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  • Norbert Strade
    ... Subject: RusLife OnLine: THE RUSSIAN EYE Date: Mon, 1 Nov 1999 22:37:56 +0100 From: Dmitri Daniline Reply-To: The Chechnya List
    Message 1 of 4 , Nov 1, 1999
      -------- Original Message --------
      Subject: RusLife OnLine: THE RUSSIAN EYE
      Date: Mon, 1 Nov 1999 22:37:56 +0100
      From: Dmitri Daniline <ambrus@...>
      Reply-To: The Chechnya List <CHECHNYA@...>
      To: Multiple recipients of list CHECHNYA <CHECHNYA@...>

      RusLife OnLine
      11/1/99
      RusLife Online is a weekly online review of news and opinion from the
      publishers of Russian Life magazine, a bimonthly print magazine of
      Russian
      culture, history, travel and life. We're online at:
      http://www.russian-life.com


      THE RUSSIAN EYE


      Why Russia Must Stand Firm in Chechnya
      By Mikhail Ivanov

      Tomorrow in Oslo, Norway, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will
      undoubtedly be subjected to criticism about Chechnya by US President
      Bill
      Clinton (who recently said the Chechen problem cannot be solved by
      military
      means and that all problems similar to the one in Chechnya could be
      solved
      "only by political means"). Meanwhile, over the course of last week, US
      Deputy
      Secretary of State Strobe Talbot has been twisting the arm of Russian
      Foreign
      Minister Igor Ivanov, expressing America's concern over the scale of
      Russian
      operations in Chechnya. Finally, Germany's Minister of Cooperation and
      Development Haide Maria Zeul said one cannot give money to a country
      which
      "carries out military actions against its own people."

      These sympathies are at best puzzling to most Russians. First, Chechnya
      is
      sovereign territory of the Russian Federation. It is not a separate
      country or
      principality. It is a region on the borders of Russia that has become a
      safe
      haven for international terrorists. (Even, Great Britain made a point of
      ignoring Aslan Maskhadov when he latter arrived to London, so certainly
      this is
      somehow accepted in Western circles.) Second, there is an amazing double
      standard here. Somehow it is acceptable for the US and NATO to bomb
      Serbia into
      oblivion to avert a humanitarian disaster, or for the US to bomb
      terrorist
      bases in sovereign nations (Afghanistan, Libya, Sudan) with impugnity.
      But when
      Russia seeks to eradicate terrorists on its own soil, it is
      unacceptable.

      In fact, the "true humanitarian catastrophe" broke out in Chechnya long
      before
      the recent military actions. The local population's pensions have been
      shanghaied by Chechen field commanders to buy arms; unemployment is the
      rule,
      rather than the exception, forcing young men to either join the rebels
      or
      starve; production of drugs and counterfeit dollars is rampant; the
      hostage
      business thrives at the expense of local Russian families and the
      families of
      international journalists and aid workers ...

      This issue aside, those who demand a halt to Russia's military
      operations in
      Chechnya and a dialogue with terrorists fail to understand the very
      essence of
      their demands. By asking Russia to relinquish its plans to nip the
      domestic
      terrorism in the bud, they are asking Russia to resign itself to a total
      loss
      of Russian influence in the Caucasus and a wildfire spreading of
      separatism
      throughout the country. As Sevodnya daily put it, "American politicians
      began
      to gradually realize that Russia's retreat in the Caspian region and the
      Caucasus is over." And they seem not to like having to deal with a more
      assertive, confident Russia ...

      Of course, there is no quick solution to the problem of international
      terrorism
      in Chechnya. But Russian authorities seem to agree that a prerequisite
      is
      breaking the back of the terrorists' military machine. As Russian
      Defense
      Minister Marshall Igor Sergeev said last weekend while inspecting
      Russian troop
      positions near Grozny: "We are here for good."

      As Putin said recently, "one cannot make a whole people kneel down, and
      this is
      not Russia's intent. But then one can and must destroy terrorists ..."
      Russia
      will begin the negotiations "when it will be profitable to her." And
      when there
      is a legitimate party to negotiate with - one that does not espouse and
      support
      terrorism against Russia, like Maskhadov.

      As to the IMF-centered blackmail, Putin phrased the problem well in a TV
      interview Sunday on ORT: The West seeks to give us "loans for candies"
      in
      exchange for "giving up the whole territory from the Black Sea to the
      Caspian.
      But even if we give it up, they won't stop there and will further expand
      their
      aggression against Russia."

      Chechnya has never been independent from Russia. And if the military
      operation
      to reintegrate it into Russia is interrupted again, the consequences
      would be
      disastrous for the whole country. Now that Russian troops have driven
      Chechen
      warlords into a corner, separatists in other subjects of the Russian
      Federation--such as Tatarstan for instance--are keeping a low-profile.
      (Even
      Governor of Sverdlovsk region Eduard Rossel, who in a fit of separatism
      once
      proclaimed a so-called called Republic of the Urals, now seems to be
      concerned
      about Russia's territorial integrity and said he wants Russia to return
      to the
      old pre-Revolutionary territorial division of guberniyas.) But if Russia
      backs
      down on Chechnya, what is to stop Russia from devolving to a city-state
      defined
      by the territory of Moscow? After all, one can always find an axe to
      grind and
      a reason to separate oneself from one's neighbors. Finding unity is so
      much
      harder.

      Which brings to mind Prime Minister Putin's tongue-in-cheek remark
      recently
      (which could be restated to good effect tomorrow): "Clinton is saying
      just what
      we are saying ... that ethnic conflicts cannot be solved by coercive
      means. I
      am grateful to Bill Clinton for his support..."


      Mikhail Ivanov is Executive Editor of Russian Life magazine.
    • Norbert Strade
      ... Subject: Re: RusLife OnLine: THE RUSSIAN EYE Date: Tue, 2 Nov 1999 00:24:14 -0800 From: witold1 Reply-To: The Chechnya List
      Message 2 of 4 , Nov 1, 1999
        -------- Original Message --------
        Subject: Re: RusLife OnLine: THE RUSSIAN EYE
        Date: Tue, 2 Nov 1999 00:24:14 -0800
        From: witold1 <witold1@...>
        Reply-To: The Chechnya List <CHECHNYA@...>
        To: Multiple recipients of list CHECHNYA <CHECHNYA@...>
        References: <038401bf24b1$5d4cf880$d218bed4@pc1>

        Dmitri Daniline wrote:
        >
        (snip)
        >
        > Which brings to mind Prime Minister Putin's tongue-in-cheek remark recently
        > (which could be restated to good effect tomorrow): "Clinton is saying just what
        > we are saying ... that ethnic conflicts cannot be solved by coercive means. I
        > am grateful to Bill Clinton for his support..."
        >

        I think Clinton got this unique recognition the old fashion way: he
        earned it.

        Shame on you Mister President, this is your legacy now. Hard to believe
        it happened just like that, without your clear intentions. Shame on you
        for permitting the biggest, state sponsored genocide in a time of
        "peace".
        -Witold
      • nost@get2net.dk
        ... (snip) ... Chechnya ... First mistake. Chechnya is a former Russian colony that declared independence in 1991. It has since been an independent unit under
        Message 3 of 4 , Nov 2, 1999
          Dmitri Daniline <ambrus@...> wrote:

          > THE RUSSIAN EYE
          >
          >
          > Why Russia Must Stand Firm in Chechnya
          > By Mikhail Ivanov

          (snip)
          >
          > These sympathies are at best puzzling to most Russians. First,
          Chechnya
          > is
          > sovereign territory of the Russian Federation. It is not a separate
          > country or
          > principality.

          First mistake. Chechnya is a former Russian colony that declared
          independence in 1991. It has since been an independent unit under
          international law. Russia is now waging its second war in order to
          restore this part of the old empire, though Russian president Yeltsin
          himself had signed an international treaty with Chechnya in which among
          other things the use of force was abandoned.
          But the current Russian leadership uses treaties in the same way as
          Hitler did: They are good for deceiving the public, but to be broken if
          needed. Just now we see how Putin is manoeuvering with the CFE treaty
          (broken for "as long as necessary".)

          > It is a region on the borders of Russia that has become a
          > safe
          > haven for international terrorists. (Even, Great Britain made a point
          of
          > ignoring Aslan Maskhadov when he latter arrived to London, so
          certainly
          > this is
          > somehow accepted in Western circles.)

          This smart sentence connects two issues which have little to do with
          each other. First, Great Britain did not totally ignore Maskhadov when
          he was there. Some officials in fact talked with him about some British
          hostages. The hostages were the sole reason why the British talked to
          Chechnya at all. Otherwise, they follow the line of the other Western
          governments, which is to bend international law in the Chechen case and
          regard it as part of Russia. The reasons are clear, economical
          interests personalized in the "family", and geopolitical regards.
          And the "safe haven for international terrorists" is pure propaganda,
          at least when it comes from Russia of all places! A country which is
          the safe haven for a majority of mafia crime all over Europe, and whose
          government is now massacring the civilian population of Chechnya in a
          19th-century style colonial war, doesn't have the right to talk about
          terrorism anywhere in the world. Those guys belong in the Hague for
          their own part in international terrorism, among other things.

          > Second, there is an amazing double
          > standard here. Somehow it is acceptable for the US and NATO to bomb
          > Serbia into
          > oblivion to avert a humanitarian disaster, or for the US to bomb
          > terrorist
          > bases in sovereign nations (Afghanistan, Libya, Sudan) with impugnity.
          > But when
          > Russia seeks to eradicate terrorists on its own soil, it is
          > unacceptable.

          This is also nonsense. I called it "kindergarden argumentation"
          somewhere else. It might be an attempt at sophism too, but it isn't
          really working. "Others do it too" - it's still a crime! And Russia
          isn't fighting terrorists in Chechnya but mainly the local civilian
          population and its legal (and previously recognized by Russia)
          government.
          If there's any similarity between Kosova and Chechnya, we have Russia
          in Slobo's role. And there would have been even more reason for the
          world community to take measures in the Chechnya case, because we here
          have to do with international aggression.

          > In fact, the "true humanitarian catastrophe" broke out in Chechnya
          long
          > before
          > the recent military actions. The local population's pensions have
          been
          > shanghaied by Chechen field commanders to buy arms; unemployment is
          the
          > rule,
          > rather than the exception, forcing young men to either join the rebels
          > or
          > starve; production of drugs and counterfeit dollars is rampant; the
          > hostage
          > business thrives at the expense of local Russian families and the
          > families of
          > international journalists and aid workers ...

          First of all, besides a couple of propaganda lies in this part, there's
          the more principal question: Who's responsible for the situation in
          Chechnya? After its defeat in 96, Russia signed several agreements with
          Chechnya about the payment of pensions, the restauration of destroyed
          facilities, and so on. Russia broke *every single* of these signed
          agreements and instead tried to isolate the country economically. The
          little money which was finally dispatched, disappeard even before it
          reached Chechnya. There have been many news stories about this. The
          version that the pensions had been stolen by Chechen field commanders
          didn't appear in the Russian "information" services before the start of
          the new war. Also the story about counterfeit dollars has been spread
          by Russian agencies from time to time, but they never gave any proof.
          I have to repeat myself again: The sole responsible for the social and
          crime situation in Chechnya is the Russian leadership which actively
          created the circumstances in which this could develop and had to
          develop. So-called foreign terrorists are Russia's best friends in this
          connection, since they helped to further destabilize Chechen democracy
          and gave Russia cheap arguments for their information war.
          It shouldn't be forgotten that the bulk of kidnapping cases were
          Chechens, not local Russians and foreigners. There's no space here to
          go into that, but it has to be mentioned that there are many layers in
          this question. There are simple "economically-motivated" kidnappings as
          a result of the situation created by Russian aggression and isolation,
          and there are politically motivated cases, and finally atrocities which
          were aimed at scaring away foreigners who had been helping to
          reconstruct Chechnya. The news stories are full of strange links
          between especially the latter category and Russian services and
          personalities.

          > This issue aside, those who demand a halt to Russia's military
          > operations in
          > Chechnya and a dialogue with terrorists fail to understand the very
          > essence of
          > their demands. By asking Russia to relinquish its plans to nip the
          > domestic
          > terrorism in the bud, they are asking Russia to resign itself to a
          total
          > loss
          > of Russian influence in the Caucasus and a wildfire spreading of
          > separatism
          > throughout the country.

          Here we are closer to the truth. First of course we have to forget
          about the propaganda language ("fight against terrorists", "domestic"
          etc.). What remains is the fight against the "total loss of Russian
          influence in the Caucasus and a wildfire spreading of separatism
          throughout the country". This is of course the real reason behind the
          current war. Russia is trying to restore parts of its long-lost
          colonial empire, if necessary (and if accepted by the international
          community) by the physical extermination of the most resisting
          "tribes". The gangsters in the Russian leadership are perfectly aware
          that if Chechnya finally, after 200 years of fight, gets away with its
          rejection of Russian conquest, others could develop the same idea. If
          we look at Russian colonial history, the country would become
          relatively small if all the conquered territories left. Especially,
          most of the still profit-producing third-world style raw material sites
          are almost all located in Russia's colonial rim.
          So the "best" Russia can do, if it can't keep Chechnya in the long run,
          is at least to devastate it so much that others would lose appetite for
          freedom.

          Russia could of course try something else, e.g. to keep the old empire
          together by developing into a shining example of democracy and freedom,
          which possibly could attract former colonies to some kind of
          co-operation. But this seems still far away in a country whose
          political philosophy hasn't changed principally since the Khan of
          Moscow overthrew his over-khans and made himself "Czar of all Russians".

          > As Sevodnya daily put it, "American politicians
          > began
          > to gradually realize that Russia's retreat in the Caspian region and
          the
          > Caucasus is over." And they seem not to like having to deal with a
          more
          > assertive, confident Russia ...

          It's smart to turn the fight for a lost empire into a case of
          arm-bending with America. But this could also backfire. Russia as we
          know it exists today only because it is financed by America and other
          Western countries. The reason why they are still financing the family
          and its wars are not "nice", but at least absolutely material. If
          Russia starts pressing too much, other options could become more
          feasible. Mr. Putin and others should be very careful not to fall into
          the trap prepared by their own bravado language. In real life, they
          rule an "Upper Volta" in which even the nukes are beginning to fail.

          > Of course, there is no quick solution to the problem of international
          > terrorism
          > in Chechnya.

          And anyway, there have been kidnappings and other atrocities, but I
          can't see the huge wave of international terrorism in Chechnya. All we
          have are those explosions where the only people who got caught were
          FSB-men on "exercise".

          As a citizen of Western Europe, I'd rather like the Russian authorities
          to take steps against their various mafias committing widespread
          organized car-theft, robberies, smuggling of refugees, kidnapping of
          women and kids for prostitution, murder, and last but not least
          frequent bomb attacks against each other and our local criminals here
          in our part of the world. That would make their words sound a little
          less hollow.

          > But Russian authorities seem to agree that a prerequisite
          > is
          > breaking the back of the terrorists' military machine. As Russian
          > Defense
          > Minister Marshall Igor Sergeev said last weekend while inspecting
          > Russian troop
          > positions near Grozny: "We are here for good."

          "Breaking the back of the terrorists' military machine" means to
          massacre the civilian population in order to force the Chechen army to
          give up large parts of the country to save them. It's using the Chechen
          civilians as hostages against their own government.
          Well, Mr. Sergeyev won't stay in Chechnya forever. He will have to run
          like Pasha Mercedes and his successors did. Perhaps even one day a
          democratic Russia will arrest all those responsible for this
          international crime and send them to the Hague. Remember Pinochet.
          Never say never.

          > As Putin said recently, "one cannot make a whole people kneel down,
          and
          > this is
          > not Russia's intent. But then one can and must destroy terrorists
          ..."

          Talking like this while the Russian army is committing genocide in
          Chechnya is the language of Goebbels. No, it doesn't sound smart. Even
          if it is meant for internal use only, it's still incredible that
          politicians in such positions can get away with it.

          > Russia
          > will begin the negotiations "when it will be profitable to her."

          That will be when they are beaten again.

          > And
          > when there
          > is a legitimate party to negotiate with - one that does not espouse
          and
          > support
          > terrorism against Russia, like Maskhadov.

          This is the most ridiculous part. But again, was it Goebbels who said
          "even the most stupid lie will finally be believed if it's repeated
          often enough".

          > Chechnya has never been independent from Russia.

          In fact it has never been part of Russia. It has been under Russian
          occupation, but that's another story. Russian rulers never understood
          the difference, and that's one of the reasons for the present misery in
          both Chechnya and Russia.

          > And if the military
          > operation
          > to reintegrate it into Russia is interrupted again, the consequences
          > would be
          > disastrous for the whole country.

          These guys equal their own power and latifunds with the interests of
          the whole country. That's typical for this third-world-general
          mind-set. In real life, it would be a benefit for Russia if it learned
          to let its colonies go in a peaceful and negotiated way, establishing
          peaceful and mutually profitable relations in the course.
          Russia will never rise as long as these bloody Khans rule the country.

          > Now that Russian troops have driven
          > Chechen
          > warlords into a corner, separatists in other subjects of the Russian
          > Federation--such as Tatarstan for instance--are keeping a low-profile.

          Exactly. Finally some open language.

          > (Even
          > Governor of Sverdlovsk region Eduard Rossel, who in a fit of
          separatism
          > once
          > proclaimed a so-called called Republic of the Urals, now seems to be
          > concerned
          > about Russia's territorial integrity and said he wants Russia to
          return
          > to the
          > old pre-Revolutionary territorial division of guberniyas.)

          Everybody is afraid now that the present government would do the same
          even to "Russian" parts of the conglomerate. They can also remember how
          Uncle Borya dealt with his own parliament when he had grown tired of it.

          > But if Russia
          > backs
          > down on Chechnya, what is to stop Russia from devolving to a
          city-state
          > defined
          > by the territory of Moscow?

          Unintended, the truth. That's what "Russia" is. The duchy of Moscow and
          its colonies. Under democratic circumstances, many of them might find
          it reasonable to stay with Moscow, but that should be by their own free
          will.
          The Russian rulers simply don't understand this part, and the majority
          of the population seems still to be under the influence of 19th-century
          Pan-Slavist nationalism - a useless base for dealing with our time's
          problems.

          > After all, one can always find an axe to
          > grind and
          > a reason to separate oneself from one's neighbors. Finding unity is so
          > much
          > harder.

          Russia makes it easy for you: Stop grinding that axe or face total
          devastation and extermination. A hard unity.

          All in all an interesting article. As always, between the lines of
          rather brainless propaganda, we find the truth behind the motives.

          Best regards,
          Norbert
        • Jaan Sepp
          ... For those who want to avoid ANY partiality in judging Ichkeria s international status, there is a very useful expression: disputed state . Israel, Taiwan
          Message 4 of 4 , Nov 2, 1999
            Article transmitted by Danilin:
            > > These sympathies are at best puzzling to most
            > Russians. First,
            > Chechnya
            > > is
            > > sovereign territory of the Russian Federation. It
            > is not a separate
            > > country or
            > > principality.

            Strade:
            > First mistake. Chechnya is a former Russian colony
            > that declared
            > independence in 1991. It has since been an
            > independent unit under
            > international law. Russia is now waging its second
            > war in order to
            > restore this part of the old empire, though Russian
            > president Yeltsin
            > himself had signed an international treaty with
            > Chechnya in which among
            > other things the use of force was abandoned.
            > But the current Russian leadership uses treaties in
            > the same way as
            > Hitler did: They are good for deceiving the public,
            > but to be broken if
            > needed. Just now we see how Putin is manoeuvering
            > with the CFE treaty
            > (broken for "as long as necessary".)


            For those who want to avoid ANY partiality in judging
            Ichkeria's international status, there is a very
            useful expression: "disputed state". Israel, Taiwan
            etc. have been in the same position before.

            I am every day really irritated by such news as BBC
            who refer to Ichkeria as "the Russian rebel province
            of Chechnya". Even if they want to follow the Russian
            interpretation, they shouild call Ichkeria a republic,
            not a province. The definition of "rebel" is also
            quite oddly interpreted - but that's of course nothing
            new... The legal and elected government and president
            of Georgia were called rebels, too. So, it seems
            "rebel" anywhere in the CIS region means "someone who
            stays critical at Moscow". International recognition,
            and recognition of sovereignty by Russia herself (for
            Georgia, Azerbaijan...) doesn't seem to mean anything.

            Jaan
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