Skip to comments.Putin: Ally or Terrorist? (Russian FSB/KGB Real Culprits Behind "Chechen Terrorism")
Posted on 09/21/2004 8:24:29 PM PDT by GIJoel
Putin: Ally or Terrorist? by William F. Jasper
Counting Vladimir Putin as an ally against terrorism ignores his career in the murderous KGB/FSB and his ongoing support for terrorist regimes and organizations.
Lena Goncharuk, aged 38, said that she was the only one to survive out of a group of six who were ordered out of the cellar where they had been hiding and shot at point blank range. Resting in her hospital bed, her voice barely rising above a whisper, she said she had survived only by pretending to be dead." So reported Paul Wood from the Chechen border for The Independent of London on February 6, 2000, as "triumphant" Russian troops occupied Grozny, the capital of Chechnya. Woods article, entitled "Chechnyas civilians put to the sword," continued with Mrs. Goncharuks story:
"They [the Russian soldiers] were asking for cigarettes, then they asked, Do you have a radio, and they said, Give it to us," she said, explaining that the four women and two men were sent back down into the cellar after handing over their valuables.
"We hadnt even sat down," she went on, "then they began throwing grenades into the cellar and shooting. We all were crying and suffocating, the smell was unbearable. We were crying out, we could not see anything but they continued to shoot.
"We said, Guys what are you doing? We are civilians. They stopped shooting and they said to come out of the cellar. Our legs and heads were wounded and we could hardly move but we got up, supporting each other.
"The first out were two Russian women, Luda and Natasha. We were standing inside the garage over the cellar and they started shooting at point blank range. The others were twisting in pain.... Natasha was lying dead already....
"There was one old man with us. His head was covered in blood.... Then they started firing again.
"If I had looked up I would have been shot. I opened my eye just a little bit, all I saw was the muzzles of their guns and their boots."
Two hospital beds down from Lena Goncharuk was another victim of the Russian "liberation." Unlike Goncharuk, Hedi Makhauri, a 40-year-old Chechen mother, had not been trapped inside besieged Grozny; along with tens of thousands of other refugees, she had fled to neighboring Ingushetia.
With Russian troops establishing themselves in the capital, and the Russian bombing and shelling apparently over, she had thought it safe to go back and check on her house. Paul Woods report briefly recounts her ordeal:
"They said it was a liberated area," she said, frail and thin, clutching her hospital sheet to her chin, telling us that when she got to her street, she and two other Chechen women saw Russian soldiers loading stolen goods from the houses into one of their armoured vehicles.
"They took us to the armoured vehicle and they said to go inside. We were afraid as they put blindfolds on us. We said, Why, we are not criminals, we have just come to see our houses. They said it was orders.
"They said they would take us to the police headquarters, but they just took us around the corner. It was just ruins all around. Me and my neighbour were clutching each others hand. We said: Why are you taking us here, there are no police here. They said: Just wait, they will come.
"The other woman said, Take whatever you want, we have children, just dont kill us. They made us go into one little room. They just shot her in the head. She didnt even have time to say, Let me go. They just shot her. Hedi said that the Russian soldiers were tugging at the gold ring on her finger.
"It slipped off just as they decided to get a knife to sever her finger and the ring along with it. They also took her ear-rings and her money, 400 roubles, about £8.
"Then they put an old mattress over her body, poured petrol on, and lit it. The mattress was wet and did not catch light, only smouldered as they walked away. If I cried they would have killed me," she said.
"They said it was a liberated area"? Where did Hedi Makhauri and many others less fortunate than her get such calamitous disinformation? Why, from no less an authority than Vladimir Putin, then the acting president of Russia. Mr. Putin appeared on Russian national television on Sunday, February 6, 2000, to announce that the last stronghold of the Chechen "terrorists" in Grozny had been taken and the Russian flag had been hoisted over the smoldering ruins of the capital. "Thus, we can say that the operation to liberate Grozny is over," declared Putin.
The seven-year campaign of genocide against Chechnya has been largely invisible to the outside world. The Russian armed forces and security services have successfully kept most of the Western media and humanitarian-aid organizations out, while, at the same time, preventing refugees from escaping with eye-witness details of the brutal subjugation. "Let us call it by its real name," wrote Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby on October 28, 1999. "What Russia is committing in Chechnya is the mass murder of civilians.... And not only is the West failing to rise up against his [Putins] bloodbath, it is actively helping to finance it," directly through U.S. foreign aid to the Russian government, as well as indirectly via the U.S. taxpayer-funded International Monetary Fund.
Tragically, far too few of Mr. Jacobys colleagues in the Western media have shared his outrage over the ongoing slaughter in Chechnya; the coverage of Putins campaign of terror against Chechen civilians has been sporadic and the condemnations tepid. Since the September 11th terrorist attacks, criticism of the Chechen pogrom has all but evaporated, as the Bush administration has rushed to embrace Russia as our valued "ally" in the war on terrorism.
New York Times correspondent Bill Keller typified this response in an October 6th article, in which he stated: "We need the Russians now, as we needed Stalin once, and if that means our president pulls a punch on the subject of the indiscriminate civil carnage in Chechnya, I can live with that; the punch had no muscle behind it anyway." Mr. Keller and other pragmatists of his ilk can apparently "live with" patently immoral policies like genocide, turning a blind eye to the unpleasant bloodletting as long as the perpetrator advances the globalist agenda of East-West convergence.
On November 23rd, the Times offered an even more startling re-evaluation of Russia as NATOs new partner in the war on terrorism. Aleksandr Rahr, a scholar at the German Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Berlin, told the Times: "What changed radically on September 11th was the complete disappearance of Russia as a threat to Europe. Its completely gone." The German CFR is a sister to the American CFR, this countrys "ruling establishment," and Mr. Rahr was trilling the same convergence theme as his U.S. counterparts. Mr. Rahr, along with other European and American CFR one-worlders, advocates a full, lusty embrace of Russia against our new common enemy.
One of the most enthusiastic advocates of this policy of NATO-Russia embrace is none other than Lord Robertson, the current NATO chief. "We sense very strong indications from President Putin in recent weeks that he wants to change the way that Russia does business," the November 23rd New York Times quoted Robertson as saying. "We take that at face value and we will work on that basis," he continued. "The Russian response to the terrible attacks on the United States," he said, "has been the reaction of a real and genuine friend." "In the past," said Robertson, "we were divided by walls and fences and by ideology and by armies. Today the threats to the Russian people are very similar, if not exactly the same as, the threats to the people in the NATO countries and the West."
Does Lord Robertson, the head of the Wests military alliance, truly buy the Kremlin line that the pounding of Chechen cities and villages into rubble, the rampant slaughter of civilians, and the driving of hundreds of thousands of refugees into camps, neighboring provinces, and foreign exile are the same as fighting terrorists who carry out acts like the 9-11 Black Tuesday attack? Whether or not he truly believes it, Robertson is definitely retailing that line with a passion. "To utter such nonsense, a top Western official has to be either a closet Communist or one of Lenins useful idiots," says Christopher Story, editor and publisher of the authoritative London-based Soviet Analyst.
One of the most reliable analysts of Russian affairs and a keen observer of British power politics, Mr. Story clearly believes Robertson to be of the former category. "Look, Robertson was well known in Britain as a former Communist trade union agitator when Tony Blair picked him to be secretary of state for defense," Story told The New American. "Blair is to the left of Clinton and has been clear over in the Kremlin camp all along. The September 11th attacks have given him the opportunity to advance his pro-Moscow agenda while appearing to be pro-military, pro-American, and anti-terrorist." Story points out that when a member of parliament queried the British Fabian Socialist Society concerning charges that certain members of the Blair cabinet were members of the socialist group, the secretary of the Fabian Society publicly confirmed that 20 of Blairs 23 cabinet officials were indeed members in good standing with the organization. For over a century, notes Story, the Fabians have played a crucial role in implementing Marxist-Leninist policies in the British Commonwealth.
"Lord Robertson the former Communist is quite obviously a continuing covert Communist who is enthusiastically implementing the continuing Soviet strategy against the West from the highest office in NATO, no less," warns Story. "What makes this even more troubling is that Robertson was appointed NATO secretary-general following Javier Solana, a former Spanish Communist, who shared the same love affair with Moscow. Solana has now been transferred to a key position within the European Commission of the EU [European Union], where he and his fellow radicals are working in concert with Robertson, Blair, Germanys Joschka Fischer, Italys Romano Prodi, and other subversives to convert NATO and the EU completely into an oppressive Soviet collective."
The Russians have always been master chess players, reminds Story, and they have been playing the terrorist gambit very successfully. "If the people of the West do not wake up soon to this fact, we will soon be in checkmate," he warns.
Covert Strategy, Deadly Deception
The Russian war against Chechnya is, of course, central to the current U.S.-Russian embrace as allies in the war against terrorism. For the Russians and their CFR apologists in the U.S., it provides an important test of the American publics gullibility: Can the slaughter in Chechnya credibly be equated to our current war against Osama bin Laden? After all, as the CFRs Mr. Rahr claims, the Russian threat is "completely gone," and were both fighting against Islamic extremists, right? Or as Lord Robertson put it, we both face "very similar, if not exactly the same" threats.
The chess pieces were being positioned to produce American acceptance of this preposterous notion long before the suicide attacks of September 11, 2001. In December 1994, Boris Yeltsin ordered Russian troops, tanks, and air power into Chechnya to fight what he claimed were "terrorists" and "bandits." Soon the term "Islamic extremist" was also being applied to the Chechen opponents. For months the Russian army appeared pathetically inept, demoralized, barbaric, and incapable of subduing the Chechens. However, after grinding much of Chechnya under its tank tracks and killing 100,000 civilians, the Yeltsin regime negotiated an accord to withdraw Russian forces, while negotiations would continue toward a settlement of Chechnyas status by the end of 2001.
The most penetrating (and what has also proven the most prophetic) analysis of the 1994-96 Russian-Chechnyan War was written in February 1995 as a memo from Soviet defector Anatoliy Golitsyn to CIA Acting Director William O. Studeman. Published in the 1995 edition of Golitsyns book The Perestroika Deception, the memo marshaled important evidence and observations supporting the contention that the Chechnyan War was being "deliberately staged largely for Western consumption by the Kremlin strategists in the pursuit of their objectives."
What hidden objectives could the Kremlin strategists advance by a controlled operation that showed the Russian military performing so poorly and the Russian military leaders quarreling amongst themselves? Mr. Golitsyn, himself a former elite KGB operative amongst the Kremlin strategists, listed many important objectives, including:
The Russian military bungling was intended to "demonstrate that it can be discounted as a serious military adversary for the foreseeable future."
This message was "intended to influence US Congressional debate on the subject of Russias military potential and the size of US forces required to maintain a balance with it."
The message could "also be used as a pretext for deepening the partnership between the US and Russian armed forces by seeking American advice and help in reforming, reorganizing and retraining the Russian army in order to enable it to serve a democratic system."
The Chechnyan events also "enabled the Russians to play especially on European fears of destabilization in Russia" and "injected a further boost to the European desire for partnership with the democratic forces in Russia."
This partnership would lead to "entry into European institutions" and then "East European and eventually Russian involvement in NATO."
As usual, Mr. Golitsyns cogent analysis has proven prescient as well; all of the above objectives, and others he mentioned, have been advanced on the Russian chessboard to a frightful degree. And, as usual, Golitsyns warnings and analyses have been ignored and supressed by the CFR insiders dominating U.S. policy-making positions, Establishment think tanks, and the press. (See the sidebar.)
Russias New Front Man
Mr. Golitsyn suggested that the Chechnyan "crisis" might be "a possible planned prelude to a change of government," replacing the spent Yeltsin team with a new set of rotating faces. "Since an outright military or nationalist government [in Russia] might prejudice the flow of Western aid and the continued cooperation with the West which furthers the strategists interests," he said, it is likely that the Kremlin strategists wielding the real power behind the scenes would replace Yeltsin with a team comprised of a tough new president and a "reformist" prime minister. "The President would be presented as a guarantee of Russian stability while the Prime Ministers task would be to ensure the continued flow of Western aid and the continuation of cooperative operations."
Enter Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the Russian "hero" of the Chechnyan pogrom. President Putin, the current player sitting in the Kremlins big chair, may seem in charge of moving the Russian pieces around the board, says Christopher Story, but he is merely the current front man for the covert Communist leadership collective that has continued to rule Russia since the Soviet Unions supposed collapse. Mr. Story is perhaps the worlds leading proponent of Golitsyns thesis that the "Soviet collapse" was a controlled deception, planned many years in advance, for long-range strategic purposes.
Mr. Story, whose publications have closely tracked developments in Chechnya as well as the rise of Putins star, derides the government and media experts for falling all over themselves to come up with explanations for Putins meteoric rise. "Vladimir Putin has been a lifelong Communist and asset of Soviet intelligence," first of the KGB, and then of the GRU, Soviet military intelligence, he told The New American. "And the Chechnyan crisis that raised him to the national and world stages has been completely an operation of the successor Russian intelligence services. If you follow the Russian-Chechnyan events and Putins career its very clear that he was hand-picked by the Kremlin strategists for his current role."
Shooting Putin to prominence was a spectacular string of 1999 apartment bombings in Moscow and other Russian cities that left hundreds dead. Yeltsin had appointed Putin prime minister, after serving a stint as head of the FSB, the current acronym for the KGB. Putin then strode on the scene vowing to bring the terrorists to justice. He quickly identified the perpetrators as Islamic extremists from Chechnya and soon launched a new massive invasion reducing Grozny to ashes and corpses. Heralded by the KGB/FSB-directed government organs and media as the strong man who had redeemed Russias honor from the ignominy of the 1994-1996 Chechnyan War and ended the terror bombings, Putin was elected "president" in March 2000.
USA Today reported on March 27, 2000 that Putins win "capped an incredible rise to power by a man who had never before stood for election." The Los Angeles Times reported that prior to his victory over the Chechens, "few thought the mousy, soft-spoken former spy could convince a majority of voters to elect him president."
Christopher Story has pointed out that Putin was able to solve the terrorist bombings "because they were very simply provocations perpetrated by covert Soviet intelligence operatives to provide Moscow with a pretext for an official re-entry into Chechnya. I say official because Russia never really relinquished control when it supposedly left in 1996." Other analysts, investigators, and reporters around the world have reached some of the same conclusions. Many major mainstream media organs have acknowledged that the Putin regime has produced no evidence substantiating that Chechens were behind the Moscow bombings. Moreover, it has been fairly widely reported that strong evidence indicates that the FSB actually perpetrated the bombings. Many news groups have reported that after the fourth major bombing in September 1999, local police foiled a fifth bombing when they arrested terrorists planting explosives in another apartment complex. The terrorists turned out to be FSB agents.
According to Soviet Analyst, the Russians did not merely seize an opportunity (the 9-11 attacks) that happened to coincide with their long-range objectives; Putin and associates actually planned and carried out the terrorist deed using assets connected to bin Laden in Chechnya. The publication, which, like Anatoliy Golitsyn, can boast an uncanny accuracy on major Russian developments unmatched by the media-anointed Russian experts, has pointed out a number of important facts that support this theory. Among them:
Land-locked Chechnya has long been one of the most completely controlled areas of the former Soviet Union, surrounded by Russia and Georgia, run by the faithful Communist Edward Shevardnadze. It is thus one of the safest venues to carry out a false Islamic revolt.
The huge Soviet strategic military base and air base at Mozdok near Ingushetia has been using Chechnya as a "live warfare" laboratory and training ground, preparing for further strategic warfare in the region.
The Chechen opposition has been completely controlled and compromised with false leadership, notably, with the likes of Djokhar Dudayev, a former Soviet air force general, accepted by Moscow as the representative voice of Chechen independence.
The Russian armed forces and security services repeatedly released their controlled Chechen opposition, or allowed them to escape, to carry out repeated provocations.
During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, an estimated 50,000 young Afghan males were removed from Afghanistan and transferred to terrorist training camps in Chechnya, Tajikistan, and elsewhere to be filtered back in subsequent years as fighters in the ranks of the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and the Northern Alliance.
Utilizing its client regimes in Iran, Sudan, Iraq, and elsewhere in the Middle East, Russia has supported the "Islamic" terror network while making it appear that it is itself under assault from "Muslim extremists."
As usual, says Christopher Story, the Communist strategists in Moscow have used the "principle of reversal," lying audaciously about the true situation in Chechnya. "Putins claims that Russia is under attack from bin Ladens forces, just like the U.S., is a complete reversal of the truth," he says. In reality, he notes, "the evidence is far more persuasive that his al-Qaeda contacts in Chechnya and neighboring areas have been used to coordinate provocations that will provide the image of a common enemy." If this analysis is correct, and it appears to be, then the United States and the West have embraced as allies in the war on terrorism the engineers and perpetrators of the global terror offensive.
Predictions of an Ex-KGB Agent by William F. Jasper
Soviet defector Anatoliy Golitsyn predicted the rise of a false Soviet reformer like Gorbachev, the removal of the Berlin Wall, the unification of Germany, and the restructuring of NATO.
In 1961, in a dramatic escape under cover of a blinding snow storm, a major in the Soviet KGB defected to the United States. He was no ordinary KGB agent; he was an elite officer working within the "inner KGB" a super-secret strategic planning department that plotted long-term Soviet strategy against the West. He is probably the most important Soviet defector ever to have reached the West. His name is Anatoliy Golitsyn.
Golitsyn warned that KGB moles had penetrated the CIA and virtually all other Western intelligence services and that many defectors were actually double agents feeding strategic disinformation to the West. For more than four decades, Golitsyn has been providing methodical analysis of developments in the Soviet Union and of Russian initiatives and operations throughout the world that has proven uniquely accurate. He has been explaining patiently that the Communist strategists who ran the Soviet Union continue to run Russia today. Following Leninist strategic principles, they are engaged in a deadly long-term war against the West. Foremost among their objectives is to convince Western leaders that Soviet Communism has collapsed and represents no further threat to the world.
Golitsyns amazingly prophetic book, New Lies for Old, was published in 1984. His main predictions included details of the forthcoming false liberalization of the whole of Eastern Europe, followed by similar developments in the Soviet Union. He predicted the rise of a false Soviet reformer like Gorbachev, the removal of the Berlin Wall, the unification of Germany, and the restructuring (if not abolition) of NATO. He even went so far as to specify that a "Break with the Past" process would start in East Germany, with the opening of its borders as it turned out, to neighboring Communist countries. That was very remarkable: Golitsyn knew that the process would start in East Germany, and it did.
Author Mark Riebling, in his important 1994 book entitled Wedge: The Secret War between the FBI and CIA, conducted a careful analysis of Golitsyns predictions in New Lies for Old. He found that out of a total of 148 predictions, 139 had been verified by 1993 "an accuracy rating of 94%." No other Soviet expert even comes close. Golitsyns 1995 book, The Perestroika Deception, continuing in the same tradition, offers unparalleled information and insight. Our leaders continue ignoring his proven wisdom to our own great peril.
sounds like the same crap stories told by our radical anti-American traitors here -- we just call them - kerry-ites (for now).
I would file this under the "War is Hell" category.
I don't see a single thing in here to indicate any systematic use of terror. Wanton killing of Russian women may be an atrocity and a war crime, but I fail to see how such acts would terrorize Chechens.
Perhaps you missed "Christopher Story has pointed out that Putin was able to solve the terrorist bombings "because they were very simply provocations perpetrated by covert Soviet intelligence operatives to provide Moscow with a pretext for an official re-entry into Chechnya. I say official because Russia never really relinquished control when it supposedly left in 1996." Other analysts, investigators, and reporters around the world have reached some of the same conclusions. Many major mainstream media organs have acknowledged that the Putin regime has produced no evidence substantiating that Chechens were behind the Moscow bombings. Moreover, it has been fairly widely reported that strong evidence indicates that the FSB actually perpetrated the bombings. Many news groups have reported that after the fourth major bombing in September 1999, local police foiled a fifth bombing when they arrested terrorists planting explosives in another apartment complex. The terrorists turned out to be FSB agents."
"Putin is a good Christian, I'm a Putin apologist PING!!!" ;)
"it has been fairly widely reported that strong evidence indicates that the FSB actually perpetrated the bombings."
I wouldn't be surprised. In a country where over 100million were murdered, what do the lives of children mean to a former KGB agent looking to consolidate his power?
PS Please read this interesting article:
"Postmodern Jihad: What Osama learned from The Left"
I am not normally a fan of the John Birch Society but this will give you something to think about.
This reminds me of the cries of "The Jews are responsible" leveled by some of the lunatic fringe following the world trade center attacks.
Sorry, but I just flat-ass don't believe that.
I'm sure that you are sincere, but frankly, it sounds just like a lot of stuff I've read about George Bush being behind 9-11.
In other words,time to break out the tin-foil hat.
It would seem the Chechen Ministry of Foreign Affairs agrees with the article:
Chechen Republic of Ichkeria
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
PRESS-RELEASE: TERRORISM IN RUSSIA IS ORGANIZED AND MANAGED BY THE RUSSIAN SECURITY AND MILITARY INTELLIGENCE SERVICES FOR PROPAGANDA AND SCAPEGOATING PURPOSES
Terrorism in Russia is organized and managed by the Russian security and military intelligence services for propaganda and scapegoating purposes. We do not think that the latest bombing in Moscow is an exception to this rule.
The fact that Russian security services in committing terrorist acts in Russia and elsewhere occasionally use their agents of Chechen origin does not make the Chechen people and the Chechen government responsible for the Kremlin's dreadful crimes. The Chechen government will not, under any circumstances, accept violence against civilians and civilian objects. We repeat that we condemn terrorism in all its forms.
We regret that the western governments fail to see that it is Russian governmental structures that organize these terrorist acts and that it is Russian agents that carry out these terrorist acts. There is a plenty of evidence to this.
For instance, Mr. Khanpasha Terkibaev, an ethnic Chechen serving for the Russian Secret Service and who is one of the main organizers and direct participant of the hostage taking in the Moscow Theater Center at Dubrovka in October 2002, is a clear proof that terror in Russia comes from the Russian government.
Mr. Khanpasha Terkibaev even after the hostage taking has continued to work for the Russian state structures, including the deputy head of President Putin's administration Mr. Vladislav Yuryevich Surkov and Putin's aide Mr. Sergei Vladimirovich Yastrzhembsky. As the hostage taking ended in killing not only Russian but also western nationals, we believe that western governments should no longer close eyes to Kremlins role in terrorism. "
See, for instance, Anna Politkovskayas article in Novaya Gazeta, issue # 30, 28 April 2003.
For more on this issue, go to:
We Are The Next Target
Terrorists In Muslim Disguise
The "Chechen Republic of Ichkeria"?
Is this some kind of joke? Does this outfit have any more credibility than the Jamhaa Islamiia or any of the various flavors of terrorist orgainization going around slitting throats and killing children?
For that matter, why are you carrying water for terrorists?
And why are you allowed to remain on this board?
John, you are the one carrying water for the terrorists. Why are you so hell-bent on defending the terrorist KGB?
I thought another country was behind 9/11 - that country will be glad to hear another is being outed -
What of the theater?
I've read(and seen) the Russian side of events in the area of which is spoken - Their story also told of "war crimes" - only being carried out by the other side. Much more horrible than the story "told" by the woman. Who to believe - ?
What a friggin' joke The New American is.
Just "freedom fighters" are they?
Sheesh!!! We actually have a terrorist supporter on Free Republic!
MEMO TO CIA FROM KGB DEFECTOR, ANATOLY GOLITSYN, 1 FEBRUARY 1995 (Taken from his book, Perestroika Deception, Edward Harle Limited, 1998, ISBN 1-899798-03-X, pp 224-225).
THE EVENTS IN CHECHNYA EXPLAINED IN TERMS OF RUSSIAN STRATEGY
The events in Chechnya, like the events of August 1991 and October 1993, have been deliberately staged largely for Western consumption by the Kremlin strategists in the pursuit of their objectives. One indication of this is the timing of the events. Chechnya declared its independence from Russian in 1991. Yet for three years the Russians did not react, other than ineffectually. Why did they do so only at the end of 1994?
Independence for Chechnya is a wholly artificial concept. Although my own sympathies are for the Chechens, their territory has no direct access to the outside world The Chechens lost half their numbers in exile under Stalin. By 1994 50% of the population of Chechnya were ethnic Russians. Russians control the pipeline to Noverossiisk, giving them powerful leverage in the area. Given these circumstances the idea of a serious Chechen independence struggle is a non-starter.
Equally artificial is the Russian choice of method for dealing with Chechen aspirations. The Yeltsin Government inherited over 70 years worth of Soviet experience of dealing politically and militarily with nationalist opposition in the Republics. Yet it chose to wield an enormous military sledgehammer to crack a small nut in Chechnya, when the only rational way to handle the situation would have been the path of negotiation leading to a peaceful settlement as in the case of Tatarstan.
In earlier Memoranda I suggested that the confrontation between Yeltsin and his then Vice-President Rutskoi and the parliamentary Speaker Khasbulatova confrontation which culminated in the televised bombardment of the White House in Moscow [a new kind of Reichstag Fire: see page 163] was contrived by the strategists with Rutskoi and Khasbulatov playing the role of provocateurs. The release and amnesty granted to Rutskoi and Khasbulatov after a ludicrously truncated period of imprisonment was consistent with their having played such a provocative role.
Frequent press mentions during December 1994, in the Chechnyan context, of Khasbulatov, himself a Chechen, provided a possible pointer to provocation there: he could well have played a role behind the scenes as an advisor to the Chechen Fighters. Another pointer to the likelihood of provocation ins Dzhokhar Dudayevs own background. Like Shevardnadze in Georgia and Aliyev in Azerbaijan, Dudayev is a former Communist. He is also a former Soviet Air Force General.
The conduct of the Chechnyan operation raises a number of questions. For instance: why, given the vast military and secret police experience at their disposal, did the Russians choose to dispatch in to Chechnya in the first place, inexperienced young Soviet army draftees who put up a poor performance in front of Western television cameras? Why were the Russian special forces who, for example, captured General Pal Maleter during the Hungarian upheaval of 1956, too inept to capture any of the Chechen leaders? How did the Chechen Fighters come to be so well armed? Why did the army and Ministry of the Interior troops not take immediate action to surround the city of Grozny and cut off the one route which remained available for the movement of Chechen Fighters and supplies in and out of the city centre?
Why, with their huge preponderance of firepower, did it take the Russians so long to capture the Presidential Palace, the symbolic centre of Chechen resistance? Why, before the Palace fell, were its Chechen defenders, according to their own accounts, allowed to leave, taking their Russian prisoners with them, so that they were free to continue the struggle elsewhere? Why was the bombardment of buildings in the centre of Grozny conducted with what Chancellor Kohl described as senseless madness? And why, as the Chechen fighters took to the hills, was a local guerrilla leader willing to receive a Western journalist in his own home in a mountain village without disguise, providing his full name and a history of his family? [The New York Times, 20 January 1995].
I am skeptical about much of the Western press and television coverage of Chechnya. In the first place, coverage was restricted by various factors. For example, Western access to Russian troops engaged in the operation was severely limited according to John Dancey, the NBC News correspondent in Moscow, speaking on the Donahue-Pozner Program on 12 January 1995. The bombardment itself was a powerful disincentive to intrusive journalism, and reporters obviously cannot be blamed for their inability to provide a coherent account of the fighting which took place in the centre of Grozny.
The important general point is the Western press and TV representatives reported the events as Westerners observing what they took to be a real conflict in a free society. It is not their fault that they were not briefed concerning the possibilities of provocation along Communist lines. Hence they were not looking for evidence of mock confrontations, faked casualties of planted information. The prominent Western reporters themselves, though courageous, appeared young and lacking in experience as war correspondents.
Nevertheless, some revealing items surfaced in the coverage. For example, the New York Times reported on 15 January that some of the least serious of the Chechen fighters would parade before the cameras at the Minutka traffic circle. That report prompted questions as to how many serious Chechen fighters were actually involved in action against Russian troops. Another report insisted that the last Western reporters had left the area of the Presidential Palace, where the murderous fighting was concentrated and that Chechen fighters were no longer able to move easily to the south of the city in order to brief journalists about what was happening. It seems therefore that there were no Western eyewitnesses of the final battle for the Palace, and that much of the evidence on the fighting was derived from Chechen fighters, whose reliability the reporters were no position to assess.
Two Western reporters were killed during these events. Though these deaths were reported as accidental, the fact is that the Russians would have no compunction about eliminating Western journalists if they thought they might be liable to expose their provocation. It was no coincidence that 40 Russian rockets were targeted at, and hit, Minutka Circlewhich up to that moment had been favoured for meetings between journalists and fighters. Almost certainly, Russian officers who told journalists that they had arrived in Grozny without maps were briefed to tell this tall story. A Russian General who was shown on television going through photographs taken by reporters, said the pictures they had taken were useful because they helped him to assess what was going on in Grozny. In all likelihood, he was checking to make sure that the photographs taken by the reporters conveyed the images the Russian wanted conveyed for international public consumption.
The spectacular and continuous bombardment of buildings in the centre of Grozny, many of them probably empty, struck me as deliberately designed to monopolise television cameras, replicating in many ways the Reichstag Fire bombardment of the White House in Moscow in October 1993.
Inevitably, the detonation of so much high explosive was accompanied by casualties. But the actual number of casualties was probably limited by the departure of many inhabitants of the centre of Grozny before the bombardment started in earnest. As early as 7 January 1995, the Red Cross reported that 350,000 people had fled from the fighting, a figure equivalent to over 80% of the population of Grozny. It would be interesting to know to what extent the authorities encouraged or arranged the evacuation of central Grozny before the bombardment began.
Verification of casualty number is the most difficult problem. According to Dudayev, cited in The New York Times of 12 January, 18,000 Chechens had already died, a figure which the reporter said seems exaggerated. Casualty figures for the Russian army quoted in The New York Times of 17 January varied from 400 to 800 killed. Again there is no knowing whether these figures were exaggerated or minimized. The Russian authorities are reported to have delayed the admission of European observers interested in verifying numbers. Even if they were eventually to arrive on the scene, such observers would be unlikely to be able to check the numbers allegedly buried in mass graves. Total casualties will probably never be known with any certainty. From the Kremlin strategists point of view, casualties are inevitable during this kind of operation and a necessary price to pay of the attainment of defined strategic objectives.
This thread is a waste of bandwidth.
So, you draw some sort of moral equivalency between George W. Bush, and the ex-head of the KGB?
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