Statement by Nikolaj Khramov, secretary of the movement "Russian Radicals"

Moscow, April 13, 2004.

Today's kidnapping in Iraq of Russian civilian specialists (together with their Ukrainian colleagues) clearly shows that for the Iraqi terrorists - be it agents of Saddam's special services acting from underground or bandits of the Shi'a leader Muqtada al-Sadr - Russian citizens represent the same target as Ukranians, Japaneses and Americans. One can welcome Putin's proposal on realization of an international conference on Iraq similar to the conference on Afghanistan which took place in the past, because this proposal signifies a process of distancing from Chirak-Shroeder camp. However, there is an obvious lack of similar diplomatic proposals, and anyway they shouldn't be accompanied by hysterical statements from Smolenskaya square about the possible recall from Iraq of all Russian citizens working there.

Men and women of Iraq who not less than other people in the world deserve to live in conditions of freedom and democracy, today, as never before, need help. They should be sure that the democratic countries won't leave them to the tyranny of Saddam's butchers and Shi'a mullahs. Therefore, today Russia must send its troops to Iraq to help the international coalition whose aim is that Iraq's transition to democracy become a fact and, moreover, an irreversible fact. Moreover, not only Iraq and its people need it, Russia itself, which till now in torments is looking for its place in the world community of democracies, needs it too. The Russian troops, together with the partners of the Coalition of the Willing, must bring freedom and democracy to the people of Iraq, and not destruction, torture, arbitrary executions to the inhabitants of Chechnya (for the solution of their problems there is - I'll repeat - the same recipe as for Kosovo, East Timor and Iraq: an interim international administration, and it is desirable that it should be established under the aegis of the United Nations).

I'm fully aware: those who have the courage to express similar ideas in today's Russia, immediately risk to be subject to criminalization and political lynching from two sides - both on the part of imperial etatists and anti-Westerners of Nazi-Soviet sort, and on the part of "pacifists - human rights activists" who obediently and quite professionally follow Putin's propagandists pretending they don't see the difference between the second for one century genocide of the Chechen people and the struggle of western democracies against the fascist-terrorist International. However, somebody in this country must say aloud what many people - not a minority at all - think but for some reasons don't have the courage to transform these ideas into a clearly articulated political position which is so "unpopular".