Putin “captured in Chechnya.” Remarks on CIS jubilee summit

The 10th summit meeting of the Commonwealth of Independent States has come to a close in Moscow. It passed off rather quietly and gently. The CIS member countries’ presidents signed two communiques, “Of the Situation around Afghanistan,” and “In Connection with 10th Anniversary of the Commonwealth’s Formation.” CIS’s future remains dim. The summit’s results could be best characterized by the words by the Russian head of state: “the CIS is going to become either a discussion club or an efficient mechanism of rapprochement and integration.” What if those words had been uttered some 10 years ago! It is already for a decade that the commonwealth has existed, and it still makes no headway. Generally speaking, the summit failed to justify expectations. In particular, it was expected that some document would be adopted on the concerted actions against terrorism. Of course, there was a discussion on terrorism at the summit, but there was no specific document issued. President Putin accused President Shevardnadze of terrorism, while the Georgian leader accused Mr. Putin of same. So, the summit was overshadowed by Russo-Georgian discord. Mr. Shevardnadze relentlessly spoke of the recent “bombing of peaceful Georgian villages” by the Russian aviation. Mr. Putin “reciprocated” asserting that Georgia was harbouring Chechen terrorists. In particular, Mr. Putin asked Mr. Shevardnadze about the bombing’s victims (in his view, if there have been no victims, there may have been no bombing). A clumsy incident occurred with the Russian secret services’ performance. It was announced at the meeting that notorious warlord Hattab’s deputy had been captured in Chechnya (Mr. Hattab’s deputy was called Abu Sayakh). Yet, this information left the audience unimpressed (the Russian secret services must have been aiming at Mr. Hattab who is well known to the public, but, apparently, missed the target). Instead, journalists had a chance to laugh to their hearts’ content at the meeting. Russia’s official news agency ITAR-TASS an express-telegram broadcast a report saying literally: “In Chechnya Hattab’s deputy captured, Putin.” It could have been gathered from the report that Mr. Putin had been captured in the rebellious republic together with Mr. Hattab. Happily, the news agency soon came out to clarify its ambiguous report saying that Mr. Putin just informed the audience of the fact. Also happily, international news agencies had no time to distribute the “sensation.” Otherwise, the world would have been left guessing: who was that man welcoming CIS member states’ heads in the Kremlin? The genuine President Putin or his double? Anton PONOMAREV PRAVDA.Ru

Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2001/12/01/34425.html