from Victoria Poupko, Boston Group against Ethnic Cleansing

Two comments on Chechen "terrorism "

26 September 2001

Here is a fragment from an interview with a specialist on the Russian History, senior researcher from the Institute of War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford university, Professor John Dunlop, the author of a monumental work "Russia and Chechnya: History of the conflict" (Cambridge University Press, 1998) , reviewing the roots of the conflict from 16 century to 1994. From the beginning of the "second war" Prof.Dunlop has been publishing Internet-Bulletin "Chechnya Weekly". He was interviewed by a journalist Nadeghda Banchik (San Jose, CA) on the mid September.

Q. What have you been doing now, in that very anxious moment for all of us?

A. I am preparing a new issue of Chechnya Weekly. I am interested in "Chechen Component" in the global conflict.

Q. Do you think it does exist?

A. Even if yes, that to much lesser extent than Russia insists. There are some number of Vachabits - advocate of Chattab, who probably may be connected with bin Laden in the sense that the latter help a tiny bit to the Chechen resistance with money. But the largest part of Chechen Resistance has nothing in common either with terrorism or with extreme forms of Islam.

Historically, Chechen religion is Sufism of a very moderate level. I am afraid that in response of the recent attack of Chechen militants, Russia, taking advantage of the American tragedy and of the attracting of public attention to it, could make in Chechnya the total genocide. It would be different from the similar situation in August 1996, when after such quick attack on Grozny, Russia had to start negotiations and leave Chechnya. Now the consequences might be catastrophic, considering that the situation in Karachaevo-Cherkessia, Tatarstan and others is very unstable.

Q. Is it possible yet to prevent that tragic development?

A. Unfortunately, the Russian authority is very stubborn in its fatal mistake to deny the negotiation with the legal elected Maskhadov government. All wars finish in one or another way in negotiations between the fighting sides. The wager on the puppet government of Kadyrov will not bring a success.

. . . . .

Elena Bonner, speaking on Russian Radio, said:" The Chechen terrorists, if they have any place at all in global terrorism, this place is very tiny. The fate of the Chechen people must be separate from Chechen terrorism. We know the names of a dozen bandits, but all that is now in Chechnya and what is denounced as "Chechen sin", is in the contrary the sin of the Russian Special service, cooperating with bandits. Of course, Russia will try to divert the attention of the world community, taking advantage of the wave of hatred to the terrorists, - from the highest violation of Human Rights in the territory of Chechnya where thousands of women, and children die, where the Russian army is becoming totally corrupted and decaying, and Chechnya is turning into a new bandit enclave.