Lord Judd’s Ideological Crisis

It seems that the chief  western “expert” for Chechnya Lord Frank Judd has exhausted his political resources, his services are no longer indispensable for Europe. In any case, Council of Europe Commissioner for human rights Alvaro Gil-Robles is going to visit Chechnya personally to inspect the situation in the republic and watch preparation for a referendum on Chechen Constitution. What about Lord Judd? Let’s get back to the onrush events of the past days.

At the last winter session of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg Lord Judd declared his intention to resign from the posts of co-chairman of the Duma-PACE workgroup and to give up activity as the main reporter on Chechnya. He said he made the decision because the Assembly didn’t support his initiatives. Lord Judd offered that the European Parliament should adopt a resolution which would officially declare that a referendum on Chechnya constitution must be postponed to a later period than March 23. But PACE with a majority of votes passed a compromise amendment which required no postponement of the referendum. At the same very period head of the Russian delegation Dmitry Rogozin said it was Russia’s “big triumph”.

However, almost the next day Lord Judd changed his mind and said his words were misunderstood.

“I made only one declaration, and the Council of Europe published it in the form I delivered it to the Assembly,” Lord Judd told journalists. “What I actually said was: my conclusion is clear – no valid referendum can be held on March 23. If the referendum still takes place on the scheduled terms and I fail to persuade the Russian authorities to accept my arguments, then the only way out for me will be to resign. I will have then to quit the posts of co-chairman of the Duma-PACE workgroup for Chechnya and to give up my work of the main reporter on Chechnya. Later, wrong information was spread in Moscow to report that I was going to resign.”

But Dmitry Rogozin didn’t share this opinion. Russian newspaper Trud published a report of the Duma chairman for international affairs and leader of the Russian delegation in PACE where he dotted all “i’s” and crossed all “t’s” with respect to human rights activist Lord Judd (the publication is called “If Decided to Leave, Do. Lord Judd’s Ideological Crisis”). Dmitry Rogozin spoke about Lord Judd’s rash “resignation” and his soon return. 

“There is a nice joke: what is the difference between an Englishman and a Jew? The right answer is as follows: an Englishman can go away without saying Good Bye, but a Jew may say Good Bye, which at the same doesn’t mean that he will leave indeed. Sometimes the time turns some rules into prejudices. Last week, my colleague Lord Judd seemed to have informed his colleagues of resignation from the post of PACE reporter for Chechnya problems and from the post of co-chairman of the Duma-PACE workgroup. However, he hastily refuted his statement on Monday: he said he was misunderstood. He explained that he said he would have to resign from the posts if the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly didn’t demand that Russia must give up the idea of a referendum in Chechnya to be held on March 23. Let’s imagine the fate of Lord Judd as co-chairman of the Duma-PACE workgroup if PACE excluded this demand from the text of the resolution. In  fact, the motives of his decision are deeper.”

So, Lord Judd’s report on Chechnya delivered in PACE quite naturally won a negative estimate in Russia. And we are even more optimistic about the fact that the Parliamentary Assembly didn’t let Lord Judd push itself around. Chairman of Russian People’s Party Gennady Raikov emphasized that the European Parliament “has finally understood that Lord Judd was leading them astray.” In Raikov’s words. “the Russian delegation managed to prove this fact. Now the whole of the world knows the truth about the events in Chechnya. Common sense prevailed.”

But common sense prevailed over Lord Judd. However, it’s no wonder that some people in the West set up a howl in connection with the problem and try to show to themselves and to the whole of the world that the situation was different in fact. For instance, political scientist Ilya Milstein said in an interview to Deutsche Welle that “the old ideologist is simply tired of debating with the cynics; he is tired of insulting, of being misunderstood and of the hopeless situation. Lord Judd’s rushing about is quite understandable. His duties of the PACE reporter on Chechnya explain everything. It is his fate to find a way out off an absolute deadlock and be beaten from all sides. His Russian partners who are successfully making up their career on  the Chechen war override Lord Judd owing to the historical tradition that was formed in the times of Chamberlain already.” 

So, it seems that Lord Judd is a poor, poor creature. Certainly there are some people in Russia who are also very much sympathetic toward the lord. Alexey Arbatov from Yabloko faction, deputy chairman of the Duma defense committee and the Commission for assistance in political regulation in Chechnya, said in an interview to Moscow News newspaper that “the resolution adopted by the Council of Europe concerning Chechnya was rather amorphous, this is the reason why Lord Judd had to resign.”

Let’s get back to Dmitry Rogozin’s statements. What is the key motive of Judd’s resignation that so much resembles a panic escape from a wooden ship that run against iron mountains?

Dmitry Rogozin thinks, “the main reason of rushing about of the respected colleague is the crisis of his approach to solution of Chechnya problem and to understanding of international terrorism. And the crisis arose not yesterday. Indeed, Russia’s delegation in PACE, and me personally as the leader of the delegation suffered from unfriendly attacks from several European parliamentarians in connection with the Chechnya problem. You remember that once we even had to slam the door in the Palace of Europe. But it is much harder to explain our electors why we need to be in the Council of Europe if we are treated insultingly there? But now we can speak about some positive result of our work. The most important fact is that we have learnt the language that we must speak with our European colleagues and know how to convince of the truth of our approaches. My opinion is that the joint Duma-PACE workgroup was working effectively. With its assistance a political dialogue was initiated in Chechnya. However, on that very stage the workgroup came across overwhelming contradictions. Frank Judd insisted that it was impossible to hold a referendum as people “upon whom it depends whether peace will be restored in Chechnya” wouldn’t participate in the referendum. I’m not inclined to suspect my colleague of malicious intentions, because he was not the only one who was mistaken. But several foreign journalists and politicians named terrorists that seized the theatre building last autumn in Moscow “armed dissidents” and “people who captured hostages”. And this is at the time when all over the world “any people who commit criminal acts against public security and take hostages, who scare the population and cause people’s death so that to exert pressure upon authorities” are always called terrorists. Lord Judd unfortunately had to admit that he had no, and unlikely to get in the nearest future, any evidence of a dialogue being established between the Russian authorities and these terrorists.  But we understand perfectly well that no other third party can exist under conditions of a strong armed resistance. Aslan Maskhadov, to whom Lord Judd is still so much sympathetic, is currently side by side with those people whose criminal and terrorist activity is obvious to everyone. Our opinion is that if he actually gets money from some foreign sponsors and discusses his terrorist activity with them, then in addition to Lord Judd it is prosecutor who must deal with him.”

As we see, Dmitry Rogozin thinks Frank Judd was mistaken, rather than carried out some intentional policy. If so, the situation of Lord Judd is even harder right now as he cannot admit his mistakes.  But at present, these mistakes are perfectly evident.

Sergey Stefanov

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Author`s name Michael Simpson