CHECHNYA: OLIVIER DUPUIS ANSWERS PUTIN’S ACCUSATIONS
Turin, 6 February 2004. “After the attack on the Moscow underground, Vladimir Putin, as was to be expected, immediately accused those who have signed ‘appeals coming from abroad’ in support of a reasonable, peaceful alternative to the endless military and terrorist slaughter of the war in Chechnya of complicity with the terrorists.
It is worth recalling that there is only one appeal which comes “from abroad”, and that it supports only one proposal - the Akhmadov-Maskadov plan for an interim UN administration in Chechnya, after the withdrawal of the Russian troops and the disarmament of all the Chechen rebel forces.
This appeal has been signed by 145 Members of the European Parliament, dozens of leading international personalities - including Sergei Kovalev, Elena Bonner Sacharov, Lev Ponomarev and Alexander Podrabinek, who were fighting for democracy in Russia when Putin was still a KGB official - and thousands of members of the general public all over the world.
It is also worth recalling that those in Russia who claim that a ‘negotiated’ solution would represent a defeat or a surrender to terrorism use the same arguments used by the extremist Chechen minority to isolate and delegitimise President Maskhadov. Both parties know that the continuation of the ‘terrorist war’ is what allows them to maintain the status quo and legitimise their power.
It is now even more important to be clear and to support a single position, both towards the Russians and towards the Chechens. As I pointed out in an interview with the Chechen Times due to appear in the next few days: ‘Even if, and this is the most optimistic military hypothesis, the [Chechen] resistance manages to defeat the Russian forces and expel them from Chechnya, it would be a victory without a political future, because it would lead only to the even greater isolation of Chechnya, so that - as happened in 1996 - no country would be willing to recognise it.’
The only solution that can guarantee both a victory for Russia – by arresting the serious erosion of democracy - and a victory for Chechnya - by introducing a mechanism that will allow freedom, the Rule of Law and tolerance to take root - is the internationalisation of the peace process through the establishment of an interim UN administration.”