Category Archives: chechnya

Ghengis Khan in Russia, Part II

Paul Goble reports:

The “mass exodus” of the ethnic Russian population from the North Caucasus, a flow that began in the late Soviet period, expanded after the demise of the USSR, and shows no sign of diminishing in the future “threatens the very existence of the Russian Federation,” according to a Russian specialist at the Southern Federal University in Rostov.

Edvard Popov, who teaches there, says that conditions in the North Caucasus, including poverty, unemployment, xenophobia and violence help to explain two migration flows: the outflow of ethnic Russians which reverses the earlier “Russian colonization” of the region and the outflow of non-Russians which can be called “the internal colonization of Russia” by them. The second has created many problems in Russia’s cities, he acknowledges, but “the mass departure of the Russian population [from the republics of the North Caucasus] threatens the very existence of the Russian Federation” because “the Russian people is the state-forming people” of the country”.

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EDITORIAL: The Breathtaking Failure of Vladimir Putin

Putin is forlornly calling out: "Mahatmaaa . . ." Source: Ellustrator.


The Breathtaking Failure of Vladimir Putin

Our issue today contains two brilliant, highly insightful essays from the mainstream press documenting in breathtaking detail how the recent Moscow subway bombings have exposed the total failure of the Putin regime in Russia. No fair-minded person who reads this commentary can come to any conclusion other than that a Russia led by Putin, utterly unqualified to run a major economy in  a supposedly democratic country, is doomed.  And we back this up even further with a third essay exposing the downfall of Russia’s most potent economic engine, Gazprom.

Much as we admire this analysis, however, we think that the two most telling facts about the bombings were left out of the picture, so we’d like to add them back in.

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Piontkovsky on the Rise and Fall of Vladimir Putin

The always-brilliant and courageous Andrei Piontkovsky, Russian political scientist and a visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, writing on the Taipei Times:

The history of authoritarian rule in Russia displays a certain depressing regularity. Such regimes rarely perish from external shocks or opposition pressure. As a rule, they die unexpectedly from some internal disease — from irresistible existential disgust at themselves, from their own exhaustion.

Czarist rule withstood many harsh tests during its long history: peasant revolts, conspiracies and the alienation of the educated class.

In January 1917, from his Swiss exile, Lenin noted with bitterness and hopelessness that: “We, the old, will hardly live till the decisive battles of that forthcoming revolution. But … the young maybe will be lucky not only to fight, but finally win in the approaching proletarian revolution.”

By the following March, however, Czar Nicolas II was forced to abdicate.

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Russia is Doomed in the Caucasus

Looks like New York Post columnist Ralph Peters has been boning up on Russia right here at La Russophobe. His latest column tells the world that Russia is doomed in the Caucasus, and Vladimir Putin’s leadership is an utter disaster. Most crucially, he delivers an unambiguous warning about the dangers posed to the next Winter Olympics:

It’s been an embarrassing week for Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, prime minister and de facto czar.

On Monday, Islamist suicide bombers struck just a rifle shot from the Kremlin. The worst of the two subway bombings rubbed ex-KGB man Putin’s nose in it by slaughtering dozens in the Lyubanka station — named for the notorious security-service headquarters upstairs. And the day after the two blasts killed 39 (with twice that many hospitalized), Islamist terrorists renewed their bombing campaign in Russia’s Muslim republic of Daghestan, next to battered (Muslim) Chechnya.

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EDITORIAL: Russia reaps the Grapes of Wrath


Russia reaps the Grapes of Wrath

The tragic suicide bombings in Russia confirm the risk that all countries face in world today. Yet only two months ago, Foreign Minster Sergei Lavrov of Russia, shook hands and welcomed Khaled Meshaal, the leader of the Hamas movement, to Russia. Hamas itself has carried out countless suicide bombings and rocket attacks on Israeli civilians over the past 15 years. How would those Russian leaders feel if other countries held meetings and shook hands with terrorists like those who bombed its civilians?

George Reiss, Paradise Valley Arizona
Letter to the Editor of the International Herald Tribune

How indeed, Mr. Reiss, how indeed.

How would Russians react if Hillary Clinton were to travel to Dagestan and shake hands with Chechen warlord Doku Umarov, who has claimed responsibility for the recent subway bombings?  Would they say:  “Well, that’s America’s business, they have the right to shake hands with whomever they please?”

We think not.

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Russia after the Subway Bombings

Paul Goble, writing in the Moscow Times:

When a terrorist incident occurs in Russia, a Moscow commentator says, it is unlikely to cost even those officials whose responsibilities included preventing it their jobs, but experience with earlier cases suggests that such incidents will likely cost the Russian people their freedoms without providing them with any additional security.

In a commentary in Wednesday’s Novaya Gazeta, Andrey Lipsky wrote that where governments see themselves as the servants of the people, a terrorist incident is likely to lead to “a rapid change of political power” — or at least the ouster of officials responsible for security — as well as to “serious measures for increasing the security of citizens. And often both together.”

But in a country like Russia, he continues, officials view terrorist acts as another reminder that they “are not in a position to fulfill their chief function — the defense of their fellow citizens” and consequently are convinced that at the very least they should exploit the situation to retain their “own control over the country.”

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EDITORIAL: Chechnya, out of Control


Chechnya, out of Control

It was only a few weeks ago that the Russian government was arrogantly proclaiming its brilliance in killing “notorious gang leader” Said Buryatsky in Ingushetia after allegedly linking him to the November 2009 bombing of the Nevsky Express train between St. Petersburg and Moscow, an incident that left 39 Russians dead.   If the Kremlin meant to suggest that such incidents were now a thing of the past, it was very much mistaken.

Last Monday morning, just as rush hour was beginning, two Moscow subway stations were bombed, one just steps from the headquarters of the KGB on Lubianka Square.  At least three dozen Russians were killed, an eerily similar number to the Nevsky incident, and right in the heart of the capital city.  Days later, more bombs followed in Dagestan.  It was as if the Caucasus rebels were sending a clear message to Vladimir Putin himself:  “You think you’ve won? Think again.”

The BBC quoted security expert Victor Mizin, whose wife was on one of the trains attacked: “Russia opposes a very tough enemy and it comes from our North Caucasian region but still it’s an ongoing process and unfortunately the security forces are unable to quell it.”

It was soon clear that the subway attack was an act of revenge for the Kremlin’s killing several weeks earlier of Said Buryatsky, a leading mastermind of the suicide bomb and other attacks that have killed nearly 1,000 Russians since Vladimir Putin took power.  It was, in other words, entirely predictable — yet Putin did not predict it, much less protect the nation from it.

Putin’s failed policies have served only to expand revolutionary fervor throughout the Caucasus region rather than quelling it, and Putin’s failure to respond to the crisis was absolute, and even Russian commentators knew it. The BBC reported:

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EDITORIAL: Remembering Vladimir Putin and his Absurd Neo-Soviet Lies


Remembering Vladimir Putin and his Absurd Neo-Soviet Lies

In March 2000, three months after Boris Yeltsin resigned and named him acting president of Russia, Vladimir Putin was asked by the newspaper Kommersant about the possibility that KGB agents (Putin himself was one) had planted the apartment bombs that exploded in September 1999 and killed nearly 300 Russians.

Putin replied, as translated by the BBC: “There are no people in the Russian secret services who would be capable of such crime against their own people. The very allegation is immoral.”

Last month, in other words, marked the tenth anniversary of one of the most absurdly dishonest statements ever uttered in the annals of world political history.  And fittingly, yet more explosions in Moscow took yet more Russian lives, and Russians were once again forced to speculate about whether their own government might have been responsible.  This is the true horror of life in neo-Soviet Russia.

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The Hydra of Terrorism in the Failed State called Putin’s Russia

Alexei Malashenko, an analyst with the Carnegie Moscow Center, writing in the Moscow Times:

Once again, Russia and the world were shocked by an atrocious terrorist attack, one in which at least 39 people were killed in the Moscow metro.

The country’s terrorists have made it clear that they are still as strong and capable as ever to strike at any time or place. The group’s main leader, Chechen rebel Doku Umarov, has been warning for years that jihad will spread to all of Russia. The suicide bombers and their supporters carried out Monday’s mission with their typical professionalism and precision. The media have reported the existence of two special schools in the Caucasus for training suicide bombers, and now those graduates have brought their “skills” to practice.

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Putin has lost control in the Caucasus

The New York Times reports, under the headline “With Breakdown of Order in Russia’s Dagestan Region, Fear Stalks Police”:

At a certain point last summer, when snipers on rooftops began picking off police officers, Col. Mukhtar Mukhtarov’s wife blocked the door with her body and refused to let him leave home in his uniform.

For 25 years, it had been one of the great joys of Colonel Mukhtarov’s life to walk the streets in his red-striped police cap. But by last summer all that had been turned so thoroughly on its head that he quietly went back to his bedroom to change into civilian clothes.

His son Gassan, a 20-year-old beat officer, has known the job only this way, thick with fear. He changes in his car outside the station house. Aware that militants often follow police officers for days before killing them — his neck sometimes prickling with the sense of being watched — Gassan Mukhtarov swaps license plates with friends to make himself harder to track. He is still not safe. He knows that.

“They’ve known who I was from the first day,” he said.

It is all a measure of how thoroughly order has broken down in the Russian region of Dagestan, in the North Caucasus. Fifty-eight police officers were killed in attacks here last year, according to the republic’s Interior Ministry, many of them while running errands or standing at their posts. Last month alone, according to press reports, 13 officers were killed in bombings and gangland-style shootings.

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EDITORIAL: Clinton Blasts Russian Barbarism


Clinton Blasts Russian Barbarism

Last week, after more than one year in office, the Clinton State Department finally opened fire on Russia’s litany of human rights atrocities.  The Kremlin lashed out at the effort in a typical neo-Soviet frenzy.

The DOS report made a particular issue out of Russian barbarity in the Caucasus:

In Chechnya, Ingushetia, and Dagestan, the number of extrajudicial killings and disappearances increased markedly, as did the number of attacks on law enforcement personnel.  Authorities in the North Caucasus appeared to act outside of federal government control. Federal and local security forces in Chechnya, as well as private militia of Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov, allegedly targeted families of suspected insurgents for reprisal and committed other abuses.

Let’s be clear:  This is the government of the United States accusing the government of Russia of state-sponsored kidnapping, torture and murder.  And then there’s the cover-up of these atrocities:  “”Eight journalists, many of whom reported critically on the government, were killed during the year; with one exception, the government failed to identify, arrest, or prosecute any subjects. Beating and intimidation of journalists remained a problem.”

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Alekseeva on Putin’s Powerless Power

Paul Goble reports:

Moscow’s efforts to resolve the challenges it has faced in the North Caucasus over the last 20 years by force alone, Lyudmila Alekseyeva, the grand dame of Russia’s human rights community says, have demonstrated “the powerlessness of [that kind of] power” and have contributed to the spread of “civil war” across the region.

In a comment in Osobaya Bukhva, Alekseyeva argues that even a “superficial” examination of what has taken place in that region shows the non-expert that Moscow is not solving the problems it faces but making them worse.
Moscow’s policy failure in this regard “began in Chechnya, [but] now it has spread already almost in all republics,” because the central powers that be have “not changed their tactic” and have acted in ways that lead either the victims or the families of the victims to “go into the woods” to take revenge.

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EDITORIAL: A Postcard from that Special Hell called “Russia”


A Postcard from that Special Hell called “Russia”

Is Russia the very worst place on this planet?

We challenge you to carefully read our original translation published below in this issue, thoughtfully reflect (if you dare) on the photographs published along with it, and come to any other conclusion.

Vladimir Putin’s Russia is hell on earth.

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Another Original LR Translation: Lethal Garlic — More “accidental” fatalities in Ingushetia

WARNING: This post, a translation from the website of the Russian human rights organization Memorial, deals with gruesome acts of violence in the war-torn breakaway republic of Chechnya.  Following the text is a series of explicit photographs of civilian casualties resulting from a Russian “anti-terrorist” campaign.  The photos are very disturbing and all readers are advised to exercise caution in deciding the click the jump and view the entire post.  You can read the text without seeing the photographs by scrolling carefully and stopping where the text ends and the photos are marked to begin.

This translation has been prepared by LR staff. As always, corrections are welcome and encouraged.   

Hat tip:  Reader “Robert.” 

Lethal Garlic:  More “accidental” fatalities in Ingushetia 

February 15, 2010 

On February 11-12, 2010, in a forest on the border of Ingushetia and Chechnya, near the Ingush villages of Arshty and Datta, a special military operation was conducted by Russian forces.  The government reported on the destruction of a large detachment of rebel fighters and denied that any civilian casualties had occurred.  However, on February 12th we began receiving reports that there had in fact been civilians killed, and the next day we visited Arshty.  The following day we visited the Achkoi-Martan district in Chechnya.  Working with representatives of Human Rights Watch, we interviewed dozens of witnesses.  As a result, we can confidently assert that in the region where the operation was carried out were a large number of civilian residents and at least four of them were killed. 

The assault carried out by federal forces began with a missile barrage in the early morning hours on February 11th.  It continued throughout the day, ceased with the onset of darkness and then resumed the next day at dawn.  Federal forces initially reported that the cadre of rebel fighters numbered 15-25, and it was reported that from half to nearly all of them had been killed.  The President of Ingushetia, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, visited the area on February 12th and claimed that 18 rebels had been killed.  A list of various wanted figures was given by Ingushetia’s Prosecutor Yury Turygin as having been killed in the attack. 

But we learned on February 12th that among those killed were also civilians who had been in the nearby woods gathering wild garlic, and the reports we received were confirmed by the president’s press secretary in an interview with Echo of Moscow radio, where he stated:  “During the course of the special operation about 70 local residents were evacuated from the woods where they had been collecting wild garlic, but unfortunately four of them came under fire and were killed.”  The president did not include these victims with the 18 persons killed in the raid.  [Story reported in English by RIA Novosti on February 13th here.] 

To see for ourselves, Memorial staff left for Arshty on the afternoon of February 13th.  The villagers confirmed that there had been civilian casualties, including children.  On the south-eastern outskirts of Arshty Memorial was shown the bodies of seven adults, six wrapped in sleeping bags, perhaps to identify the remains of militant fighters. 

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Kadyrov and his Mommy

It appears that the Chechen lunatic Ramzan Kadyrov grows more dangerously insane by the hour. The New York Times reports:

Chechnya’s powerful president, Ramzan A. Kadyrov, backed down from a conflict with human rights defenders and journalists on Tuesday, withdrawing several libel suits at the request, aides said, of his mother.

It was a rare concession from Mr. Kadyrov, who has exercised nearly unchecked authority over the volatile southern Russian region. The lawsuits were prompted by accusations that the Chechen leader has employed kidnapping, torture and murder in his Kremlin-supported effort to grind down a lingering Islamic separatist movement in the region.

“His mother insistently asked him to do this,” said Alvi A. Karimov, Mr. Kadyrov’s spokesman, adding that prominent Chechen cultural figures and clergy had also advised him to drop the suits.

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Annals of Russian Barbarism in Chechnya

Oksana Chelysheva writes us via Facebook:

New proofs of the innocence of the Gataev couple and the role of the security police of Lithuania in fabricating charges against them were announced at the press-conference held in Helsinki on January 22.

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EDITORIAL: The Beast of Chechnya

Я – реальный представитель Кремля. Я – полностью человек Владимира Путина. Я никогда не предам Путина, никогда не подведу его. Клянусь Всевышним: я скорее 20 раз умру. Я – мужчина и уважаю Путина как мужественного человека, как настоящего мужчину, мудрого политика. А вот если направить ещё какого-то спецпредставителя на Кавказ, то ситуация станет лучше?

I am the Kremlin’s official representative in Chechnya.  I am fully Vladimir Putin’s man. I will never betray Putin, never fail him. I swear to God that I would sooner die twenty ttimes than do either. I  respect Mr. Putin as a courageous man, as a real man, a wise policymaker.

— Ramzan Kadyrov to the Russian publication Versiya, January 11, 2010.

You can judge a man’s character by the company he keeps. In this case, it’s hard to know which man is tarnished more by association with the other.  Suffice it to say that they are birds of a slim-covered feather.

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EDITORIAL: Russia and its Bandits


Russia and its Bandits

Our hearts skipped a beat last week last week when we read reports indicating that Russian “president” Dima Medvedev had declared his intention to “eliminate the bandits” who were plaguing his country.

At last, we thought!  Finally Russia’s so-called leader has seen the light and is going to arrest proud KGB spy Vladimir Putin and his gang of thugs who have been robbing the nation blind for years.  And that’s to say nothing of the murders.

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Vladimir Putin, War Criminal

Leila Pliyeva holding photos of her son Alikshan Pliyev

The Washington Post reports:

Aliskhan Pliyev was talking on his cell phone with his girlfriend one autumn afternoon when two dozen masked men in uniforms stormed into his family’s house, grabbed him and began to hustle him away.

The 30-year-old construction worker’s three sisters screamed, demanding to know where the intruders were taking him. “None of your business!” a man in a black mask shouted, before Pliyev was driven off in a convoy of cars and vans escorted by an armored personnel carrier. He hasn’t been seen since.

Officials here in the Russian region of Ingushetia say they don’t know anything about Pliyev’s abduction, one of scores in recent months that have caused fresh outrage and grief in a region already scarred by over 15 years of fighting.

But the young man’s kidnapping in the outskirts of Ingushetia’s largest city bears the hallmarks of what rights activists call Russia’s “policy of state terror,” a shadow war against violent Muslim separatists in the North Caucasus, a strategic crossroads of Europe and Asia.

A central tactic in the war, activists say, is forced disappearances – the brazen snatching of young people from their homes or off the street, often by gangs of masked men who move freely, even in areas heavily patrolled by Russian military and police. The pace of forced disappearances has doubled in the past year, following a spike in militant attacks on police and authorities, including suicide bombings, ambushes and assassinations.

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Uh-Oh: Here comes the Karachai jamaat

The Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Daily Monitor reports:

December 11 marked the anniversary of the beginning of the first Chechen War. It was then, in December 1994, that President Boris Yeltsin decided to militarily force the Chechen people to abandon the idea of independence. As is known, the Russian army lost that war to the Chechen resistance. However, Moscow decided to get its revenge in the second military campaign in 1999. But things went wrong again: Vladimir Putin’s blitzkrieg plan did not materialize and, moreover, the battleground with the insurgents spread to the whole North Caucasus region. Today, Moscow is forced to combat a growing insurgency stretching from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea, which indicates a major problem for the Kremlin in the entire Caucasian region (, September 30).

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A “Reign of Fear” Grips Chechnya

The New York Times reports:

Bearded police in camouflage clothes, carrying assault rifles and long daggers, stop cars with tinted windows in the rebuilt Chechen capital — their latest ploy in the hunt for Islamist fighters.

As one car pulls over, a policeman jerks open the back door, slides in and slashes the dark tinted film off the car windows with his 10-inch (25 cm) dagger.

“If you don’t like it, take it up with the president. Militants could be hiding behind these,” he snarls at a pair of nervous passengers, exposing a row of sparkling gold teeth.

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Latynina on Aushev

The Killled him but He walks Among us

Yulia Latynina

October 26, 2009

Yezhednevny Zhurnal

Translated from the Russian by The Other Russia

On Sunday, October 25, 2009, in the North Caucasian city of Nalchik, one of the most influential people in the Republic of Ingushetia was killed – Maksharip Aushev; the killers peppered his car with machine guns. It happened on the day after Maksharip appeared on Marianna Maksimovskaya’s REN TV news show and gave a piercing indictment of former republic president Murat Zyazikov.

“Nobody has established yet who to suspect,” said Yakhya Aushev, Maksharip’s father. “You could get bogged down in the fact that he just recently was speaking out against Zyazikov. Not long ago, a team from REN TV was photographing their [the Zyazikovs’] mansions, and there was an incident with Ruslanbek Zyazikov. It was as if there were forces hunting him down.”

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Russia’s Dirty Caucasus Secrets

SBS Dateline has produced a documentary film about Russia’s secret dirty wars in the Caucasus.  Watch it here.  The following is a transcript ,which could not be more timely as Maksharib Aushev, just murdered as noted in our Special Extra below, is quoted extensively:

In the Caucasus Mountains along Russia’s southern fringe, a hidden war is escalating. Moscow says it’s battling militant Islam in the tiny republic of Ingushetia. But people here say hundreds of innocent civilians are being tortured and murdered.

REPORTER: He says, “We can no longer walk. “Our teeth have been broken, our jaws are broken. “We desperately need some help.”

They say they live in terror of a Russian security apparatus out of control.

We arrived in Nazran, the largest town in the mainly Muslim Russian Republic of Ingushetia. We were taken to a house, where we were met by a crowd of grieving women. Just a few days earlier, at 5:30 in the morning, 400 heavily armed Russian soldiers had surrounded the house.

REPORTER: And then what happened?

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SPECIAL EXTRA: Another one Bites the Dust

Maksharip Aushev

Maksharip Aushev

Journalist, lawyer, human rights activist and businessman Maksharip Aushev, heir apparent to publisher Magomed Yevloyev (murdered in August 2008 becuase of his opposition activities),was brutally assassinated in Nazran, Ingushetia, on Sunday.  Just as Natalia Estemirova, heir of Anna Politikovskaya, was liquidated, so too has become the fate of the heir of the firey Yevloyev, whose website boldly challenged the Kremlin’s mismanagement, manipulation, persecution and destruction of the Caucasus region.  Aushev took over and ran after Yevloyev’s murder (which the Kremlin ridiculously tried to pass off as an “accident”).  When Yevloyev was murdered, the Kremlin placed a military intelligence officer — i.e., a KGB spy — in charge of Ingushetia, and this killing is the inevitable result of the Kremlin’s further tragically impotent efforts to clamp down on dissent in the region.  Aushev had been ritualistically persecuted by the Kremlin from the moment of Yevloyev’s killing (indeed, since well before it) in an obvious effort to intimdiate him into silence.  Just last month he was the victim of a kidnapping attempt.

So once again we see that the only way the crude thugs who operate the government of Russia can “win” an argument is at gunpoint.

Babitsky on Chechnya

Andrei Babitsky

Andrei Babitsky

David McDuff says this is Andrei Babitsky writing under a Georgian pseudonym for Prague Watchdog:

Andrei Soldatov’s recent article in Yezhednevny Zhurnal [about Moscow’s alleged ceding of control of the counter-terrorist operation to Ramzan Kadyrov, see the link (tr.)] left me with mixed feelings. I do not consider myself too proficient a judge of the control structures of the security agencies in Chechnya, and am therefore always interested to read what the experts have to say on this subject. Soldatov is without any doubt a highly informed specialist in this field, so anything written by him is likely to help one towards a better understanding of what is taking place in the republic. However, it seems to me that in the conclusions it makes his article repeats the stereotypical fears that are characteristic of Russia’s liberal community.

Let me explain what I mean.

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