, is
      increasing as a result of the punitive operations against the Chechen
      But do the official Chechen and federal authorities repeat that they
      want to return all of the refugees to republic territory? We understand
      that a portion of Chechen men are fleeing not to Ingushetia but to the
      Judging by official information, the number of guerrillas is not
      decreasing and Russian troop losses are increasing over the long term.
      Do we really not know that the bloody verifications of the passport
      regime promote that?
      "We don't intend to operate as if we are occupiers. This is our own
      country and that style is counterproductive. We understand that very
      well and we do not intend to unleash any suppressions whatsoever. No one
      needs them," - the Russian president said in a conversation with
      American journalists.
      In general, V.V. Putin is clearly more comfortable with the foreign
      press than with his own press. And not without reason. The foreign
      journalists are much better informed on the vicissitudes of the
      Caucasian War than our public and receive many fewer signals from their
      governments than our journalists. Although not without the fact... Poor
      Chirac's silence at the joint press conference says a lot.
      President Putin's information that it is as if the Russian authorities
      "have actually encountered the physical destruction of the
      Russian-speaking population" could have caused the Americans' emotional
      reaction. We must recall that approximately 300,000 Russians were
      residing in Chechnya at the time of Dudayev's accession to power. That
      is according to the 1989 census. Of course, the Russians in Chechnya had
      the opportunity to experience adversity, even without any war at all,
      with the change of the national elite, just like the Russians in the
      other regions of the former Union, but the physical destruction of such
      a mass of people has not been confirmed by any data whatsoever. When
      information on 21,000 (not about 300,000!!) Russians, who had been
      killed outside military operations, was thrown into public circulation
      with a reference to the Minnats [RF Ministry for Nationality Affairs and
      Regional Policy] three years ago, on the eve of the introduction of
      Russian troops into Dagestan, then Minister V. Mikhaylov was compelled
      to refute that number.
      Let's note that they are in circulation to this day, specifically, in
      the State Duma. Has Vladimir Vladimirovich, certainly a man who is
      capable of sensible views, turned out to be so lucid? Or is this the
      export version? Has the president of a civilized country, who also has a
      legal education, suggested that we consider the current reprisals
      against the Chechen population as vengeance for what was allegedly
      committed against the Russians? I don't understand.
      So far no legal grounds whatsoever exist for what has occurred and what
      is occurring in Chechnya. Without disputing the President's comment
      about the arbitrariness that reigned in Ichkeriya until 1999, how can
      one both understand and define today's events? Do we really not know
      that the Russian side is employing Middle Age methods of impact on the
      population on Chechen territory on a somewhat larger scale? And any
      colonel or major and any sergeant or soldier, not based upon a court,
      even a Sharia court, but based upon their own mood, can do whatever they
      want to any female Chechen or Chechens. And the legal system that has
      been nearly completed restored, in the president's words, is practically
      totally incapable of opposing that. I don't understand.
      Meanwhile, a sober assessment of today's stage of the war, including its
      legal definition, is needed first and foremost for the President and the
      country's entire ruling elite. Should we console ourselves with
      propaganda myths? The war is not only depleting the treasury but also
      the patience of forbearing Russians. The war is not only demoralizing
      the Army, making it dangerously uncontrollable. The war is not only
      drawing an increasing number of non-Chechen "individuals of Caucasian
      nationality" into its orbit (not Chechens but Karachays are being tried
      for the explosions in Moscow. Not Chechens but Dagestanis are being
      tried for the defeat of the Moscow OMON [Special Purpose Militia
      Detachment] column), threatening through a local, underground fire to
      spread to the entire North Caucasus. The war, which consolidated Russian
      society in the first stage, threatens the Russian state with
      disintegration right now. The hopeless, interminable war will not
      escalate into the Thirty Years or the Hundred Years War, like in Europe
      during the Middle Ages.
      There is nothing hopeful with which to console ourselves. Its cruel and
      unscrupulous wolf boys are already breathing down the necks of the
      current authorities. They promise a rapid and merciless end of the war,
      and a rapid and merciless end of reform.
      They can tempt a tired and impoverished Russia. Then that will appear to
      be quite a bit to not only the [human] rights defenders and other
      intellectuals, but also to the apolitical businessmen, and not only to
      the flexible West, but also to the current residents of all of the
      Russian kremlins and white houses. A lack of understanding of that is
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