LETTER:The West and Chechnya

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The Independent Online
From Mr Aivars Sinka

Sir: Your editorial "Chechnya is not the West's cause" (18 January) is wide of the mark. The Chechens are not a "clique", they are a nation with a common territory, history, language and religion, who are as fully deserving as the English of their own state. Moreover, they are a nation who have suffered most horribly at the hands of the Russians. The Communists wiped out half their number and encouraged them to flee their land by throwing Chechen women and children, alive, on to a burning pyre. The word "federation" implies a conscious decision to join or remain part of a common state; the Chechens have never chosen to be part of the Russian "federation".

The continued existence of the West depends upon general acceptance and affirmation of certain universal truths, among them democracy, liberty of the individual and self-determination. Stating that Chechen independence is against the interests of the West helps to undermine those universal truths.

Yours faithfully,

Aivars Sinka

New Malden,

Surrey

18 January

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