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Re: JFM: Babatsky shares his current view on Chechen war

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  • Norbert Strade
    Dear sschange and list, Let me start with stating that I agree with Marius. The people who post news stories and comments to this list can t be expected to do
    Message 1 of 11 , Apr 2, 2002
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      Dear sschange and list,

      Let me start with stating that I agree with Marius. The people who post
      news stories and comments to this list can't be expected to do research
      work for others in their spare time.
      There is a huge list archive that contains coverage of almost everything
      that happened in connection with Chechnya since 1995 and partly before.
      You can search the latest items at
      <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/chechnya-sl/messages > and older material
      at <http://www.man.torun.pl/cgi-bin/wa?S1=chechnya>. Your questions
      about documentation for my statements can be answered there. I won't be
      surprised if there are hundreds of messages containing material about
      the Budyonnovsk events.

      Just a few more comments:

      sschange wrote:

      > > I'm a bit surprised about the easiness with which formerly reliable
      > JFM
      > > now joins those who take Russian propaganda allegations,
      > distortions as
      > > well as deliberate, directed simplifications at face value. First,
      > > Basayev's and Raduyev's raids into Russian territory. It depends of
      > > course on the definition of "terrorism"
      >
      > the broad definition of of "terrorism" is direct actions against
      > civilians (hostage taking, killing etc)

      "Terrorism" is defined in different ways by different interested
      parties. E.g., the Russian propaganda defines *every* action by the
      Chechen Resistance, even military operations directed soleley against
      military personnel, as "terrorism" and "crime". They do this both for
      obvious propagandistic reasons (to sneak their genocidal campaign into
      the world-wide fight against terrorism) and because of their own
      problems with defining the events in Chechnya, which clearly constitute
      a *war* but which the Russian side in violation of its own constitution
      treats like a mix of external war and internal "police action", both
      illegal according to their own definitions. So "terrorism" comes in
      handy.
      "Webster's" defines terrorism quite shortly: "The systematic use of
      terror esp. as a means of coercion". Accordinng to this definition,
      neither Basayev's raid on Budyonnovsk nor Raduyev's raid on Kizlyar can
      be called "terrorist", since in both cases the harming of civilians
      happened due to the failure of some military operations and thus wasn't
      "systematic". They used civilians as human shields in a military action,
      which fulfills the definition of a "war crime" (according to the Geneva
      conventions which can be accessed on the web).
      IMO it is important to make these clear definitions, since the Russian
      side abuses the "terrorism" definition for its own political goals.
      Otoh, the actions of the Russian troops in Chechnya constitute "state
      terrorism", since they clearly aren't directed against the Chechen
      military in the first place but are spreading terror among the Chechen
      civilians as means of coercion. Political commentators shouldn't get
      away with deliberately confusing these things.

      > > I'm also a little disappointed that the JFM Monitor doesn't mention
      > who
      > > killed the civilians in connection with those raids. For those who
      > don't
      > > remember it, the text implies that it was Basayev's people. But in
      > fact
      > > the Basayevites didn't kill one single civilian
      >
      > I am doubtfull that you have any reliable sources to state it,
      > but if you do, please share them.

      As already mentioned, the list archive is full of descriptions of the
      events. Btw., that happened back then when there still was full media
      coverage of the events (the Russian side has learned that lesson in the
      meantime). You could watch the Russian interior forces shell the
      hospital with heavy machine guns and mortars live on TV. You could also
      watch Basayev and some of his hostages give live interviews inside the
      hospital. And finally, you could watch the Chernomyrdin Show, with the
      prime minister negotiating with Basayev, also on live TV.

      > > Raduyev's raid on Kizlyar was very similar, a copycat action in
      > which he
      > > tried to imitate Basayev. Here too, the civilian losses were due to
      > > indiscriminate Russian shelling.
      >
      > yes, but not only by them

      I haven't seen any credible (independent) source saying that Raduyev
      killed civilian hostages (btw., the Russian side counted killed
      so-called "policemen", i.e. members of the interior military forces, as
      "civilians"). What Raduyev did was taking hostages and fortifying
      himself in that unfortunate village, thus putting civilians in harm's
      way. But the civilians were killed by indiscriminate Russian shelling.
      This, too, was on live TV.

      > I am wondering how you will justify Basaev's Dagestan raid.
      > (as far as I know it gave cause for the beginning of "anti-terrorist
      > operation". Even if we define the previous military conflict as war,
      > at that time both sides were under condition of the truce, so
      > entering enemy's territory was casus belli (?) Am I right?

      If you had had a look at the archive, you would know that I never
      justified Basayev's Daghestan raid, and I never would. I called him a
      war criminal after Budyonnovsk and I see no reason to change that. Btw.,
      after Budyonnovsk, then Chechen president Johar Dudayev told the
      international press that Basayev would be court-martialed after the end
      of the war. As we know, Dudayev was murdered and things developed in
      another direction. But such was the political and legal situation at the
      time.

      I don't want to repeat the well-known facts about the "beginning of the
      'anti-terrorist operation'" once again. Just do a search for
      "Stepashin", and you'll find out that the man who was Putin's
      predecessor as KGB/FSB chief and prime minister was put in charge of
      organizing the reinvasion of Chechnya in April 1999, according to his
      own statemens to among others Western journalists. He himself stated the
      kidnapping of Gen. Shpigun (by, as it now seems, FSB-affiliated Chechen
      gangsters) as the "last straw" that led to the decision. Basayev's
      intrusion into Daghestan half a year later was thus just a pretext with
      regard to the concrete timing. As the world knows as well, this wasn't
      enough to prepare the Russian public for a war, so the KGB had to blow
      up the appartment blocks in Russia before the public hysteria was big
      enough.

      Best regards,
      Norbert
    • mariuslab2002
      ... -snip- He himself stated the kidnapping of Gen. Shpigun (by, as it now seems, FSB-affiliated Chechen gangsters) as the last straw that led to the
      Message 2 of 11 , Apr 2, 2002
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        --- In chechnya-sl@y..., Norbert Strade <nost@p...> wrote:

        -snip-

        He himself stated the kidnapping of Gen. Shpigun (by, as it now
        seems, FSB-affiliated Chechen gangsters) as the "last straw" that led
        to the decision.
        >
        -snip-

        > Best regards,
        > Norbert

        ----------------------------------------------------------------------

        Norbert,

        The kidnapping and the death of Gen. Shpigun is still very murky,
        it's really hard to grasp where is truth, lie or deception in this
        whole affair.
        Viacheslav Izmailov tries to shed some light on it in no. 19 issue of
        Novaya Gazeta.
        http://2002.novayagazeta.ru/nomer/2002/19n/n19n-s09.shtml

        Too bad, that this article hasn't been translated to English yet.

        Anyway, the only thing almost certain now is, that Shpigun was
        kidnapped by Baudi Bakuyev's people, who allegedly had also some
        connections with Arbi Barayev and the Akhmadovs brothers.

        If one goes back to our archives one can draw a whole set of
        speculations, that the kinapping was ordered by someone in Moscow
        (Berezovsky?), that Basayev and Khattab were involved in it, that
        someone wanted to avenge people who were tortured and killed in
        filtration camps (Shpigun was in charge of those camps in the first
        war), that Russian secret services with some Chechen did it and so on.

        Izmailov in his article writes that V. Rushailo (Minister of Interior)
        and his assistent Lieutenant General Orlov were not interested at all
        in any operation or some attempt to free Shpigun.
        The weirdest thing is when he writes that Shpigun's body got into
        Russian hands in exchange for treatment in Nalchik of Chechen
        commander Doku Umarov and who later was moved to Georgia. This is
        very weird indeed, because according to our archives his remains were
        found in forest near Itum Kale and had to be identified.

        Marius
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