“THERE IS NO ‘INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM’, THERE IS A WAR IN CHECHNYA”
In their “long list of claims” to Putin the Decembrists put the following as number nine:
“9. The victims of Nord-Ost and Beslan. There is no ‘international terrorism’, there is a war in Chechnya that you weren’t able to win and now you don’t have the courage to stop. Confess that this war is not for national interests but for your personal ratings, for your ‘tough guy’ reputation.”
The National-Bolsheviks have absolutely justly formulated the first part of their accusation. In fact, it was not agents of international terrorism who committed the terrorist acts of 1999-2005 (years of Putin’s rule), but wreckers sent from Chechnya. This circumstance is indicated not only by the national composition of the wreckers’ “commandos” killed in the Center on Dubrovka (Nord-Ost) and in Beslan and in all “commandos” we know that have committed the terrorist acts, – almost all of them, the overwhelming majority, are Chechens, but also by a simple comparison. Think about it: there are no terrorist acts on the territory of our neighbor Ukraine; there are no terrorist acts on the territory of our neighbor Belarus. Yet we have a common history and we equally live today in History’s post soviet period. Then why they do not have terrorism while we do? The answer is simple: neither Ukraine, nor Belarus lead a war in Chechnya.
President Putin and his group did not win the war in Chechnya since being men of violence from education and life experience, they know only how to employ police, violent measures for solving political problems. But political problems cannot be solved by police methods a priori. This is why when they suppressed Ichkeria’s army with the help of aviation and artillery, superior technical might, the federal forces have only forced this army to switch to a guerrilla war. This is a war in which wrecker groups that are sent into the Russian Federation are now the principal operational method. Result: the war is not won; it became a guerilla war. What Putin’s group really succeeded in doing (and what did not exist during the first Chechen campaign in 1994-96), is the creation of a civil war in Chechnya. Some clans of Chechens realized that they could not overcome Russia in a frontal war. Such clans (I could name the principal ones: Kadirov, Yamadayev and Alkhanov) joined the federal troops in order to gain victory over the opposing clans (or groups of militants) subordinated to Maskhadov and Basayev. They were gaining psychological and military skills with Russia’s help. In its turn Russia willingly let them organize and arm themselves and it was pleased to transfer a part of the burden of the Chechen war on them. However gradually but naturally the roles switched: today the federals are practically fighting for the interests of the Kadirov, Yamadayev and Alkhanov clans since the Russian interest for Chechnya is exclusively applied, moral, I would say. But certainly not territorial. I will gladly explain what I mean. Russia is leading a war in Chechnya, the nazbols were right: for Putin’s personal ratings, for his “tough guy” reputation. But I will add – also for the reputation of a tough Russia and for the quite false supposition that if they “release” Chechnya other North Caucasian and Muslim republics will follow suit. The supposition is false because by releasing Chechnya, the negative impression of this “release” could be balanced by taking into Russia the fertile lands of Abkhazia and Southern Ossetia. I will note that besides, in other North Caucasian republics the population is mostly Russian or mixed. Chechnya and the Chechens are rather a huge exception from the rule, than the rule.
And so. A civil war in Chechnya is in fact, Putin’s group achievement. Until now the situation of a civil war worked for Putin. However everything is changing before our eyes and will change not in Putin’s favor. The thing is that both the Kadirovs and Yamadayevs are just as Chechen as Maskhadov (was, of course) or Basayev. They are not supposed to like Russians and all the more Russians on their land. They keep showing this more and more. Not so long ago, in summer 2005 Ramzan Kadirov said that there is no more need to send Russian policemen in Chechnya, that Chechnya’s police is already strong enough; they are numerous and can face the militants in the mountains. What is this if not a diplomatic request to withdraw the troops? Yes, this is a diplomatic request to withdraw the Russian troops. It is justly formulated and the Russian policemen themselves will be glad not to ride to Chechnya’s deathly spaces. And what did the terrorists, or wreckers, request in Nord-Ost and Beslan from Putin? The withdrawal of Russian troops. So it turns out that we, Russia, are losing Chechnya both ways. Both in case of Basayev’s victory (today it appears as problematic) and in case of Kadirov’s victory Chechnya will not be Russian. And I am so right!
Now more about the motives that led Putin to war in Chechnya. I will add another one to the ones enumerated by the nazbols. In essence Putin might have given Chechnya to Kadirov Senior right after he was elected president of the Chechen republic. This did not happen because president Putin does not lead this war only for his ratings and the image of a tough guy but also for maintaining the de facto state of emergency regime that reigns in Russian cities. If Chechnya is released, there will be no pretext for the police State in the RF to continue its existence. The wrecker groups will stop to send suicide bombers from Chechnya – then good-bye, metal detectors and searches, they will have to remove part of the police from the streets and a part of the hatred for the Caucasians will disappear. Even the society we have will ask for relaxation in the end when it will see that the Chechens have gotten to their business after the Russian troops finally left their territory. I formulate it again: Putin needs the Chechen war to sustain the police State in Russia, to limit the personal and political rights of the citizens in order to keep and reinforce his power. The nazbols haven’t said this, but I do.
Let us try to understand how many human lives president Putin costs to Russia; what is the war in Chechnya expressed in losses of human lives. I will cite some numbers: Moscow Business Times on 16.08.2005 writes: “For the first and second military campaigns in Chechnya 106 thousand people have died. This was told by the head of Chechnya’s State Council Taus Jabrailov. ‘According to our estimates about 150-160 thousand people have died during the first and second campaign in Chechnya. Of them, 30-40 thousand are Chechens’, Jabrailov said on a press conference. According to him there was a lot of victims among civilians during the first campaign. Mostly among the Russian-speaking residents of the republic who had nowhere to go from the cities, in contrary to the Chechens who were hiding at their relatives homes in the mountains. Jabrailov added that these numbers include the total number of losses, including the federal forces and the law enforcing bodies as well as the militants. Last week the Defense Ministry published the number of losses of the federal troops from the beginning of the second Chechnya campaign. According to this data 3 459 military have died in Chechnya from 1999 and 32 have disappeared.”
It is interesting that according to the official data of the same Defense Ministry (the data of Radio Svoboda on 21.10.03, two years before the numbers given above) 4 572 Russian military have died during the second Chechen campaign from October 1st 1999 to December 23rd 2002. Another 15,5 thousand military were wounded. No comments needed here. Let the Defense Ministry explain such a discrepancy in numbers; its striking lie. On the same Radio Svoboda program on 21.10.2003, the Novaya Gazeta military correspondent mayor Vyacheslav Izmailov mentioned his own data: “The first Chechen campaign lasted two years, from the end of 1994 to the end of 1996; about 6 thousand military have died. And about the same number have died during the 4 years of the actual Chechen campaign. In whole it makes about 12 thousand military. About 30 thousand wounded.”
And here is the data of the human rights center Memorial on 02.07.05: “During the first war in Chechnya in 1994-96 up to 50 thousand civilians have died… The quantity of civilians who died during the actual war in Chechnya from 1999 is from 10 to 20 thousand, without counting the 3 to 5 thousand who have disappeared.”
Valentina Melnikova from the Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers said in an interview to BBC on 02.18.03: “Our estimations show that over 11 thousand soldiers have died in combat or from wounds and another 25 thousand were wounded during the war”. The same BBC said: “According to the Russian authorities about 15 thousand Chechen militants were killed in the war.”
In Novaya Gazeta on 08.15.05 the same military analyst Vyacheslav Izmailov sums up the quantity of Russian military losses during the second (Putin’s) Chechen campaign: “There was over 7 700 military dead during the second Chechen campaign.” (I remind that Izmailov gave the previous number of losses, 6 thousand, in 2003.)
If we are to resume this data, it turns out that during Putin’s presidential term 7 700 RF military, 7,5 thousand militants and about (let us take an average number without counting the disappeared) 15 thousand civilians lost their lives in Chechnya. Over 30 thousand people in total. Concerning the total quantity of wounded, we have Izmailov’s data only about the military: 30 thousand for both campaigns, divided by two makes 15 thousand. This is what the second Chechen war brought us because of Putin. Try to imagine thirty thousand dead bodies on the ground – it is an awful lot. What did we get in exchange for these lives? The hatred of the Chechens and the grief of our mothers. There is no other benefit. The mythical Chechen oil exists in a quantity sufficient for the personal enrichment of a few generals and militants but its supplies and output are absolutely miserable, in order to lose so much lives.
I foresee an opposing argument: after all Basayev entered Dagestan with two thousand militants. Yes, that is right. However he was beaten out after combats in August-September 1999. Only 500 Russian military died during that period until October 1st 1999. They should have beaten him out of Dagestan and stop. Or get to Terek River and stop and begin to build a real State border. But it was decided otherwise. Putin was the prime minister and successor.
Let us try to reconstruct the development of events during the second Chechen war. So:
August 1999 – Shamil Basayev invaded Dagestan.
August 31st 1999 – Explosion in the capital city’s downtown, 1 dead, 40 wounded.
September 4th 1999 - a five-stories home was blown up in Dagestan’s city of Buynaxk. 64 dead, including 23 children, 146 wounded.
September 8th – Explosion of a house in Moscow. Over ninety dead, about 200 wounded.
September 13th – A violent explosion in an eight-stories house on Kashirskoe road. Over 120 dead including 13 children.
September 16th – A violent explosion in downtown of Volgodonsk of the Rostov region, in the yard of a nine-stories house. 18 people died, including two children; 310 were injured.
September 22nd 1999 – An event worth mentioning here happened in Ryazan. On September 22nd at 9PM the bus driver Alexey Kartofelnikov noticed that suspicious people were dragging bags from a white car to the basement of the house where he was living. Kartofelnikov got worried and called the police.
The police arrived and discovered bags with wires in the basement. They evacuated the people from the house.
At 10:30PM on the same day the explosive device was put off (the timer was set at 5:30AM on September 23rd). The chief of the police’s technical department Yuri Tkachenko found that there was hexogen in the mix taken from the bags.
September 23rd 5:30-6AM. After the bags were brought out of the basement, the residents were allowed to go back in.
On September 23rd 1999 an information group of Ryazan’s police said that three bags of hexogen were found in the basement of a residential house and a terrorist act was prevented and that the employees of a FSB laboratory in Moscow will be able to say if this was a provocation or an attempted terrorist act after the expertise. On the same day the police press center said that hexogen was found during the analysis of the substance in the bags. At the same time the head of Ryazan’s FSB, the general-major Sergeev congratulated the residents with their second birth. The head of Ryazan’s police, the lieutenant-colonel Kabashov said in an interview to the Versia program that the expertise confirmed the presence of hexogen.
Vladimir Putin has also spoken – at that time he was prime minister. In the Vesti program he said: “Concerning the events in Ryazan I don’t think that this was a failure. If these explosive bags were noticed, it means that at least the population reacts the right way. /…/ No panic, no mercy to the bandits.”
On September 24th on a conference on the fight with organized crime the police head Rushaylo said that a terrorist act was prevented in Ryazan.
And suddenly after all these declarations of high ranked officials – the prime minister, the interior minister, analysts and FSB officers – on September 24th the head of the FSB Center of public relations Zdanovich made a surprising declaration that there was no hexogen in the bags and there was no detonator but that there were “some elements of a detonator” and “similar devices”. On the same day at noon the FSB director Patrushev said in an interview to NTV: “The incident in Ryazan was not a bombing. This was a training exercise. There was sugar in those bags”.
Even Patrushev’s subordinates in Ryazan could not agree with such a turn. Maybe they would have agreed but their professional honor was at stake. Ryazan’s FSB published a surprising declaration, surprising if we take in account the habit of FSB employees to keep silence and not to argue with the management publicly. “As it became known, the imitation of an explosive device discovered on 09.22.99 was part of a training exercise. We were surprised to hear this information in a moment when the FSB has identified the place of residence of the individuals implicated in the installation of the explosive device and their arrest was being prepared…”
I will interrupt here this very interesting story in order to continue the description of the events during Putin’s rule concerning the Chechen war and the terrorist acts directly linked to it. So that the integrity of the story is not broken. I will only notice that this strange Ryazan story served as a base to accuse the FSB of organizing the terrorist acts in Buynaxk, Moscow and Volgodonsk. I ask you to take note of the dates: August 31st, September 4th, September 8th, September 13th, September 16th and September 22nd. Each four, five or six days. But let us continue in chronological order.
September 29th 1999 – the federal troops crossed the border with Chechnya and started the military operations (actually continued them but on Chechnya’s territory) against the Chechen militants. The troops rapidly cross the steppes to Terek River. Grozny is ahead.
October 22nd 1999 – Several explosions take place in Grozny, which according to the Chechen side result in the deaths of 137 people and the wounds of 250 other. These were our people working, wreckers.
December 1999 – February 2000 - Grozny is taken after a difficult operation.
February 7th 2000 - the defense minister Igor Sergeev declared that the liberation of Grozny is over. The minister said that about 450 militants were liquidated in the last day.
February 21st 2000 – a violent explosion in the evening on the south border of Dagestan’s capital city Makhachkala with the goal of killing the head of Makhachkala’s border patrol, the general-major Sergey Bondarev. The general-major was not harmed.
March 13th 2000 – capture in Chechnya of the field commander Salman Raduyev by the federal troops, after which he was put in Lefortovo prison in Moscow.
April 21st – Gennady Troshev is appointed commander of the united group of federal troops on the North Caucasus.
May 1st 2000 – unsuccessful attempt on Chechnya’s mufti Akhmad Kadirov.
May 18th – Viktor Kazantzev is appointed by the president as representative of the president in the North Caucasus federal district. (Soon it was renamed South federal district).
May 30th – the deputy government representative in Chechnya Sergey Zverev and the mayor’s assistant Nurseda Khabuseeva died in a terrorist act. Grozny’s mayor Supyan Mochkhayev was wounded in the head.
May 31st 2000 – An explosion took place in Volgograd next to a control post. Two soldiers were killed and fifteen heavily wounded.
June 12th 2000 – the mufti Akhmad Kadirov is appointed head of administration of the Chechen republic.
June 14th – Akhmad Kadirov makes a declaration, in which he summons the militants “to stop their resistance, put down their weapons and return to peaceful life”.
August 8th 2000 – an explosion in Moscow in an underground crossing under Pushkin Square. 13 people died (seven died on the spot and six other in the hospital), 118 people including six children were wounded.
October 12th – a large terrorist act in Grozny near the building of Oktyabrsky police department. In the moment when a car with Prosecutor General’s employees was entering the building a car stuffed with explosives was blown up. 10 people died, 16 wounded.
February 5th 2001 – An explosion took place in Moscow on Belorusskaya-Koltzevaya subway station. 15 people were injured mainly with burns and concussions.
June 24th 2001 – the field commander Arbi Barayev was killed.
September 24th – Adam Umarov, head of an armed group part of a unit headed by the field commander Ruslan Gelayev, was arrested in Chechnya.
November 1st 2001 – One of the most famous spiritual leaders of Muslims Magomet Dolkayev was killed in Chechnya.
December 5th 2001 – Salman Raduyev was found guilty by Dagestan’s Supreme court in all charges: attack on Kizlyar, illegal capturing of people, capturing Penzen’s OMON agents, stealing weapons, organizing illegal armed groups.
January 17th 2002 – last night the field commander nicknamed “Uzbek” was destroyed in Chechnya. He was the “third person” around the Arab military fighting in Chechnya – Khattab.
May 9th 2002 – terrorist act in Kaspiisk. The explosive device detonated on the side of a road when a festive column was passing. Forty-five people died, over 170 were wounded.
August 19th 2002 – the field commander Mussana was killed in Chechnya.
October 10th – the building of Zavodsk’s police department was bombed. Twenty-five people died.
October 19 – an explosive device hidden in a car detonated near a MacDonald’s on Pokrishkin Street. Eight people were wounded; one of the injured later died in the hospital.
October 23rd 2002 – a unit of Chechen terrorists headed by Basayev captured the Theater Center on Dubrovka in Moscow where about a thousand viewers and actors of the Nord-Ost musical were present at the time. The principal demand of the terrorists was the withdrawal of troops from Chechnya’s territory. On October 26th all the militants and a part of the hostages, 129 people, were destroyed in the course of a special operation to liberate the hostages (nerve gas was put in through the ventilation shafts).
December 28th 2002 – the House of government of Chechnya was blown up. 70 people died and about 200 were wounded.
March 23rd 2003 – a referendum in Chechnya about the support of a new Chechen constitution and laws about the elections of the republic’s president and parliament. The election committee obtained incredible results. 95,97% of the referendum participants voted for the Constitution project. 95,4% of the electors voted for the law about the elections of Chechnya’s president and 96,05% supported the law about the parliamentary elections.
May 12th 2003 – a car stuffed with explosives detonated near the buildings of the district administration and the FSB in the Chechen town of Znamenskoe. 60 people died, over 200 were wounded.
June 5th 2003 – a terrorist act on Moscow’s airfield in Tushino where a rock-festival was taking place. 16 people died, 57 were wounded.
August 1st 2003 – the building of Mozdox hospital in North Ossetia was blown up. 50 people died, over 60 were wounded.
December 5th 2003 – the Kislovodsk-Essentuki train was blown up in Stavropol region. 44 people died and 156 were wounded.
December 9th 2003 – two female suicide bombers detonated an explosive device near the National Hotel in Moscow. 6 people died.
February 6th 2004 – an explosion in a train in the span between Avtozavodskaya and Paveletzkaya stations. 40 people died, over 10 were wounded.
May 9th 2004 – Chechnya’s president Akhmad Kadirov was blown up during a festive concert in the Dynamo stadium in Grozny.
June 21st 2004 – Chechen wreckers attempted a large-scale attack on Ingushetia. Police and prison buildings were attacked as well as the headquarters of Nazransk’s border patrol; attacks were made on Karabulak, Sleptzovskaya and Orjonikidzevskaya villages. About twenty administrative buildings and military objects were attacked. 88 people died, most of them police and FSB officers, 117 people were wounded.
August 26th 2004 – crash of two Tu-134 and Tu-154 planes going to Volgograd and Sochi. 89 people were victims of the crashes.
August 29th 2004 - presidential elections in Chechnya. The ministry of Interior Alu Alkhanov won. Over 73% of the republic’s citizens participating in the elections voted for him. Some candidates were removed from the elections under various pretexts or were convinced not to participate.
August 31st 2004 – explosion in Moscow near Rizhskaya station. 10 people died, 51 were wounded.
September 1st 2004 – capture of hostages in School Number 1 of Beslan in North Ossetia. According to Beslan’s teachers’ committee there were over 1200 hostages. According to the official data of the Prosecutor General 331 hostages died in Beslan including 172 children.
March 8th 2005 – the second president of the Ichkeria republic Aslan Maskhadov was killed in the Tolstoy-Yurt town.
According to the official news counting from 1999, 36 terrorist acts in Russia took the lives of 1 397 people and 1 750 were wounded.
So according to the shyest estimates the stubborn desire of V. V. Putin and his group to keep the Chechens in the RF cost about 32 thousand lives. Again imagine these hecatombs of dead bodies laid out on Ichkeria’s long suffering land, no, on Moscow’s sidewalks. Blue, yellow, torn apart…