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.