LETTERS : The people of Chechnya need moral support

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The Independent Online
From Mr S. Summers Sir: Both Vincent Cable ("A law unto themselves", 29 December) and Conor Cruise O'Brien ("When despotism may be best", 30 December) have missed a crucial point. The people of Chechnya were brutally conquered in the last century by Russia, and unwillingly integrated into the new Soviet Union, who then claimed to have constitutional rights there; but the constitution was written by the Russians not the Chechens. Do these two writers not agree that conquering another people is immoral and unjust?

It is true that Western countries were also conquerors when the world was up for grabs, and after conquest they too wanted law and order kept on their terms. Ghengis Khan also created an empire famed because it was safe for all his subjects, rich and po

o r, strong and weak, to travel through, from one end to the other; all opposing his order having been exterminated.

Disagreeing with your conquerors and wanting to live without the jackboot over your head is not anarchy. It is a noble and just human ideal. Countries liberated from the Soviet clutches, such as the Baltic States, Poland and Hungary live without concentration camps and without killing each other - without anarchy. Painting the Chechens as all bandits and outlaws is surely just Soviet propaganda and racism.

Your paper has sided with Bosnian Muslims; and it would be nice if you could give some moral support to the Chechens, who also want to live freely.

Yours truly, S. SUMMERS Thorpeness, Suffolk 30 December