Monitor: Russian Campaign In Chechnya The tragedy of Chechnya

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Al Ahram


ONLY THE most vulnerable members of the population - the elderly, women and children - are left for the Russians to massacre. To remain silent as this tragedy takes place is a disgrace to Arab and Islamic countries alike; but it is shameful for the countries of western Europe, which have enabled Yeltsin to commit his crimes. (Salama A Salama)

Novaya Gazeta


AS THE winter draws in closer and closer, the soldiers are now physically exhausted and morally sick. They cannot stand for a moment longer the inhuman conditions in which they are being forced to live and fight. The war should be localised and it should be clearly outlined - or it should be stopped altogether. At the moment it is has become far too dangerous for a great number of people who have nothing in common with terrorists. This war is making no sense whatsoever. And that is the only real truth.

The Washington Post


THE WEST seems to mimic every Russian claim about fighting for its territorial integrity against "terrorists" and "bandits," instead of calling what is happening in Chechnya by its name - genocide. Chechnya, like some 17 other major non-Russian areas, is not an integral part of Russia, but one of many units of the Russian Federation. Ultimately, the Russian action in Chechnya is meant to send a message that Russia will seek to reassert its hold on other non-Russian areas. The West, its governments and media, will have to be far more determined to prevent that from happening. (Ieva Bolsteina)




THE CHECHEN genocide is no more Russia's "internal affair" than the Serb genocides in Bosnia and Kosovo were Belgrade's. But as Moscow is not Belgrade, nobody will start a war with Russia to end the war in Chechnya. The least our Western governments can do in this case is to ignore Moscow's rhetorical fogging of the issue and roundly condemn Russia's blatant disregard of international norms. Such as, for example, leaving what are obviously civilians entirely out of its bloody campaign



TODAY OUR country is carrying out a struggle against terrorism that has brazenly challenged Russia. This is a fight for the lives of Russians, many of whom we lost in Moscow, Dagestan and Volgodonsk,. This is a fight for the sovereignty and integrity of the Russian Federation. At the same time, it is part of the efforts of the international community aimed at suppression of international terrorism. I am sure those in the West who have not understood us, will eventually realise that we are right. International terrorism has no borders, and the whole world is now threatened by it. (Boris Yeltsin)

Frontier Post


CHECHNYA IS going to be a decisive factor in the fates of the parliamentary poll contestants. And for the Russian generals it is intended to win them back the pride they lost in the humiliating defeat at the hands of the Chechen fighters three years ago. The poor Chechen civilians are there only to serve as the fodder for fulfilling all the diverse Russian ambitions. In the circumstances, even it would be an achievement if the delegation could win some concessions from Moscow for humanitarian assistance to the Chechen refugees.

St Petersburg Times


EVEN AS its soldiers tighten the noose around Grozny, the Chechen capital, Russia is increasingly in a bind. Chechen nationalism can't be suppressed for long. If Russia tries to keep the renegade province under its absolute control, it will merely create a gnawing ulcer that will waste away at Russian wealth and Russian lives. In the long run, the smartest thing for Russia to do may be to put Chechnya on the path to full independence. (Anatol Lieven)


Sydney Morning



RUSSIA HAS legitimate interests in Chechnya, just as the West has in the Middle East. There never is perfect peace where oil is concerned, and it is futile to imagine that the solution to the West's strategic concerns in this region will necessarily be solved by seeing Chechnya detached from Russia, rather than through a broader peace in the region. That is not to deny the aspirations of the Chechen people, for greater freedom and a greater share of their land's wealth, nor the brutality of the Russian response. But one of the great tragedies is the unevenness of the Chechen leadership. Its best elements too often have been driven out by terrorists and criminals.