EDITORIAL: Putin’s Failure in Chechnya and the 2014 Olympics


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.

The plant was disabled, and experts immediately suggested  “this may have been a rehearsal for something much larger.”  Even the Russian government itself had to admit failure:  “This shows the scourge of terrorism is not only not subsiding, but expanding geographically,” said Gennady Gudkov, deputy head of the security committee of Russia’s parliament.

Mainstream international media like Newsweek are finally taking note.  It is perfectly clear that Putin is losing his grip on the region, and that the rebels will never allow 2014 Olympic Games to take place peacefully right in their own backyard.  Putin’s decision to host them there is a direct slap in the face to all the oppressed peoples of the region, and even the Slavic Russians of the region are outraged because of Putin’s reckless disregard for property rights and environmental protection in the region.

Sochi, in other words, is now the epicenter of a ticking time bomb.  Violence in the region will become more and more uncontrolled until it reaches its crescendo as the games convene.  Hundreds of young amateur athletes will be risking their lives because of the reckless, irresponsible and corrupt decision of the IOC to vest Russia with the games.

Mark our words: If the international community does not move to divest Russia of the games, it will have blood on its hands before 2014 is over.

7 responses to “EDITORIAL: Putin’s Failure in Chechnya and the 2014 Olympics

  1. As I already said the attack on Kadyrov could have been staged by Kadyrov – it happened before.

    @the rebels will never allow 2014 Olympic Games to take place peacefully right in their own backyard

    For now they’re basically ignoring it altogether. There was not even any statement.

    Btw, the Russian military recently built bunkers in the olympic area. But I wonder if the bunkers would work like this supposed checkpoint in Dag I wrote about there yesterday:


    Maybe “military checkpoint” is the Russian for “take my cell phones, don’t stab us anymore, shoot my officers, thank you come again”.

    • I guess these guys guarded their officers and their cell phones better.

      (Come on, don’t laugh. Cell phones are strategic assets, as publicily proven by the Russian forcess in Georgia where they were using them for field communication, and looting them too like if they were wrist watches and it was partying like it’s 1945.)


      Unidentified gunmen opened fire on a group of servicemen guarding a military convoy near the Chechen capital of Grozny on Friday.

      “Two servicemen have died from wounds, and another has been hospitalized,” the spokesman said.

  2. Oh, and isn’t it an event rather for pro athletes?

  3. Opinion: terrorism of Caucasian militants may hamper Sochi Olympiad

    Some experts assert that Dokku Umarov, leader of North-Caucasian underground, has united Islamic rebels and organized a proper infrastructure. Based on this opinion, The Christian Science Monitor concludes that Russia now has a network of militants-Islamists deployed, who prepare a new wave of attacks in the central part of the country, the “InoPressa.ru” reports.

    The authors of the article emphasize that it may be more difficult to pacify Islamists than to tackle with so-called Chechen fighters for independence. According to Nikolai Petrov from the Carnegie Centre, quoted by the newspaper, the powers of Russian President Dmitri Medvedev are rather limited in this aspect: “He needs to demonstrate toughness and resolution; but at the same time he wants to avoid escalation of events in Northern Caucasus.”

    As a result, Mr Medvedev called, in the course of his last visit to Dagestan, to severely punish terrorists and asked local Muslim clerics to expel militants from their religious communities. However, as the paper writes, the state of affairs in Dagestan remains depressing: about 80 percent of the population fail to support local leaders – proteges of the Kremlin.

    Along with that, opinions are expressed that because of the terrorist activity the Sochi Olympics are endangered; the city is in the very centre of the Caucasian Mountains. A journalist from Canadian The Toronto Star writes: apart from the instable North-Caucasian republics of the Russian Federations, in immediate proximity there is Georgia with its tense atmosphere after the recent military conflict with Russia. And a 15-minute drive to the south there is Abkhazia – another disputable territory recognized by very few countries, apart from Russia.

    In the opinion of the article author, never before the place of would-be Olympic Games was located within such hostile environment. Besides, ecological problems and unacceptable working conditions at the Olympic construction sites, and recent terror acts have shown that there is one more essential problem, which can hamper the 2014 Winter Olympics, – terrorism.

    “Sochi will become terrorists’ target directly or indirectly; and the city will face broad-scale operations to prevent this sort of actions,” the paper quotes a respected analyst, who is specializing in security issues in the West and who is now in Northern Caucasus.

    He has noted that Russia is capable to cope with this problem and ensure safety of the Olympic Games. However, guerrillas, as he said, have their own advantages: there is no need to attack the objects in the city of Sochi. They may commit a terror act in any other place to create a feeling of instability and threat, having thus won paper and news agency headings.


  4. Vladimir the Impala

    Of course some of the fittest athletes attending Sochi 2014, having been training at high altitude will be the Chechen Rebels themselves, no doubt excelling in precision shooting, wrestling, cycling and ping pong- Yes ! Check it out on youtube yourself and look for ‘Chechen rebels in mountainside pingpong shootout with FSB .’
    Mr Kadyrov has not yet confirmed whether he will be attending the opening ceremony as the national team marches by, referring to an incident a few years ago…

  5. Vladimir the Impala

    Sorry correction ” Chechen rebels in mountainside ping-pong ding-dong with FSB.”

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