Monday, March 29, 2010

Moscow Metro Murders

The appalling terrorist attacks in Moscow yesterday morning need to be loudly condemned. However, if indeed these murders were committed by Chechen insurgents, as appears very likely, the Russian response should not be more violence against Chechnya of which there has been more than enough since 1994. A different approach is needed to isolate the extremists.

In 1995 while living in Moscow, a close friend, extremely Westernized and who eventually went on to be a reporter for a major Western newspaper, admitted that her feelings about Chechnya were to put fence around it and its people and let it suffocate. That feeling is likely to intensify now. It would be a mistake to translate such an emotion, arising from the first Chechen War launched by Yeltsin, into policy.

Perhaps a first step would be for Moscow - and especially PM Putin - to take another look at the criminal, murdering thug that was put in charge in Grozny. Ramzan Kadyrov is, quite simply, a lunatic who has showered his own people with terror, advocated a second Russian invasion of Georgia, a new invasion of Ukraine and otherwise calls on Russia to "liquidate" the threats that Ukraine and Georgia represent to Russia.

Prime Minister Putin put him in charge. A change of leadership in Chechnya might be a place to start to isolate the murderers on the metro and eventually destroy their ability to function. It's not as if Putin doesn't call the shots.
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