Rebel site analyses Chechen-Russian stand-off over past six years
Source: Chechenpress web site, Tbilisi, in Russian 13 May 03
13 May: The peace accord between the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and the Russian Federation signed by presidents Aslan Maskhadov and Boris Yeltsin in Moscow on 12 May 1997 officially declared an end to the 400-year stand-off between Russia and Chechnya. Then it seemed to many that one of the bloodiest pages in the history of mankind was turned over. It was believed that Chechnya and Russia would overcome the tragic legacy of previous centuries and manage to establish good-neighbourly relations.
Unfortunately, optimistic forecasts concerning Russia almost never come true. In 1998, Russia adopted the budget for 1999, which envisaged expenses on the future war with Chechnya. This has been acknowledged by a number of high-ranking Kremlin officials. For instance, [head of the state construction committee] this was publicly admitted by Nikolay Koshman on 12 November 1999 in an NTV "Hero of the Day" programme.
The staging of an "insurgency" in Dagestan and attracting a certain number of Chechen volunteers gave the Kremlin the necessary pretext for the incursion into Chechnya. This is also acknowledged by the "hero of two Chechen wars", [former commander of the Combined Force in the North Caucasus] Col-Gen Gennadiy Troshev, in his book "My war. The Chechen dairy of a trench general". Following fast upon the heels of the Dagestani developments was a series of apartment blasts, which continued until their masterminds and perpetrators, employees of the Federal Security Service of Russia, were caught red-handed. But they did what they were supposed to do, because the phobia about Chechnya, skillfully inflamed by the official Kremlin propaganda, had already reached its culmination. And already, no-one was protesting at a new war with the Chechens, except for a handful of intransigent rights activists nurtured in the communist camps.
The peace accord signed six years ago between Chechnya and Russia is now being deliberately cast into oblivion by the Kremlin, as though it had never even existed. But it did exist and has not lost its importance even now, because it has done something the inhabitants of high Kremlin offices, who are mired in crimes against the people of Chechnya and Russia, are so afraid of. This agreement has set a precedent.
It has proved that peace between Chechnya and Russia is possible, that the animosity between our peoples is not insurmountable, predetermined by history and beyond the power of wisdom. This is something we have to keep in mind in our present tragedy.
Analytical department of Chechenpress.