Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
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The Guardian (UK)
28 November 2001


Russian army officers who commit human rights abuses in Chechnya will be encouraged that Lord Robertson has "come to see the scourge of terrorism in Chechnya with different eyes" (Nato pledges to reward Putin, November 24). Military leaders and "hawkish" politicians in Russia have long justified these abuses - which include massacres, rape, torture, and punitive raids against civilians, according to Human Rights Watch and various Russian NGOs - on the grounds that they are "fighting terrorism". Lord Robertson is encouraging them, and his pathetic qualifier that he still "disagrees" with Russian handling of the war will soon be lost sight of.

The Russian government has this month started talks about talks with some Chechen leaders and the "hawks" who gain politically or financially from continuing the inhuman conflict are badly in need of pretexts to do so. Robertson's shameful pronouncement is music to their ears.

It's a good time for anyone who still believes that the US-UK "war on terrorism" is guided by any sort of moral imperative, rather than by power games, to think again.

Sheila Malone,
Campaign to Stop the War in Chechnya
Bruce Kent,
CND, and five others

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