#21 - JRL 7015
Chechens say West's leniency emboldened Moscow to expel German group
Source: Daymohk news agency web site, Baku, in Russian 13 Jan 03
13 January: An incident that took place at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport could be considered a lesson given to the West by the Russian authorities. Three German citizens - the founder of the humanitarian non-governmental organization Cap Anamur, Rupert Neudeck; the former labour minister in the Helmut Kohl government, Norbert Bluem; and well known publicist Guenther Wallraff, who had arrived in Moscow on tourist visas, were detained at passport control at the airport and sent back to Germany.
[Passage omitted: Western media report growing scandal in this connection; profile of the humanitarian NGO]
The day before his arrival in Moscow, Wallraff had told German media that he was going to go to Chechnya.
[Passage omitted: this statement was reason for the deportation]
Later on, explaining the motives for the actions of the Russian side, Rupert Neudeck said: "As is known, the Russian president `asked' the OSCE mission which was dealing with Chechnya-related issues to leave the country. He did this during the New Year holidays, when Western politicians do not particularly want to protest. He very obviously does not want independent observers - or observers at all! [exclamation mark as published] - to know what is actually going on in the Caucasus region. Everything is happening under the cover of the fight against global terrorism. Our deportation, obviously, corroborates this unwillingness to have witnesses."
[Passage omitted: Neudeck says he believes the Russian authorities do not want foreigners to report what is happening in Chechnya]
As is known, among the European heads of state, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is distinguished by the greatest loyalty to the Russian leadership. The actions of the Russian special services with regard to his country's public figures - which could only happen on [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's direct instructions, or without his tacit approval - testifies to the fact that the Kremlin is not particularly worried about the possible discontent of the German side.
One can assert that Moscow behaves in such a way towards the rest of the European countries as well. The reason is simple: the Russian authorities feel that they have been given a free hand in Chechnya by the West and are not embarrassed to deport prominent representatives of international humanitarian organizations.
This incident is a consequence of the West's already too obvious policy of double standards towards Moscow' actions in the North Caucasus. While the Russian leadership, at times taking artful diplomatic steps, still invariably insists on continued all-out terror in Chechnya, pragmatism is increasingly evident in the West's policy to the point of immorality which gradually brings to a total abstraction the humanitarian values of the democratic world. This gives more reason to characterize it as "so-called". [Signed] Ilyas Tsakayev, 11 January 2003