Monday, May 08, 2017

Notes

My Twitter notes, made while reading the Introduction to Terror in Chechnya, by Emma Gilligan:

"Grozny’s civilian population was trapped in a city devastated by a conflagration not seen in Europe since World War II." - Emma Gilligan

"Yuri Luzhkov, the mayor of Moscow, suggested building a wall around Chechnya to protect Russia from terrorists. "Despite five months of bombing and guerrilla warfare, the situation in Chechnya remained largely ignored by the world."  Chechnya is the site of one of the worst human rights catastrophes of the post-Communist era, comparable with Rwanda and former Yugoslavia.

In spite of this work, there has still been no international investigation of the crimes committed, and the role played by racial prejudice.

 Rereading Emma Gilligan's important work on human rights violations in Chechnya 1999-2005

There needs to be a public discussion of what Russia did in Chechnya, and the consequences it brought both to Russia and the world at large.
Chechens were dehumanized with racially bigoted language - “blacks”, “bandits”, “terrorists”, “cockroaches” and “bedbugs”.
Russian propaganda pictured the entire Chechen people as terrorists and "bandits" - and civilians were indiscriminately abducted and killed.
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The Russian pretence: not massacring a population but conducting an "anti-terrorist operation" - to give it international respectability.
The hostage-taking and suicide bombings practised by the separatists against Russian civilians were also war crimes.
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The Second Chechen War coincided with the rise of Russian nationalist propaganda and the establishment of the Russkiy Mir (Russian World).
Chechens were victims of Putinist Russia's reassertion of national and ethnic identity, quest for a new Russian destiny, still continuing.
“After 9/11, Chechnya ceased being a post-Soviet phenomenon and became an issue between the West and the Islamic world." - Akhmed Zakayev
"We did not seek this role, it was bestowed on us by the West’s policies." - Akhmed Zakayev
The West traded acquiescence in Russia's HR violations in Chechnya for Russia's acquiescence in US HR violations in Iraq and at Guantanamo.
There is presently a need for a nongovernmental international commission of inquiry on war crimes in #Chechnya.
Emma Gilligan has made a detailed study of the Zachistka of 2000-2002, in which the Chechen population was humiliated and subjugated.
The Zachistka was a campaign of collective punishment, with torture and ill treatment of civilians in local communities.
The purpose of the Zachistka was to uproot and destroy those communities, thus weakening resistance.
In her book, Emma Gilligan also examines the practice of enforced disappearances as a method used by Russian forces to eliminate their enemy
There is also a chapter on the refugee crisis of 1999-2000, when c. 250,000 Chechens fled into the tiny neighbouring republic of Ingushetia

The refugees were denied the basic rights linked to their status, as the Russian govt assured the West that all was returning to normal.
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On radical Chechen retaliation to Russia's assault - the hostage-takings and suicide bombings did little to advance the radicals' cause.
On reaction of Russian civil society to war in Chechnya by individuals like Sergei Kovalev, Svetlana Gannushkina, Anna Politkovskaya, others
There was extensive activity by Russian civil society, in spite of FSB pressure, to contest the war and monitor the human rights situation

But the international community failed to secure Russian compliance with UN resolutions, and the pressure was eased progressively after 9/11
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Discussing Chechen human rights cases at ECHR, Gilligan shows the lengths that Russia was prepared to go to in order to conceal its actions.
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Gilligan: a detailed list of all current and past investigations into human rights abuses during the two Chechen wars needs to be compiled
A database must be compiled and a survey made to begin the process of determining the no. of civilians who have died in Chechnya since 1994.
A comprehensive documentation project, like the one made by the Kosovo Commission, is needed showing depth of crisis.This is an urgent task.
Emma Gilligan: Terror in Chechnya (Human Rights and Crimes against Humanity) Paperback – 1 Dec 2013 amazon.co.uk/Terror-Chechny…


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