EDITORIAL: Russia’s Caucasus Policy comes Unwound

EDITORIAL

The Caucasus are Burning

Sure, the friends of democracy are getting liquidated in Josef Stalin’s Vladimir Putin’s Russia left and right, and the homicidal Kadyrov regime is openly threatening more reprisals.  Indeed, they make no effort to hide their crimes because they know they have the Kremlin’s blessing.   But if you think the only people getting killed in the Caucasus these days are Putin’s enemies, think again.

On Monday, a massive suicide bomb attack in Nazran, Ingushetia left as many as 100 dead and wounded.  Over the course of the prior four daystwelve Russian police officers had been wiped out in Dagenstan and Chechnya, together with nearly as many civilians.  The anti-Russian rebels in these regions liquidate Russian cops with the same impunity that the Kremlin strikes down human rights advocates, and with far greater frequency. Prague Watchdog reports that Caucasus rebels are moving freely and acting with impunity throughout the region.

Just one policeman getting shot in a Western city is huge, front-page news.  But in Russia, cops getting killed (and by revoluationary insurrectionists, yet) is hardly enough to raise an eyebrow.  Not that these things get reported on Russian TV much, of course, except when the Kremlin wants to whip up public hysteria to support yet another vicious bloodletting.  And good luck finding any criticism of the regime’s obviously and utterly failed policies on any major Russian media.

With Russia experiencing the worst quarterly recession in its history last month, the economy contracting a stunning 10.9%, it’s clear now that both of the pillars on which the Putin regime rested, peace in Chechnya and economic recovery, have crumbled and collapsed.  The policy in Chechnya has led to the de facto independence of Chechnya, with Kadyrov doing whatever he likes and the Kremlin seemingly powerless to stop him. “President” Medvedev can no more remove Kadyrov from Chechnya than he can remove Vladimir Putin from the White House.   Yet how many thousands of Russian soldiers and civilians gave their lives to keep Chechnya part of Russia?

And Kadyrov is slowing losing his grip.  Rebel forces strike not only police but high-ranking government officials whenever they want, whereever they want, and Kadyrov can do nothing but lash out against defenseless human rights advocates.

Putin is a failure in every way. How long before Russians realize that fact?

18 responses to “EDITORIAL: Russia’s Caucasus Policy comes Unwound

  1. Growing Economy + Peace = Citizens stay out of politics . That is a common view on the Russian political system but what about having 2 nuclear subs off the US east Coast that is military power and a strong Russia makes the people feel good but when one of those subs turns Kursk it could spell trouble or would they just keep it secret I do not know . A war with Georgia would be a real morale boast everyone said Russia is still a super power they went toe to toe with a country with half its territory in Russian hands already or puppets hands controlled by Russian Tsar Putin . As for Kadyrov I think he may turn on Putin as it becomes more clear that Putin cannot pay his tribute to Ramzan he is after all a former rebel and if you switched sides once why not do it when the situation is best for you. I have been a Putin hater for years and I think his Anti-Democratic way are coming back to huant him if Dokka Umarov said we need democracy and rule of law (and no more legal NIHILISM) maybe he would be seen as a moderate and get some wesern aid (I hope he gets some already) . Chechnya worse conditions then the rest of russia it reasons any anti-GOV activities would start there and spread you watch it will happen .

  2. Once we accept that Russian government (whether it’s Putin or Medvedev) has as much power in Northern Caucasus as Abbas’ Palestinian Authority has in Gaza (in other words, none) – the analysis of events in that region becomes much easier.

    Policemen are shot in similar areas quite frequently – four policemen were shot dead in Baluchistan – similarly quazi-independent area of Pakistan. And I am sure, cops’ deaths in Somali or Kongo (countries similar to Russia by the level of lawlessness) don’t make headline news, either.

    The bottom line, Kims have ruled North Korea, Asads have ruled Syria, and Husseins would have ruled Iraq for half-century. Kadyrov will rule Chechnya, and if anarchy will continue may as well rule Ingushetia and Dagestan as well.

  3. Who did it? Well why, the United States and Britain, including Israel:

    Ingush President Yevkurov, who is recovering from injuries inflicted when his motorcade was targeted in a suicide bombing on June 22, said Monday that insurgents were trying to raise their profile with attacks in Ingushetia and other parts of the North Caucasus. He suggested that Western countries had the most to benefit from the attacks. “I am far from thinking that Arabs are behind all of this,” he said on Russian News Service radio. “We understand who is interested: the United States and Britain. Including Israel. It is quite real.”
    http://www.moscowtimes.ru/article/600/42/380906.htm

    @On Monday, a massive suicide bomb attack in Nazran, Ingushetia left as many as 100 dead and wounded.

    More like over 150:

    “Officials said 20 officers were killed instantly and 138 more were wounded; the death toll is expected to rise.”
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125049715550536259.html

    @Over the course of the prior four days, twelve Russian police officers had been wiped out in Dagenstan and Chechnya

    What an understimate! Actually at least 12, only some are reported. Also this report was from August 14 and two days passed since then. So for example:

    Two police dead after fresh attacks in south Russia

    MAKHACHKALA, August 15 (RIA Novosti) – Two officers injured in separate attacks on police posts in Dagestan’s capital on Saturday have died, a security official in the volatile southern Russian republic said.
    http://en.rian.ru/russia/20090815/155817597.html

    @The gunmen then entered the sauna complex a short distance away and killed seven women who worked there, in a rare attack on unarmed civilians.

    Apparently they were prostitutes (and “health center” or “sauna” are Itar-Speak for a brothel). So now they’re shooting hookers in Dag and alcohol vendors in Ingushetia (after warnings, and by “warnings” I mean burning their shops repeatedly – there were also Internet warnings to “sauna owners” according to WSJ). Not cool, man. What next? Homosexuals? Ones of a different religion? People with a lisp? The United States and Britain, including Israel?

  4. WSJ:

    The bombing was the deadliest in the region since a raid on Nazran in June 2004, when militants took control of the city for a night, killing 90 people, many of them police officers or officials.

    Lately rebels have avoided such large-scale attacks, and instead have stuck to bombings and hit-and-run shootings that, while not as sensational as the 2004 raid, have taken a steady toll on police and officials.

    Emil Pain, an adviser to former President Boris Yeltsin in the first Russian-Chechen war [more like “the one who advised Yelstin to not go there at all”, actually], said the Kremlin is hard-pressed to find a solution for the rising violence in the regions adjacent to Chechnya, in part because it has never fought a war there and hasn’t forged the right relationships.

    Russian troops fought two bloody wars inside Chechnya itself before the Kremlin selected a former rebel, Ramzan Kadyrov, now president, to lead a Chechen militia against the insurgency.

    The “Chechenization” of the war was a turning point for Russia: Mr. Kadyrov’s militia has been accused of massive human-rights violations by groups such as Helsinki Group and Human Rights Watch, but it has effectively crushed opposition in the republic by enlisting veteran rebels to kill other rebels.

    “Now the problem is to decide what to do outside Chechnya,” said Mr. Pain. The Kremlin, he said, has few locals it can trust in Ingushetia and Dagestan. If it sends more federal troops into the regions it will likely lead to more fighting, “and that is something nobody wants.”

    (…)

    After a sniper killed four police officers in random shootings in the past few days, residents in the regional capital of Makhachkala said police stopped manning several checkpoints around the city over the weekend.

    Police denied the rumor, saying officers were on duty but were wearing civilian clothes in order to avoid being picked off by rebels.

    • Mission Accomplished:

      While in Dagestan’s capital policemen are afraid to work in uniform, the Ingush Interior Ministry was fired and the whole ministry decimated (much of the capital department eliminated):

      President Dmitry Medvedev said the attack could have been avoided and dismissed Ingush Interior Minister Ruslan Meiriyev.

      Medvedev also ordered Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev to undertake “additional measures to bring the necessary order in the Ingush Interior Ministry” and to come up with suggestions on the “strengthening of the republican Interior Ministry’s personnel,” the Kremlin said.

      http://www.moscowtimes.ru/article/600/42/380906.htm

      Dunno, conscript some? Send even more Russians? (Even right now most of the police there is from the Russia proper republics.)

  5. On, and btw (the WSJ article),

    “killing 20 police officers at their morning roll call and wounding more than 130 people in the most costly rebel attack in Russia’s troubled Caucasus region in five years.”

    is wrong.

    They seem to be forgetting things like this 2007 attack by the agents of “the United States and Britain, including Israel”:

    “One Mi-8 Hip transport helicopter was downed by automatic rifle fire as it approached the target area, killing everyone on board [20 Spetsnaz] in what is apparently the second-deadliest attack on a federal helicopter in Chechnya in recent years, after the downing of a heavy Mi-26 Halo helicopter August 19, 2002, in which 127 on board were killed.”
    http://en.rian.ru/russia/20070427/64568530.html

    and maybe especially:

    “In 2005, a large group of militants staged an assault on Nalchik, capital of Russia’s southern republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, targeting the city’s main police and security bodies. Some 15 civilians, 35 police and 95 assailants were killed in the attacks.”
    http://en.rian.ru/russia/20090602/155150397.html

    Note: Many of the RIAN’s “95 assailants” were actually also civilians. About this:

    After a group of Chechen rebels took about 700 people hostage in a Moscow theater in October 2002, an enraged Putin called for a harsh new anti-terrorist law. Among the provisions of the new law, the corpses of terrorists will not be returned to their relatives for burial. The relatives of the terrorists killed in Moscow and at the school in Beslan, North Ossetia, in September 2004 had no choice but to accept the policy. In Chechnya, if government agents kill a militant, his relatives try to get his body through bribery.

    But now the body-disposal issue has reached a fever pitch in Kabardino-Balkaria. The problem has two aspects. First, relatives of confirmed participants cannot accept the idea that they will never see the bodies and graves of their loved ones. Second, and more heartbreaking, the authorities classified innocent civilians killed in the crossfire as rebels, so their corpses will not be released either.

    The authorities appear to be using the corpses of bystanders to inflate the number of “insurgents” killed in the raid. Putin claims that 93 gunmen were killed and 40 arrested in Nalchik (newru.com, November 2).

    The official body count began to rise immediately following Putin’s order to eliminate all of the attackers in Nalchik and seal the city. However, this order came around 1 pm, when most of the rebels had already escaped. Chechen warlord Shamil Basaev, who masterminded the operation in Nalchik, issued a statement saying that the rebels attacked military and police facilities at 9:14 am and finished the operation by 11:15 am (Kavkazcenter, October 15). Independent sources, eyewitnesses, and journalists confirmed this timeline.

    Regnum news agency (October 13) reported that the situation in the center of Nalchik had started to normalize by noon. Jamestown sources in Kabardino-Balkaria also said that gunfire moved to the city outskirts in the afternoon and became significantly less intense (see EDM, October 14). There were some pockets of resistance left in the city, but not more than 10 wounded militants who could not retreat.

    It seems improbable that the number of dead rebels — only 20 by noon according to officials — could jump to 61 in just two hours and then to more than 90 by the next morning (grani.ru, October 17). Izvestiya reported that while many of the dead looked like guerillas who hide in the mountains should look: with sunburned faces and muddy hands, other victims looked quite civilized, with white socks and clean clothes (Izvestiya, October 17). Many analysts have concluded that the “militants” in clean clothes were really innocent civilians.

    Numerous stories are circulating about civilians killed in crossfire and then labeled as gunmen. Arsen Kanokov, president of Kabardino-Balkaria, told Novaya gazeta (October 31) that there were 20 civilians among the dead whom the authorities had classified as rebels. Fatima Tlisova from Associated Press reported about a list of 40 persons who were accidentally killed in the fighting, but this is also not the final count. Azret Mechukov, the chief forensic expert of Kabardino-Balkaria, told Moskovsky komsomolets that there were only 28 gunmen in the city’s morgue by October 14 (Moskovsky komsomolets, October 15).

    On October 21, the authorities announced that they had identified the bodies of 26 rebels, while the other 10 were so burned that DNA testing would be necessary. Yet at the same time, the officials declared they had 87 unidentified corpses in the morgue (Kavkazsky Uzel, October 21). This statement was made eight days after the raid, but even now there is no information about the pace of the identification process. It looks suspicious, especially, as journalist Anna Politkovskaya told Ekho Moskvy radio, the corpses were not refrigerated and rapidly decomposing (Ekho Moskvy, October 29).

    It seems likely that the 26 identified rebels and the 10 burned bodies were actual insurgents. The 10 were the wounded rebels who could not leave the city; Special Forces destroyed their hiding places and with flame-throwers and grenades. Together this accounts for 36 rebels killed in the raid, and if the one gunman who was taken prisoner is added the total is 37 rebels — exactly the number of rebel casualties confirmed by the insurgency (Kavkazcenter, October 24).

    But if the real number of insurgents is only 37, who are the other dead? The most logical answer is that the others are civilians labeled as rebels to allow Russian troops to claim victory in Nalchik on October 13. Under this scenario it is understandable why the authorities have stored the corpses in refrigerators without electricity. They need to make the corpses unrecognizable as soon as possible.

  6. So, do you really still think the Olympics will be safe…?

    • It’s still nothing in KK (as it always been) and it’s still several years until 2014.

      But this summer there are new and troubling trends in the insurgency:
      -return of the shahid bombings (before this there were only 2 since 2004)
      -selective targeting of local unarmed civilians for murder
      -all the statements about how they’re totally not cool with the idea of democracy and the Americans and British and especially Israel.

      But hey, who knows what these foreign agents of “the United States and Britain, including Israel” will be like by 2014? Certainly not me, but I’m not the one to panic over this and scream “it will be a suicide [bombing]!”.

  7. Activists, Reporters Leaving Chechnya

    http://www.moscowtimes.ru/article/600/42/380876.htm

    Ingush leader accuses West of seeking to destabilize Caucasus

    http://en.rian.ru/russia/20090817/155832917.html

  8. Rights groups say arrests, torture and killings by security forces under Zyazikov helped swell the ranks of rebels in Ingushetia, one of Russia’s poorest regions.

    “This is a big blow to the Kremlin,” said Tatyana Lokshina, an activist with Human Rights Watch who travels regularly to the region. “The number of attacks has been growing for a while, but I can’t remember one as brazen as this,” she told Reuters.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/aug/17/russia-truck-bomb-ingushetia-nazran

    “The fight for independence in Chechnya, which takes its roots in the 19th century, has spilled over to Ingushetia with the thousands of Chechen refugees that crossed the border during the 1994 and 1999 wars,” said Robert Parsons. “That — in addition to high unemployment, dire poverty and widespread hatred the predominantly Muslim population feels towards corrupt and brutal authorities — make it very easy for insurgent groups to recruit new fighters. Kids will join rebel groups just to get off the streets or take revenge for abuse a family member was subjected to.”

    “Russian authorities are in a blind alley,” said Parsons. “Everything the Kremlin has tried over the years to ‘stabilize’ the Caucasus region has failed.”

    http://www.france24.com/en/20090817-scores-killed-ingushetia-police-station-bombing-russia-caucasus-conflict-islam

  9. Five members of a Russian family living in Pervomayskoe was killed on Monday night. Pervomayskoe is a village northwest of Grozny, within sight of the Grozny suburbs, and the village was predominantly Russian-inhabited before the Russian wars against Chechnya.

    The victims were a 62-year-old local resident Veronica Kalinichenko, her 25 year-old son Alex, her 20 year-old daughter Antonina, and two of their relatives – Maria and Dmitry Kryuchkov. Two young children survived the attack. The perpetrators are unknown.

    The murders were committed as an execution by shots in the head of the victims. The neighbours tell that no shots were heard, which suggests the use of weapons with silencers. The motive of the murders is still unknown.

    (…)

    Chechnya, as well as the whole North Caucasus, has witnessed a massive decolonization of Russian inhabitants since Russia started the war against Chechnya in 1994. According to official census, the Russian population of the seven North Caucasian republics went down from close to 26 % in 1989 to less than 17 % in 2002. In eastern part of North Caucasus (Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan), the number of Russian inhabitants has inclined even more – from 15 % of the population in 1989 to just 4 % in 2002.

    For Russia, this exodus of Russians from North Caucasus is most worrying. Putin has urged Russians to return back to Caucasus, and he has been actively assisted by Kadyrov and Zyazikov, the former president of Ingushetia. All campaigns have so far been in vain, and next census in 2010 will most probably show a further decrease of Russian inhabitants.

  10. EDITORIAL: The Caucasus are Burning

    Baghdad is “burning” under the US Nazi occupation. Read the news – idiots.

  11. Actually rts, Baghdad is under Iraqi control, there are no US troops operating in the city except when under Iraqi control.

    The handover occured 2 months ago, in June.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article6610785.ece

    Guess you should read the news more often.

    Of course, considering you are a retarded Russian ape, this might be a bit much to ask….

    • Well, at least he can now celebrate the “Iraqi anti-Nazis” in action again.

      On the other hand, actually the AQI attacks are now rather… quite weak, really. That is compared to what they were capable before the surge/attrition strategy worked, some apocaliptic-ish stuff like August 14, 2007 (nearly 1,000 people killed, 1,500 injured on a single day in just two minority villages).

      But the Nazran bombing is the biggest in Ingushetia ever, and never before regular police in the capital of Dagestan wore civilian clothes on duty because those in uniform are getting shot (and this is their official excuse).

      • Btw, today is an anniversary of the Baghdad UN Headquarters bombing in 2003.

        It’s now the World Humanitarian Day since then.

  12. ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia – Authorities in Chechnya say three police officers have been killed in a suicide bombing in a town near the restive region’s capital.

    A spokesman for the Chechen Interior Ministry, Magomed Diniyev, says the blast took place about midday Tuesday in a gas station-carwash complex in the town of Mesker-Yurt.

    The attack is the latest in a rising wave of violence against police and soldiers in Russia’s North Caucasus. At least 25 people died in the Aug. 17 suicide truck bombing of a police station in neighboring Ingushetia.

    Separatist rebels and Russian troops fought two full-scale wars in Chechnya over the past 15 years, and small clashes persist.

    http://www.kyivpost.com/world/47440

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