Medvedev the Broken Record
In our lead editorial today we comment on a fact that would be hilarious if it were not so horrifyingly tragic, namely the Kremlin’s claim that poverty is falling in Russia. It’s not the only such instance we can point to. In fact, in Russia these days, virtually every new development falls into this category.
Take for instance the farcical utterances of so-called “president” Dima Medvedev days ago, when he roared that the army of terrorists that has been besieging Russia north to south, east to west, must immediately “surrender or be destroyed.” We would laugh openly at the utterly nonsensical pronouncements of this ridiculous, ignorant, dishonest little man if it were not for the fact that we know so many Russians will surely suffer and perish as a result of his stupidity.
The New York Review of Books explains why the Putin regime is unable to protect Russian citizens from terrorism:
As the story of the horrific January 24 bombing at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport continues to unfold, the parallels with past major terrorist attacks in Russia are striking. It is not just the high number of casualties (36 dead and 160 wounded) and that the perpetrators appear to have come from the volatile North Caucasus. As with earlier such violence, there were also serious warning signs in advance that were ignored, and the immediate handling of the attack by the authorities was botched. Above all, the confusing and contradictory response of both the security agencies and Russia’s leadership has once again raised troubling questions about the Kremlin’s counter-terrorism policies.
Joshua Yaffa, writing on Foreign Policy, says that Russians brought the Domodedovo terrorist attack upon themselves:
For over a decade, suicide attacks have been a persistent and macabre feature of Russia’s battle with militants in the North Caucasus. The suicide bomber who took the lives of 35 people in the arrival hall of Moscow’s Domodedovo airport on Jan. 24 provided only the latest chapter in a dark history that, for many Russians, is also the history of Chechnya’s struggle for national self-determination. In reality, however, the violence is no longer political — for the residents of this troubled region, it has become something much more noxious and potentially unsolvable.
Under Vladimir Putin, whose rise to power was intertwined with Russia’s second invasion of Chechnya in October 1999, Moscow marginalized the nationalist, secular wing of the Chechen rebel movement. The conflict’s unapologetically violent extremists, inspired by the language of global jihad, filled the gap — allowing the Kremlin to plausibly claim that further negotiations were impossible. The current generation of militants is not motivated by the prospect of a realistic political settlement — unless the establishment of an Islamic “emirate” in the North Caucasus can be called realistic.
Russia’s Siamese Twin Idiots Come Unglued
“You can say that the case has on the whole been solved.”
– Vladimir Putin, February 3, 2010
“No one has a right to make an announcement about the solution of this crime.”
– Dmitri Medvedev, February 3, 2010
The horrifically successful bombing of Russia’s Domodedovo airport has caused the idiotic Siamese twins who rule the country to come unglued. It seems those who gave their lives at the airport did not do so in vain.
They are actually, openly contradicting each other. It’s sweet music to our ears.
Hero journalist Yelena Milashina, an investigative journalist for Novaya Gazeta, and a recipient of Human Rights Watch’s 2010 Alison Des Forges award for extraordinary activism, writing in The Wall Street Journal:
The terrorist attack at Domodedovo Airport last week, likely organized by Islamists from the North Caucasus, claimed 36 lives. Less than a year ago, 40 people died in the March bombing of the Moscow metro, also carried out by Chechen Islamists.
Prior to the metro attack there hadn’t been a bombing in Moscow for nearly six years. In summer 2004, militants acting on orders of Chechen leader Shamil Basayev organized a series of terrorist attacks in several cities. The culmination of these attacks was the seizure of a school in the small Ossetian city of Beslan in September 2004. When Russian troops stormed the school, 333 hostages died, including 186 children.
Appearing on YouTube, separatist leader Doku Umarov (above, center) has declared war on Russia, the city of Moscow, and Vladimir Putin. So much for a “pacified” Caucasus. Here’s one “bandit” still very much alive and kicking on his “toilet.” In fact, he’s spitting in Putin’s eye. (Anyone thinking this chap is bluffing best think again.)
After the jump, the full English text of his remarks, provided by an LR reader (corrections appreciated).
NOTE: We cannot but express our outrage at YouTube for daring to remove this vital historical document from its virtual pages, apparently in response to Kremlin-sponsored pressure. The above is at least the second posting of the video and we cannot say how long it will last. To censor this material is an offense against basic principels of democracy and YouTube should be ashamed.
Vladimir Kara-Murza, writing on World Affairs Journal:
Another year, another terrorist attack in Russia. On January 24, a suspected suicide bomber detonated an explosive device in the arrivals zone at Domodedovo, Moscow’s busiest airport. Thirty-five people were killed and more than a hundred were injured. As Vladimir Putin prepares for this year’s parliamentary “elections” and a possible return to the Kremlin in 2012, his “pacification” of the North Caucasus has once again been proven a failure. Not that more proof was needed after last year’s attack on Lubyanka metro station – literally under the nose of the FSB, Russia’s Federal Security Service.
Most people are more than willing to complain on the Internet or in their kitchens that Medvedev has little chance of succeeding in his fight against corruption. But at the same time, given the chance, they would eagerly snatch a piece of the corruption pie that comes their way. This is exactly why an increasing number of Russians would like to have a government job for themselves and their children. Polls over the last 10 years consistently show that young people entering universities view government jobs as being the most promising — and lucrative, despite the low official salaries.
You may think, if you are a crazed Russian nationalist or Russophile lunatic, that it was some evil Western “russophobe” who wrote those words, but it wasn’t. It was Kirill Kabanov, a Russian and chairman of the National Anti-Corruption Committee, a Moscow-based nongovernmental organization.
And he was stating fact that has been proven scientifically by organizations like Transparency International, namely that Russia is the most corrupt major nation on this planet, at all levels of society, from top to bottom.
Last week, the world saw the devastating consequences of this paralyzing corruption when yet another bomb exploded in Moscow, killing three dozen and injuring nearly two hundred more — this time inside one of the nation’s leading airports. Unable to respond with anything more than palpably corrupt neo-Soviet denunciations, Putin’s Russia was exposed for that fraud we have long known it to be.
Remember how dangerous it is for any Russian to criticize the Putin regime over Chechnya, as best illustrated by the murders of Anna Politkovskaya, Natalia Estemirova and Stanislav Markelov, a recent interview by Boris Nemtsov is truly breathtaking in its courage. Paul Goble reports:
The North Caucasus at the present time is “our Palestine,” Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov says, the result of the deal between Vladimir Putin and Ramzan Kadyrov in which the former has purchased the loyalty of the latter for cash and at the price of allowing the Chechen leader and his minions to do what they like throughout Russia.
If Russia is to escape from this dilemma, Nemtsov said in the course of an online press conference, several steps are necessary because as the Manezh violence shows the problems of that region are no longer confined to it but rather spreading throughout Russian society.
Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:
There are two reasons for the outbreak of ultranationalist violence in Russia. The first is Caucasus fascism, which is a serious problem for Russia in the same way that Islamic fascism is for the West.
Chechnya is taking revenge on Russia for the war and genocide the Kremlin has waged against it over the past 20 years and beyond. That revenge has taken the form of lawlessness and violence on Moscow’s streets.
Recall the recent incident at Moscow’s Yevropeisky shopping center when a security guard refused entry to an armed 32-year-old man from the Chechen city of Shali. The man later returned with a group of friends and beat the guards with baseball bats.
Human Rights Watch reports:
“Even in the 90s at the time of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria it wasn’t as bad as it is now. After all I didn’t wear a headscarf then and, though the keepers of public morals would sometimes pounce on you, they kept their hands to themselves. You could say to them ‘What’s it got to do with you? I’ve got a father and brothers, so who are you to give me orders?’ They didn’t want problems, so they’d back off. But now you don’t know where to hide. They have the power and the strength and they’re everywhere.”
The pretty young woman in a straight, well-fitting skirt and crisp light-coloured blouse gestures helplessly.
“It’s so humiliating, but you have no other option – you have to put on the headscarf. If, say, they hit you, and that’s not unlikely, then your brothers won’t be able to leave it at that. They’ll have to take action against the aggressors, who will just kill them. You dress according to their rules not so much out of fear for yourself, but to protect your family.”
In June Madina and her friend were fired at from a paintball gun.
Blood on the Olympic Snows of Sochi?
Last week in the city of Vladikavkaz, capital of North Ossetia and just 250 short miles from Sochi where the 2014 Winter Olympics are to be held, a bomb exploded in a marketplace, injuring at least 173 people. Seventeen people, and the suicide bomber who triggered the blast, were killed. Rioting followed, and even more were killed.
If it can happen in Vladikavkaz, it can happen in Sochi. If it does, world leaders who send their athletes to the Russian games will have blood on their hands.
Putin’s Failure in Chechnya and the 2014 Olympics
Worry is rising over the risk of terrorism at Russia’s 2014 Winter Olympics. Last week’s deadly attack on a hydroelectric station in Russia’s deep south only added to the concern. The number of attacks in the predominantly Muslim North Caucasus was up 57 percent last year, and unlike the Chechen wars of 1994–2001, these killings have been the work of a bewildering array of rebel groups, some motivated by radical Islam but others by separatism or clan warfare.
The Kremlin keeps pouring money and firepower into the region, and it’s backfiring. In Chechnya and Dagestan, the human-rights group Memorial has reported a sickening history of nighttime kidnappings, rapes, and extrajudicial killings by -government-backed death squads. A senior police source in Dagestan says local clans, many of them linked to law enforcement, are encouraging the violence, seeking to bring down more chaos on rival clans. Somehow Moscow needs to break the cycle of violence—or face the possibility of trouble at the 2014 Games in Sochi, less than 200 miles from last week’s attack, in the foothills of the Caucasus.
– Newsweek magazine, 7/24/10
The Caucasus rebels grow bolder and bolder, the failure of Vladimir Putin’s policies in the region grows ever clearer and more complete. And the world, finally, is getting wise to the insanity of allowing the 2014 games to push forward in this environment.
Just two weeks ago, we reported on a sensational direct attack on Ramzan Kadyrov in broad daylight in the capital of Chechnya.
Then last week, for the first time the Kremlin was forced to admit that an electric power station had been bombed and critically damaged by rebel fighters. Instead of declining as Vladimir Putin promised it would, violence in the Caucasus region is escalating dramatically with every passings day. And the threat to the games grows ever more dire.
Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Konstantin Preobrazhenskiy, a former KGB agent who became one of the KGB’s harshest critics. He is the author of seven books about the KGB and Japan. His new book is KGB/FSB’s New Trojan Horse: Americans of Russian Descent.
FP: Konstantin Preobrazhenskiy, welcome back to Frontpage Interview.
I would like to talk to you today about Putin’s war on Chechnya, which we don’t really hear about much these days. Has Russia succeeded in stifling the Chechens? Fill us in on the latest developments.
Preobrazhenskiy: Thanks Jamie.
Caucasus Rebels, getting Bolder by the Minute
They are getting bolder by the minute. Why, it’s almost like Shamil Basayev were still calling the shots.
Last week a bomb ripped through a security cordon outside a theater in Grozny, Chechnya. Inside was the regional dictator and homicidal lunatic Ramzan Kadyrov himself, watching a show. Next time, the local rebels were obviously saying, the bomb will be inside the theater and Kadyrov (and his cadres) will be dead.
So much for Kadyrov having pacified the Caucasus rebels.
Eternal Values: A Breakdown in Communiciation
April 9, 2010
by Maya Kucherskaya
Translated from the Russian by LR Staff
As always, corrections to the English text are Welcome
The investigation into the terrorist attacks in the Moscow metro is in full swing. Already well known are the names and ages of the suicide bombers, their resumes, and whose wives they were.
One was a girl 17 years old. At 16 she’d left home to be with her beloved, a famous rebel fighter, who she first met on the Internet. Then she married him and shared his life, waiting for him at home after his military operations, greeted and fed him. That is, she did so until he was killed in battle. Along with that man, who was her reason for being, all meaning went out of her life. She had nothing left except her love for him, and en empty soul. She had no family, no education, no life experience, so what was she to do? As she saw it, her only alternative was to meet him again in the afterlife. It was not difficult for her to meet her end with enthusiasm, knowing that she was doing the will of Allah and avenging her beloved. The sooner the better! The warlords unflinchingly took advantage of the young girl’s desperation.
The second female bomber, 28-year-old Maryam Sharipova, was in no way similar to the first.
Russian Failure in Ossetia and Chechnya
Two reports last week highlighted the increasing humiliation Russia is experiencing in the Caucasus region.
First, Russia was left fuming with egg on its face when the Council of Europe adopted a draft resolution condemning barbarous Russian atrocities in Chechnya, and did so in the presence of infamous Chechen freedom fighter Akhmed Zakayev. Once again, Russians were forced to confront their government’s utter failure in foreign policy in Europe, and forced to face the shame of having their wanton criminal behavior in the Caucasus exposed before a slack-jawed world.
And then came the news that Ossetia has already been declared a failed state.
Russia sinks to a Pathetic new Low
Vladimir Putin’s neo-Soviet KGB state sank to a shocking new low last week when it turned to public advertisements on the Internet to locate an attorney to defend it from a burgeoning onslaught of lawsuits in the European Court for Human Rights, suits which Russia routinely loses at great financial and public relations cost.
Is Putin’s Russia really so absolutely incompetent, clueless, and friendless, that the only way it can find competent lawyers is by advertising for them as if it were any other helpless company adrift on the legal seas? Are there really no lawyers employed by the Kremlin itself who could be called upon to do battle in the courtrooms of Strasbourg?
It is that clueless, and there are no such persons. Russian “law schools” exist in name only, since the very definition of “law” is unheard of in Putin’s Russia. Russians simply have no idea whatsoever how to behave in a real Western courtroom where judges cannot be bribed and government edicts have no force.
Human Rights Watch reports:
The Russian government should closely examine evidence gathered by the Austrian government which indicates the president of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, ordered the kidnapping last year of a Chechen refugee in Vienna, Human Rights Watch said today. The refugee, Umar Israilov, died as a result of gunshot wounds inflicted by his assailants.
On April 27, 2010, the Austrian prosecutor’s office announced that, following a year-long investigation into Israilov’s murder, the country’s federal counterterrorism agency had concluded that Israilov had been killed as a result of a botched kidnapping, which was allegedly ordered by Kadyrov. All three suspected kidnappers are in custody in Austria, awaiting indictment by the prosecutor’s office. Kadyrov has denied any involvement in the crime.
Paul Goble reports:
Tomorrow, the Chechen authorities will celebrate the first anniversary of the end of the Russian “counter-terrorist operation” (KTO) there not because Chechnya has become less violent during the intervening months – it hasn’t – but rather because the end of the KTO formalized Moscow’s deference to Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. In a commentary in advance of that date, Sergey Markedonov, one of Moscow’s most thoughtful commentator on the North Caucasus, notes that “the republic powers that be [in Chechnya] consider [the end of the KTO] as virtually the main achievement of the last decade” because of the shift in power it represents.
But both because the violence in Chechnya continues – indeed, according to some measures, Markedonov says, it has increased – and because violence has spread not only to other parts of the North Caucasus and into central Russia as well, many in Moscow are asking whether the central Russian government ended the KTO there too soon. Answering that question, Markedonov continues, is not as simple as it might appear. On the one hand, the lifting of the KTO in Chechnya reflected the reality that the target of the KTO was “separatist terrorism” which over the last several years, particularly after Beslan, has been largely displaced by the Islamist kind.
Today, the Moscow analyst says, “terrorist acts are committed on the territory of Chechnya” just as they were before, but now “it is hardly possible on this basis to consider Chechnya a more dangerous place than Ingushetia or Daghestan” or even hitherto quieter places like Kabardino-Balkaria. Consequently, he argues, “a return to the KTO regime in Chechnya would scarcely change the situation in a radical way both in various North Caucasus subjects and in the Russian capital,” a disquieting Markedonov says those who advocate doing so need to take into consideration.
The "other" Sharipova
Ace Russia reporter Megan Stack, writing in the Los Angeles Times:
The last time Patimat Magomedova saw her daughter, she was puttering around the house, manicuring her nails and using henna to dye her hair bright red.
It’s high time we take care of the garden, the mother remembers Mariyam Sharipova saying that Friday. Let’s plant raspberries, cucumbers, greens. And we have to do something about the kitchen, maybe get some pretty new dishes. By evening, the young woman had vanished from the house in this remote mountain village in the Russian republic of Dagestan. Magomedova didn’t see her daughter’s face again until somebody showed her a photograph of a severed head. At that moment, she said, “I knew there was no mistake.”
Sharipova, 27, had traveled a thousand miles to Moscow and climbed onto a crowded subway train at rush hour with an explosives-packed belt strapped around her waist. She was accompanied by a 17-year-old girl, also from Dagestan, who blew herself up at another station.
In the Russian news media, the women were immediately dubbed “black widows.” Their assault on the subway was taken as proof that the country had been shuttled back to the fearsome days when hollow-eyed female militants stalked Moscow and other cities far from the wars where their men fought Russian forces.
Posted in chechnya, russia
Marsha Karp, reporting on Rights in Russia:
I first met Akhmed Zakaev in February 2005 when he was President Maskhadov’s envoy and was taking part in talks, under the auspices of the European Union, with a group from the Soldiers’ Mothers’ Committee of Russia, who came to London to negotiate an end to the bloodshed in Chechnya. A Memorandum outlining a way forward was signed, but less than two weeks later Aslan Maskhadov was killed and the plan came to nothing. After the deadly attacks on the Moscow underground trains on 29th March, and the following explosions in Dagestan, I asked Zakaev, now Head of the Ichkeria government in exile, for an interview.
MK: Who is behind the latest attacks?
Akhmed Zakaev: It is difficult to give a simple answer. We can only analyse these events and compare them with the terrorist attacks that have taken place in Russia over the last ten years since Putin came to power. All the major terrorist attacks, or rather mass murders, that have taken place in Russia have inevitably been followed by reforms of one kind or another, whether political, social or economic.
Chechnya II, The Wrath of Maskhadov
No, you can’t get away! From hell’s heart, I stab at thee! For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee!
–Ricardo Montalban as Khan to William Shatner as Kirk in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” (1982)
The Wrath of Maskhadov
Just before he was killed in March 2005 by Russian security forces, Chechnya’s top warlord Aslan Maskhadov stated: “Unless the war in Chechnya is stopped quickly, it will spread outwards. In fact, it has been spreading for some time now. Today fighting can be seen in Daghestan, Kabardino-Balkaria, Ossetia, Ingushetia, and Karachayevo-Cherkessia.”
Though Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has made claims to the contrary, the war was not stopped quickly, and it did spread — just as Maskhadov said it would. Just as the killing of Said Buryatsky did not stop, but rather increased, terrorist activity in and around Moscow, the killing of Maskhadov did not quell, but rather expanded, secessionist activity in the Caucasus region. Just as Obi Wan Kenobi only became more powerful when struck down by Darth Vader, Maskhadov has risen from the ashes to spit at Russia over and over again. Surely, he is laughing with glee at the failed polices of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.
The New York Times reports:
Writing on Market Oracle Eric Margolis, author and contributing foreign editor for Sun National Media Canada, writes that Chechnya must be free:
There is an old saying about the fierce Chechen tribes who inhabit southern Russia’s Caucasus mountains: “Chechen cannot ever be defeated. They can only be killed.”
Chechen are Russia’s nemesis. Even the notoriously brutal Russian mafia fears the ferocious Chechen, and for good reason.
Last year, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin proudly proclaimed that resistance to Russian rule in the North Caucasus had been eliminated. The region was pacified.
Confounding Putin’s claim, Chechen suicide bombers hit Moscow’s subway last week, killing 39 and injuring over 70. Chechen suicide bombers in Dagestan killed twelve, mostly policemen. There were further attacks in neighboring Dagestan. The North Caucasus was again at a boil.
The attacks seriously rattled Russians and left the Kremlin deeply embarrassed and enraged.
Frontpagemag reports (hat tip: reader “Robert”):
The Chechen Islamist Doku Umarov has claimed responsibility for the March 29 subway bombings in Moscow that killed at least 40 people. Putin and the Russian government have vowed to hunt down those responsible for the attacks. The target of the beating of the war drums isn’t only Chechen Islamists, though. For months, Russian officials have been blaming Georgia for terrorist violence on their soil, setting the stage to remove the Saakashvili government and control Georgia.
In 2008, Russia went to war with Georgia under the pretext of protecting the Russian minority in the country from the aggressive Georgian military. The Russian forces took control of South Ossetia and Abkhazia using this excuse, and the two republics have since declared “independence” while remaining under Russian control. Since then, Russia has continually expressed opposition to the government of Mikheil Saakashvili and his removal is a clear goal.