WEDNESDAY JULY 15 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Stormclouds over the Caucasus
(2) Russia’s Ski Resort Time Bomb
(3) Putin’s Failed Policy in the Caucasus
(4) Teaching Russians about “Citizenship”
(5) Endless Russian Barbarism in Chechnya
(6) The Freedom that Russians Deserve
NOTE: Today we offer a special issue devoted to the total breakdown of Kremlin policy in the Caucasus region. As Amnesty International has found recently: “There has been and continues to be a total failure of political will to uphold the rule of law and address impunity for present and past abuses of human rights in the region.” Likewise, there has been and continues to be a total inability to subdue and pacify the rebelious citizens of the region, whose contempt for Russia rule is plain.
NOTE: Kim Zigfeld trashes Obama’s failed mission to Moscow, calling him a “white moderate,” in the latest installment of her American Thinker column. Ouch. AT also posts video of a line of Russians refusing to shake Obama’s hand. Double ouch. Welcome to Russia, Mr. Obama!
Stormclouds over the Caucasus
Today we offer a special issue devoted to documenting the horrific violence spreading throughout Russia’s Causasus region, sure and certain proof of two basic facts: The people there do not want to live under Russia rule, and the Kremlin does not have control of them. This means sending Olympic athletes to Russia in 2014, to the Caucaus region itself, is suicidal insanity — as we have said many times before. The world must stop this madness, and President Obama was grossly negligent not to have mentioned it in his recent visit to Moscow.
According to scholar Paul Goble, more than 300 people have been killed in just the first half of this year in Russia’s boiling Caucasus regions, including at least 60 civilians. We’ve already documented the shocking list of high-profile assassinations that have taken place in Ingushetia in recent weeks, so it should come as no surprise when Goble reports:
Mairbek Vatchagaev, writing on the Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Daily Monitor:
Today, the northwestern part of the North Caucasus region (comprised of the republics of Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachaevo-Cherkessia and Adygeya) is increasingly becoming one large battlefield. An affluent resort area during the Soviet period, today the region attracts very few Russian visitors, primarily due to its instability. According to the most optimistic estimates, tourist traffic to the world-renowned ski resort of Dombai in Karachaevo-Cherkessia alone declined by 70-90 percent last winter (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, December 31, 2008), and the number of foreign visitors substantially decreased. The summer season is unlikely to bring changes for the better, as the entire region is affected by the large-scale military drills that were conducted along the length of the border it shares with Georgia. Russian First Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Kolmakov described the current maneuvers as the largest in the area since the Soviet Union’s collapse (www.skavkaz.rfn.ru, May 19).
Valery Dzutsev, writing in the Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Daily Monitor:
The June 22 attack on Ingushetia’s president, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, which left him badly wounded, has sparked a discussion in Russia over what to do next in the North Caucasus as a whole and in Ingushetia in particular. Moscow’s initial reaction to the attack on president Yevkurov was to give the neighboring Chechen ruler Ramzan Kadyrov a free hand in Ingushetia. The idea was to use Kadyrov’s harsh techniques in Ingushetia in order to quell the resistance forces in the republic (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, June 23).
This move, however, produced a strongly negative reaction in Ingushetia. The Ingush opposition called for an extraordinary meeting of the Ingush People’s Congress with the main question on the agenda being to ask the Kremlin to appoint Ingushetia’s first president, Ruslan Aushev, as head of the republic (www.ingushetia.org, June 25). Aushev confirmed his willingness to serve as the interim head of the republic until the wounded Yevkurov recovers (Echo Moskvy radio, June 24).
Sergei Markedonov, head of the department of inter-ethnic relations at Russia’s Institute for Political and Military Analysis, and associate professor at RGGU and MGU, writing on Prague Watchdog:
With every day that passes, the socio-political situation in the North Caucasus increasingly gives grounds for alarming conclusions and prognostications. Possibly the only attempt in the past ten years to provide at least some kind of coherent interpretation of the North Caucasus crisis was made by President Dmitry Medvedev, who in June 2009 listed the region’s main problems, which he termed “systemic.” Among them he included unemployment, “a monstrous scale of corruption” and the inefficiency of government. As is often the case, the president’s “systemic” approach quickly became a fashion among Russian officials. Discussing the incident which took place in the Stepnovsky district of Stavropol on June 21 (a large-scale clash between Dargins and Nogays), the governor of Stavropol Kray said that “160 young people cannot have a personal dislike for each other … Specific individuals can have personal grievances, but when nearly two hundred people are involved it means there is a systemic problem.”
Human Rights Watch reports:
Russian federal and Chechen local authorities should immediately put a stop to the punitive house-burning and other human rights violations in Chechnya and bring those responsible to justice, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch has documented two new cases in Chechnya in which the homes of families related to suspected insurgents were torched by local law-enforcement officials as well as a public extrajudicial killing of a man suspected of providing food to insurgents.
On July 2, 2009, Human Rights Watch published a report, “‘What Your Children Do Will Touch Upon You’: Punitive House-Burning in Chechnya“, documenting a pattern of house burnings by security forces to punish families for the alleged involvement by their relatives in the insurgency.
“We have two more houses burned and at least one person killed just in the last couple of weeks,” said Tanya Lokshina, deputy Moscow director at Human Rights Watch. “It’s time for Russia’s leaders to take a clear stand against this kind of brutal collective punishment instead of looking like they endorse it.”
A letter to the editor of the Washington Post:
To the Editor:
The July 7 editorial “Moscow’s Fantasies” commented on “vital U.S. interests” involved in relations with Russia, but what about the vital interests of Russian citizens?