In the Moscow airport Sheremetyvo, the first meeting between the president’s representative Viktor Kazantsev and the messenger of Maskhadov, driven into a corner, has been carried out. We were being gradually prepared for it, first with statements about its inadmissibility, then with declaring its inevitability. The contradictions of our politicians’ words testify to the lack of strict positions and principles where they are so necessary. Therefore, what was being discussed at the table with grapes and bananas? Nothing is known. It could be only supposed that the grapes had to provoke nostalgia in the militants’ representatives, while the bananas were there to remind them about warm countries where the bandits heal their wounds. However, Russia is not very interested in these psychological details. The sad experience of the contacts with the rebels makes us expect only negative results from these negotiations.
It is interesting that this time, as earlier, the Russian side was represented by generals who took upon themselves the Foreign Ministry’s functions, as if this institution does not exist at all. It would be better to show their worth on the battlefield, otherwise Chechen bandits would not have said in different international meetings, where they are so welcomed, that they twice won a victory over Russia.
Today, in Makhachkalam, where one of the most odious Chechen field commanders is being tried, it is time to remember that most of the “victories” were presented to him by the armchair militaries. For example, Barsukov, who leaded the operation of delivering hostages in Pervomaiskoye settlement and annihilating Raduev’s band, today explains his then helplessness with the fact that he did not expect the bandits to move so quickly. An eastern saying says “a snake coils even around a bamboo stick." The general seems not to know this wisdom. However, everything may be simpler: the smell of big money killed the smell of blood. Otherwise, why did Russian Marines at that time fire on Maikop special police groups? Why were dozens of units of battle equipment written off as if they were lost during crossing the same river Chechen donkeys cross without even wetting their knees? Why was officer who sold missiles and grenade launchers to the bandits not executed by shooting, by at once amnestied and released? There are many questions that still remain without answers, because too many people in power are interested in this silence. Unfortunately they still occupy the same posts instead of being kept in the cells with the bearded bandits.
The following question is especially important: why were official Chechen authorities not implicated in these secret negotiations with the representative of Maskhadov, who continues to threating Russians with chemical and bacteriological war? Kadyrov and Gantamirov, who made their choice and could be honoured for it, suddenly turned out to be out of the governments plans. And not only they, because they have many supporters: what should they feel knowing about this spectacle that is very similar to a treason?
It is an illusion that Basaev or Gelaev would lay down arms and start to plough. A person who uses s Kalashnikov submachine gun both for obtaining bread and for amusement will never prefer a peaceful labour. It is not by chance that such negotiations are usually carried out on the threshold of winter, when the militants intend to rest in warm houses before their native hearths. Even conscripts could say that legalized militants are wolfs in sheep’s clothing, who from time to time raid check points or attack Russian families at night, who have miraculously remained in Chechnya.
Peace in Chechnya is only a mirage on a hot day. Therefore, those who suppose that an end should be put to the terrorists are right. Any negotiations with such “man eaters” could signify only a new war’s start, which is each time celebrated by Chechens with the murder of Russians.
The bandits driven into a corner show a white flag. However, their representatives should be met in the ruined city of Grozny abd not in a comfortable VIP hall. Maskhadov seems to pose as a president without country. He does not enjoy authority even among the bandits similar to him. Bandit leaders are acting independently: Gelaev is receiving medical treatment in a hospital of Tbilisi, Khattab is intending to return home, while crippled Basaev is dreaming about his villa he has built during pauses between the military raids.
Experienced hunters know that a dying animal is dangerous up to its last breath. This should not be forgotten by potential peacekeepers dreaming about the fame of such scoundrels like general Alexandr Lebed (today’s governor of Krasnoyarsk region) or Boris Berezovski.
Andrei Cherkasov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2001/12/10/34682.html
In a weary world of endless US military interventions, sanctions, trade tariffs and chaos, let’s pause and take stock of the shining house on the hill