PRAVDA.Ru correspondent Ilya Tarasov interviewed Duma Deputy and Deputy Chairman of the Legislation Committee Valery Vorotnikov,br> What is your version of the Kaspiisk tragedy? As for me, I have heard several versions already. Some people say it was a revenge for Khattab, and some even suppose we are on edge of a new Caucasus war. What is your opinion of it?
Under the present-day conditions, it is difficult to formulate an answer to the question. It was a foolish terrorist act. Nobody claims responsibility for the terrorist attack. It is also difficult to say what kind of reaction was expected from the political leadership of the country. It is impossible to define whether or not the act was revenge or not. Political terrorism in the world is the way for some organizations to influence the political leadership of a country. At that, the organization claims responsibility for the terrorist action and makes its demands.
The Kaspiisk explosion caused much indignation in society, and, as we know, this was not the first explosion of this kind; similar ones had sounded in Moscow. Tje goals of the people responsible are not clear. Did they wish to spread panic and fear among the population? I cannot even guess who expects to profit from it. What is more, the government does not even guess which of its actions cause the displeasure of the terrorist organizations.
It is correct that all militants involved in the terrorist attack are to be found and liquidated. It is the only reasonable way out.
What is your professional opinion of the activity of Russia’s special services in Chechnya? Are their actions correct or not? Some people say that there are only militants in Chechnya, and it is impossible to establish contacts with anyone.
It is not right to call the whole nation a terrorist. A nation can not be a terrorist. To my mind, the recovery in Chechnya is to be done the following way. First, it is necessary to complete the search for armed guerrilla groups, because today’s situation cannot last forever. Second, all possible conditions are to be created for local people to strengthen their positions among the authorities. The Chechen people should be allowed to settle problems with their enemies by themselves.
As long as we stay in Chechnya, we will be treated as a target for terrorists. That is why local power loyal to the federal authorities and wishing to restore normal life is to be established in Chechnya.
Do you think Chechen terrorists exert influence on the government of Dagestan?
Dagestan has already proved by real actions that it does not support Chechen extremists. Actions on Dagestan’s territory demonstrated important role of the Dagestan army in the expulsion of terrorists from its territory. I believe tjat the recent terrorist act has made the Dagestan people even closer regardless of the fact towhat nationality each of them belongs. I know of the fact that the father of a terrorist rejected his son; the whole of the nation did so. This is a very severe punishment in the Caucasus. Today, I cannot say that some outstanding power exists in Dagestan to initiate disorders.
Why do you think Chechen guerrilla Shamil Basayev invaded Dagestan in 1992? Is it possible that some instruction was sent from Moscow, from president’s administration, to do so?
I prefer not to go deeper into the problem. We have no other objective information except for publications about Boris Berezovsky’s connection with Chechen militants. I do not think that some criminal directs terrorist attacks from Moscow, especially from the presidential administration.
As for Shamil Basayev, I know of some facts in the history when bandits were mistaken. This is like Hitler, who expected to find followers in his intrusion into the USSR. Everybody remembers perfectly well how the war ended.
Today’s situation in Chechnya is unfavorable for the organization of large-scale terrorist acts. The recent tragedy in Dagestan caused the deaths of many people and woe to many families, but, at the same time, it demonstrated that terrorist acts are the only means of struggle left for the terrorists. It can be also treated as an agony, that certainly does not diminish the pain.
What is the source of aid to the terrorists?
It is very likely that financing is provided within the network of the same line we saw before, I mean fundamentalism, Wahabbism. Jihad followers finance these operations. There are no other sources.
Do you think the death penalty moratorium is to be abolished?
The question belongs to a different sphere. Nothing depends on our desire. It is impossible to change history, to undo what is done. I hope that criminals will be justly punished.
How do you estimate President Putin’s policy in the Caucasus?
I can not give any estimates in this exact situation. My opinion, his actions are right concerning the current situation. Quite different solutions were to have been made to avoid the second Chechen war.
What would you wish to the Russian and Chechen people?
We all would like to go back to the happy time when no political conflicts occurred. I believe that this time will come. Not right now, because we, and the Chechen side especially, should work to achieve this result. We should think more about our children, who are to live after us. It is very important not to let our problems penetrate into the future.
Valery Vorotnikov was interviewed by Ilya Tarasov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/05/20/41388.html