Russia’s experience in Chechnya showed that it would have to change its approach to controlling these republics not through the old Soviet methods but by giving them a measure of autonomy so long as certain red lines are not crossed.
For decades the Saudis have peddled their narrow-minded nonsense as ideology by disbursing petrodollars. Given its disastrous consequences for the Ummah, this no longer works even with its own agents.
This month marks exactly 15 years since the beginning of the war in Chechnya. During this time, the concept of Chechen identity and of Chechnya itself became embodied in war and conflict.
There has been a significant increase in militant activities by Chechen forces in recent months, at a time when both the Kremlin and Ramzan Kadyrov, its pawn in Chechnya, insist that the situation has been “normalised”, the war is over and that the rebel forces have been “fully defeated”.
President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB boss during the Soviet era, has turned his country into an undisguisedly racist and anti-Islamic fortress since taking power in 2004: there has always been an element of discrimination (albeit disguised) against Muslims in the Soviet Union, but it is getting worse.
People all over the world held events on February 23 to remember the tragedy of the Chechen people, after the Save Chechnya Campaign, a support and advocacy body based in London, led a campaign to have February 23, the date of Stalin’s deportation of the Chencens to Central Asia in 1944, proclaimed as World Chechnya Day.
Because president Vladimir Putin cannot be elected for a third term unless the Russian constitution is amended, he and Kremlin officials are preoccupied with the parliamentary elections in2007 and with ensuring the election of an approved successor as president in 2008.
Aslan Maskhadov, the exiled leader of the Chechen independence movement, last month urged the Kremlin to begin talks to end a decade of conflict. The call for peace talks came as local officials admitted that the ceasefire Maskhadov had ordered earlier had been effective.
Georgia, a member of the former Soviet Union, is in Moscow’s own back yard. So when America’s military links with Georgia were first announced, senior Russian officials were outraged by the prospect of the forces of their former cold war adversary being so close.
The Chechen peace agreement of August 1996 left the question of Ichkeria’s political status to be resolved within five years. This diplomatic fudge was differently interpreted by the various parties involved.
President Aslan Maskhadov of Ichkeria (formerly Chechenya), was greeted with much respect at a conference in Washington DC from August 7-10. The Chechen president had cause to be proud of his people’s valiant struggle against heavy odds.
Aware that verbal bluster, for which the Russians are notorious, could easily degenerate into a full-scale war with the Chechens, political leaders in Moscow quickly distanced themselves from remarks by interior minister Anatoly Kulikov.