01012000 From Witold: Yeltsin steps down in exchange for immunity from prosecution, and other...
- Yeltsin resignation was planned at least few days ago. The first clear sign was the
ceremony of awarding medals to the "heroes of Chechen war" and other candidates for the
Tribunal in Hague. Here, it was Yeltsin's last chance to thank and bribe those who will
remain in power, while he will become nothing more than the retired, former president of
It appears, that Yeltsin did step down "voluntarily", only after securing himself and
his "family" a wide range of immunities. Many say that Yeltsin started the second
Chechen war to divert attention of Russian public from ongoing financial scandal, in
which millions of dollars of western aid were diverted to foreign banks and private
accounts of various Russian dignitaries, and people connected to the "family", and to
the Yeltsin himself.
According to Reuters, "one of Putin's first acts as interim president was to issue a
decree guaranteeing Yeltsin and his family protection from prosecution -- a hot
political issue given opposition charges of corruption in the Kremlin and among
Yeltsin's entourage, known as ``The Family.'' "
For all practical reasons Yeltsin may feel protected as long, as Putin is in charge of
Russia. Putin is a presidential hopeful in upcoming election in Russia, scheduled to go
on in about three months. Indeed, starting the war in Chechnya was very effective in
quelling the public and international outcry over corruption and embezzling western aid
by Russian officials.
The war in Chechnya may have served another purpose, to put a smoke screen over entire
impeachment affair, in which Yeltsin have been challenged for --among other things-- his
crimes of the first Chechen war, whatever such charge defined at the time. Again,
thanks to the war --to which BEGINNING, without any doubt in my mind, some idiot
commanders gave plenty of reasons-- people forgotten that Yeltsin was the first Russian
president challenged (without much success) with an impeachment.
Some hope for a possible compromise in Chechnya, now, that Putin is in a full control.
Well, make no mistake for Putin will continue his deadly affair with Chechens for some
time yet. It is only one thing that may cause him change his mind, and it is the deadly
force that he will face in Chechnya every single day. Putin still needs to win an
election to which he needs a popular support, which he seems to have, thanks to a quick
offensive in Chechen flatlands. Putin needs to finish this was in order to continue his
popularity. At this point still he must come a victor if he hopes for a popular vote.
At the same time some incredible losses on Russian side may work in favor of some kind
of quick settlement with the face saving exit, which also would work in Putin's favor.
Let me add some personal note:
In this first day of the New Year I wish all Chechens strength, indifference to pain,
suffering, hunger, cold, Russian bullets, mines, bombs, and scuds.
I wish you my friends plenty of the dark gray and foggy days to protect you from the
deadly bombing raids of Russian planes. I wish you my friends of sudden surprise of
finding your close ones of which you have thought as missing. I wish those of you
trying escape from the hell of Grozny a true safe passage to safety.
I wish all people defending the freedom and independence of Chechnya that a day will
come when nations agree on your undeniable right to self determination, that this day
come quickly, that you survive to see such day.
May God give you a wisdom and strength to survive impossible and help you build your own
nation where secular society will respect universal freedom of religion, with equal
respect to all citizens of Chechnya and their individual safety.