Putin’s Chechen Chickens, Roosting
With every day that passes it becomes more and more clear that the centerpiece of Vladimir Putin’s claim to fame, pacifying Chechnya, is all smoke and mirrors.
On November 2nd, a small bomb went off in Russia’s breakaway province of Ingushetia. When police responded in force, a larger explosion occurred and seven officers were injured. Once again, the Russians had fallen for the trap. The Times of India reported: “‘Many policemen resign. Why should they risk their lives for 200 dollars a month? Everyone is afraid,’ said an official who oversees finances at the regional Interior Ministry, speaking under condition of anonymity.”
Just days before, the Ingushetian rebels had forced the Putin regime to withdraw its handpicked puppet ruler of the region, Murat Zyazikov, and “spontaneous dancing broke out in the streets.” Vladimir Putin’s policies in the region have resulted in total failure, not only in terms of managing Ingushetia from within but also in terms of denying the rebels incentives to rise up based on Russia’s foreign policy. The Kremlin’s demand of freedom for Ossetia and Abkhazia from Georgian rule is viewed in Ingushetia as a blank check to revolution. In a clear indication of this failure, Zyazikov is being replaced with a military dictator.
And we report today on a massive suicide bombing attack last week, perhaps Chechen-instigated, in the heart of Russia’s newly annexed province of Ossetia.
Though Putin claims to have pacified and rebuilt Chechnya, the Kremlin’s policy of denying foreign journalists the right to travel in the country without chaperones belies this claim. As Radio Free Europe reports: “Nine years and thousands of destroyed lives later, Chechnya remains a bleak and desolate place, its cemeteries filled with fresh graves, evidence of the war still visible amid the Potemkin villages hastily erected by the local strongman, Ramzan Kadyrov, to impress the occasional visitor. ” In fact, not only has Chechnya itself not been resolved, it is now spreading the contagion of revolution throughout the region, most pointedly in Ingushetia.
Outbreaks of violence in Ingushetia this year are twice what they were last year. The Times of India reports:
Memorial, one of Russia’s leading human rights groups, links the surge in attacks to abductions and summary executions by the Federal Security Service, the successor to the Soviet KGB. “The methods have evolved over time. After criticism from NGOs and the media, kidnappings have dropped since mid-2007,” said Timur Akiyev, a regional representative of Memorial. “Now we have seen an increase in extra-judicial executions. The ‘suspects’ are eliminated on the spot.” In a typical operation, an armoured vehicle arrives in a village carrying a group of masked men who kill their “target,” Akiyev said, citing testimony from dozens of witnesses. The dead man is later described as a “fighter” killed in a shootout even though he was often unarmed, the Memorial representative said. “Elimination is certainly simpler but less effective, since people no longer see it as just a blunder,” he said. Activists say such tactics only fuel the insurgency, pushing enraged young people to join the rebels in an impoverished region where they lack other opportunities, given unemployment of more than 50 percent.
Barbarism, in other words, breeds barbarism. Putin’s KGB thugs have denied Russia the high moral ground, and in fact conceded it to the rebels, who now have the legal precedent of Ossetia on their side as well.