Skip to comments.Disregard for Human Life (Was Putin referring to the USA as the hostile foreign powers?)
Posted on 09/07/2004 1:15:21 AM PDT by stlnative
Disregard for Human Life
By Pavel Felgenhauer
There can be no justification or sympathy for the hostage-takers who last week took the lives of innocent children in the school in Beslan, North Ossetia. The final body count still isn't in following the reckless, poorly organized attempt to free the hostages by Russian special forces. But it's already clear that only about 10 percent of the hostages escaped unharmed; the rest were killed or wounded, most of them children.
In his address to the nation last Saturday, President Vladimir Putin rightly said that a full-scale terrorist war is being waged against this country. Within two weeks, two passenger jets were blown out of the sky, a bomb killed pedestrians outside a Moscow metro station, and then came the slaughter in Beslan.
In has address, Putin acknowledged that Russia's law enforcement and judicial systems are corrupt and inefficient. Again, one can only agree, recalling the Yukos case and many other instances of blatant judicial bias.
Elsewhere in his prepared address, however, Putin referred to unnamed, hostile foreign powers that "think that Russia, as one of the greatest nuclear powers of the world, is still a threat, and this threat has to be eliminated." Terrorism, Putin said, "is only an instrument to achieve these goals." Since al-Qaida and other Islamist extremists couldn't possibly be threatened by Russia's nuclear arsenal, Putin was apparently referring to the West.
Putin said that although the Soviet Union had disintegrated, "the nucleus of that giant" was preserved. "We have called the new country the Russian Federation." His remarks seem to imply that present-day Russia is not a country in its own right, and that it could just as well be called something else. This falls into line with the praise for the Soviet past, and for Josef Stalin in particular, in programs on state television and in newly revised history textbooks used in the schools. For Putin, Stalin seems to be something of a role model.
In the Stalin era, anything that went wrong in the Soviet Union was blamed on foreign powers and their agents. The country, like Stalin himself, was paranoid and xenophobic. Putin seems to suffer from the same sickness, and is doing his best to make the entire nation paranoid along with him.
In his address, Putin promised to prepare "a complex of measures aimed at strengthening the unity of our country." He also pledged "to create a new system of forces and means for exercising control over the situation in the North Caucasus" and an "effective crisis management system." Such measures will mostly likely involve the further restriction of civil liberties, elimination of the few remnants of a free press and enhanced powers for the secret police -- all in the name of fighting terrorism.
Two prominent journalists critical of Putin, Andrei Babitsky and Anna Politkovskaya, were prevented from traveling to Beslan last week. Politkovskaya was apparently poisoned. Novaya Gazeta editor Dmitry Muradov told me that she is currently recovering from kidney and liver damage.
Stalin regularly used the secret police to harass or murder critics and opponents. The plight of Babitsky and Politkovskaya indicates that in Putin's neo-Stalinist Russia, the same methods will be used to eliminate terrorists and their "sympathizers."
Journalists are easy targets, but terrorism in Russia will only be bolstered by repression. Many in Chechnya and Ingushetia view the terrorists as freedom fighters. Only political dialogue can change their thinking. But Putin's address contained no reference to holding negotiations with anyone.
During the Beslan siege, the authorities deliberately and consistently lied about the true number of hostages taken, reducing the numbers to make the crisis appear less grave and the imminent attack by special forces less reckless. As they did in 2002 during the Dubrovka theater siege in Moscow, the authorities deliberately refused to negotiate with the hostage-takers. They did not reveal that the terrorists' only condition for releasing the children was for Putin to sign a decree on removing Russian forces from Chechnya.
A piece of paper could have saved hundreds of lives. Instead, a bloody attack by the Russian military and special forces was carried out to demonstrate Putin's resolve.
Terrorists in Russia display a blatant disregard for human life, and the Kremlin does the same. The victims of terrorism and the wrath of the state -- all of us, potentially -- are left in the middle with no protection.
Pavel Felgenhauer is an independent Moscow-based defense analyst.
Not knowing who Putin is talking about, I prefer to think that he's referring to the EU maroons who chided him last week for not being "sensitive" to the Chechen concerns.
I think you're right too that Putin was firing back at the EU that took a cheap and cruel shot at Russia in its hour of pain, and while I do not think Putin respects dissent as much as he should, the authors of this new story are greatly wrong if they compare Putin to Stalin. Who in their right mind thinks anyone could have written this article during Stalin's timese in Russia? That alone says the times have changed.
Not the West.
I don't believe that for a minute.
Six-year-olds were shot in the back.
You have a valid point but let us not forget that Russia, France and Germany have publically called for a military alliance against the US. Guess we will have to see how this shakes out.
Sounds sensible to me.
It's amazing that so many people can be so led by their emotions, as we've seen over the past few days.
Russia has opposed us every step of the way on terrorism, most recently on the matter of Syrian troops in Lebanon. Political people have come to this board from Russia to argue that the USA is conspiring with Saudi Arabia against them, demanded that we get all personnel out of Iraq and demanded that we cut other friendly ties in the Middle East. We know that Russia has had a thing going with Iran for some time and has demanded that we have nothing to do with Iran.
And I believe the defense analyst who wrote the column above. he knows the culture, knows what he's writing about and is doing so at great risk to himself.
Most people in some other countries do not think the way we think. For one, the norm of ideals in some other countries is far closer to regards of weakness vs. strength than good vs. evil (moral). Notice Putin's recent flaggelation of his country on "weakness." That's a very bad sign, folks, and not necessarily only for the terrorists.
Maybe it's time for more education on Russian culture and politics.
That reflects the view of western NEWSPEOPLE. That's who he was attacking. The newspeople spun it as an attack on the West.
In another report yeaterday (Monday), yes, there was an allusion to the West including the U.S. and the EU as bring those "foreign powers." The Russians seem deeply offended that the kinds of atrocities we've seen there in the last three weeks are regarded as the acts of "Chechen militants" rather than the acts of terrorists. They see and hear the hypocrisy loud and clear.
Certainly there is no doubt from European press accounts in the last few days, as well as the demands for "further information" by the EU and France, that the EU in particular sides with the Chechens. And our own State Department is firmly in the same camp.
By all accounts Russia's war against Chechnya has been brutal and hamhanded. In the cold light of reality, that is the price paid by all separatist movements run by deluded leadership and ultimately supported by the people. Including our own Civil War.
That the Chechens have resorted to baby-killing and the crudest expressions of terrorism is not Putin's fault nor that of any Russian. It is the road the Chechens have chosen under the familiar and hideous guidance of the one single ideology on Earth which encourages such barbarity. It isn't a separatist ideology or a political ideology or any other kind of ideology articulated by rational people.
Plain and simple, it is Islamism.
If we don't get our State Department on-board and supporting Russia's self-defense against this barbarity, it'll be a long, cold, and lonely walk in our own struggle against the Islamists.
Does anyone really think that Putin is accusing the USA for these attacks? That is ridiculous. I give him credit for being smarter than that.
A piece of paper could have saved hundreds of lives.
I hope that's not true.
I think Russia views us with disdain in that we supported the Moslems in Kosovo so they would believe that we are also supporting the Chechens.
After 9/11, Russia chose, rather than to support us with Iraq, to side with the EU. Obvioulsy this was because of contracts with Saddam in the oil for food deal.
Russia hasn't quite figured out yet what its priorities are. Making money for the few or national security for its populace. Chechneya will be Russia's litmus test. If they give in, expect the others to do the same in regards to terror. If they fight, expect pols with communist ties to try to get rid of Putin.
The EU chose money because it believes that it is immune to terror due to support for Arab causes, like the Pallies.
It is safe to assume that France will cut a deal. Germany is playing both ends against the middle and right now are pretty safe.
Tough times in Europe. Tough decisions to make and on November 3, the cards get shown.
Both countries have had press calling for Russia's nuclear stock to be put under international control.
And if he had been referring to the US, he had to mean our support of Georgia. I am not finding anything to support this, at least not yet. But I will continue to work on it.
The North Ossetians are a small group of Christians with radical islam almost all around them. Chechen warlords, who run the country, want the entire Caucasus "returned" to Wahabi, according to them. Killing 1000 children of your only Christian neighbors is a good way to really reduce their population. I believe that was the goal.
Ah see, he did mention Brussels. Thanks.
Russians have been complaining about lack of internal security for some time now. Putin was acknowledging his need to listen to them and respond.
And actually this is untrue. One demand was for the president of North Ossetia to come and talk to them. He never came. There are lots of questions about this, and a mob-like attitude building among the citizens with talk about a lynching of this president. There is much suspicion that he was involved or knew this was coming.
The other demand was for the release of Ingush terrorists held prisoner, from a raid in Ingushetia on the police. Stolen police uniforms were used in this attack on the capital and some 98 police officers were killed, along with about 20 civilians.
The real intentions were to kill the children and re-stir the unrest between Christian North Ossetia and muslim Ingushetia.
It is working. The North Ossetians were on the border last night planning to attack citizens in Ingushetia but were restrained by police from doing so.
There are serious problems between Georgia and Russia right now. We have supported Georgia. Georgian politicians are speaking of recognizing chechnya as an independent state.
The US has been talking to, and just recently granted asylum to, a former chechen rebel commander.
Neither of these actions makes us look trustworthy. Russia feels like we did just after 9-11, hurt, scared, and angry, but afraid to know who to trust also. Lots of rumors flying. We really need to pray for them, if you pray.
Have you seen the specific european criticism of Putin and the handling of the massacre? Swiss and other leaders, I think Danish, were the ones who suggested he should have talked to the scum holding the hostages. And this would have made it all go away and be nicey-nice.
Boris and Clinton had a father and son relationship. WE taxpayers were used to buy out Boris and his buddies via algore and Clintons adopted N.Korea from them because they could no longer afford their upkeep.
This nation sent signals to "Russia" that we were joining them during Clintonism in that stated foreign policy of "EQUALIZE ALL NATIONS".
Putin has his hands full and time will tell what direction he ultimately takes, but I have doubts it will be in favor of US.
This information adds to the picture of human beings mired in unfathomable depravity. Evil exists. Those who shot six-year-olds in the back are burning in hell.
Sooner the better.
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