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Andrei Novikov: The Origins of Terrorism

[Here on this blog, I try when I can to bring in as many Russian voices as possible, whether it is our anonymous polittechnologist, Grigory Pasko, Stanislav Markelov, Lev Ponomarev, Oleg Kozlovsky, or one of the many others. Toward this end, today we are running the following essay contribution from Andrei Novikov, the young journalist and commentator who was interviewed by Pasko after being committed involuntary to punitive psychiatric confinement for publishing articles critical of the government. – Robert Amsterdam] frenchterror062208.jpgTERROR – IN FRENCH AND IN RUSSIAN? By Andrei Novikov It is interesting to recall the origin of the word TERROR. It literally signifies a “horrible fright”. It first appeared during the time of the Great French revolution. There, the word “terror” (the concept of “terrorism” didn’t exist yet) was applied for signifying STATE REVOLUTIONARY terror in order to intimidate the stratum of society whom they regarded as enemies of the people. A “friend of the people”, the French revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat sent people by the thousands to the guillotine – and this was called terror. A thoroughly positive state practice.

In response Jean-Paul Marat he was killed by the terrorist Charlotte de Corday – true, nobody called her a terrorist. They called her a conspirator. Although nowadays they would call her a terrorist.In that time there also took place royalist conspiracies, and uprisings, and people threw bombs into carriages, but nobody called this terror. The modern concept of “terrorism” – for signifying an insurgent, conspiratorial, national-liberation, revolutionary armed struggle – was absent.What was called terror then was the POSITIVE STATE policy of the revolutionary French government to decapitate the counterrevolution and intimidate all unwanted strata of French society.Today this would be called the punitive retributional activity of the procuracy.By the way, the Roman emperors conducted a policy of STATE TERRORISM, sending thousands of innocent people to death, in so doing seizing their property. When they deprive of life – they take away property as well. Confiscation – the companion of murder. The modern-day Russian state also conducts a policy of terror, intimidation, but in relation …to terrorists, extremists, those who think differently. Here we have with a differentiation or a layering, analogous to one as if though someone under the pretext of struggle with murderers …would be walking the streets and killing passers-by, seizing money from them. The Russian state is struggling with terror by the method of state terror. Moreover bringing under terrorism the protest groups of the population.What is interesting: the state is not forgetting for some reason confiscates the property of the so-called terrorists. Moreover the quantity of terrorists, subject to annihilation, is truly monstrous. After all, under terrorists are brought people with protest attitudes, those who think differently or those, who have found themselves in a hard situation.One can compare today’s policy of intimidation of society and the practice of the French revolutionaries: there is total similarity here!The difference is only in that the French state terrorists directly called the policy a positive terrorist practice, at the same time as today’s Russian state does not desire to call itself a terrorist. It considers “terrorists” those who come out against it. Its own policy it calls “counterterrorism”. Although this could be called “mutual terrorism”. The problem is that the scales of the state terror do not fit into any comparison with the scales of the victims of fringe terrorism.Terrorism as the practice of revolutionary-social groups started to take shape in the 19th century. A particular role in it was played by Russian revolutionaries. But this practice had nothing in common with the French “terror”, that is with the policy of the state to guillotine unwanted people. The revolutionaries threw bombs at tsars, killed the chiefs of city administrations, governors, raised national-liberation insurrections. Nowadays they would call this “terrorism”, but the practice of insurrections and extrajudicial punishment of tyrants, found in power, was in history always. Only in our days was all this practice generalized and called “terrorism”. It turns out that both the uprisings of Spartacus, and of Kosciusko, and the heroic exploit of Zoya Kosmodemianskaya, who perpetrated a daring terrorist operation in the rear of the enemy, can be called by the word “terrorism”.In the meantime, terrorists (the fringe ones) in all the history of humanity have killed all of several tens of thousands of people.The most large-scale terrorist act – this is the blowing up of the New York skyscrapers, which carried away three thousand lives.Several thousand bureaucrats, governors, policemen, and chance people died during the time of the SR terror from the year 1905 through the year 1911.How many died during the time of insurrections at the hands of terrorists-insurgents (for example Emelian Pugachev) is hard to say. But this is already not so much terrorism, but rather a variety of military actions.By the way, even summing up all the victims of terrorists in all ages, we will obtain a singularly small number. It does not fit into any comparison with state terrorism, which over the ages has taken millions of lives.This – is the terror of the Roman emperors, the terrorist policy of Ivan the Terrible, the horrifying terror of the Inquisition (perpetrated in the name of the church), this is the thousands of rotted, executed, forgotten ones under all despots, possessing state levers of coercion, including Russia, this is the victims of the oprichnina and the secret Ipatiev hut, the tsarist katorga and torture chambers, the terror of the Cheka and the NKVD, this is the victims of the terror of Mao Zedong and Pol Pot (the latter too – state terrorists).Unscrupulous people today identify state and societal terrorism as one. In particular, former president, and now economic manager V. Putin, talking about the horrors of terrorism, has garbled the acts and cites the policy of state terrorism of Pol Pot and Mao Zedong, Hitler and even the Stalinist terror.But tell me, what does the Stalinist state terror or the state terror of Mao Zedong or the state terror of Hitler have to do with such terrorist organizations as Al-Qaeda or the Chechen rebels?These are, after all, phenomena of completely different aspect!If one includes state terror in terror, then one must remember the actions of the Russian army and the special service of Russia in the North Caucasus. In fourteen years of war the Russian structures of power have killed there around 250 thsd. people. In response were killed …a bit more than 5 thsd. Russian military service personnel. Peaceful losses: 4 people at Nord Ost, died at the hands of terrorists (at the hands of the “mopper-uppers” – 125), individual passers-by on the streets. Twenty people in Budennovsk. And that is all! In all fourteen years of terror the Islamist terrorists annihilated among us… no more than 100 persons peaceful inhabitants (the bombings of the houses were not their actions). Agree with me that for a bitter war this is too little. The Russian army and the Russian special services in 14 years have annihilated a quarter million peaceful people in Chechnya and in the North Caucasus. I don’t know who is the terrorist here.The quality of the terror, carried out in official form, under the flag of the Russian state, likewise astounds: they tore children into pieces and threw for eating to dogs right before the eyes of the mothers. Massive tortures and murders of peaceful inhabitants were carried out. The militants too, of course, annihilated and tortured, but they did not torture peaceful people. They did not annihilate children. We do not know of a single case where the militants would have abused peaceful Russian people.These actions are enough for the western community to declare the regime in Russia criminal and people-hating.Russia has produced the practice of mass genocide and state terrorism, which must be condemned by western states, with all the consequences deriving therefrom.Relying on international law, western states must undertake in relation to the criminal Russian Federation actions, analogous to those, which were undertaken in the year 1999 against Yugoslavia.In consideration of the nuclear potential of Russia, against it may be invoked means, corresponding to this nuclear potential and all the operative possibilities of the West. (It is not a matter of unleashing a nuclear war, but of a blocking of Russian nuclear launch and missile delivery flight systems, including by way of a localized countervailing strike on the missiles, which the Russian Federation is capable of launching. The American anti-missile defense – this is indeed in part a first strike system, but a countervailing strike, and not a countervalue one, aimed at the annihilation in silos of the missiles of an unpredictable country, capable of launching them. Of course, it would be better if the blocking of the missiles of Russia took place in a political manner).I think it would be better if the Western community undertook in relation to Russia measures in accordance with international law. It is imperative that everything take place in as civilized a manner as possible.The recent events in Mitrovica, where the KFOR forces stormed the building of the Serbian court, in which Serbian judges and procurators had locked themselves in, gives us a picture of how NATO could act in Russia as well. Judges and procurators in a criminal state are transformed into criminals. And the question with them must be decided in accordance with international law.And the Russian people is going to have to decide, will it be together with its government or will it take some other path.Parts of our people, no question, have nothing to lose. For when the conscience is lost, there is nothing more to lose.Societal terrorism – a phenomenon deeply lamentable, but it will always be the consequence of state terrorism and despotism.I personally consider that it is completely impossible to defeat Russia militarily, while the revolutionary path only reproduce Russian despotism in a new form.Is there even any need to defeat Russia at all?Answer: unconditionally, yes. For Russia – this is a people-hating country, trampling on human rights, with totalitarian traditions. But I consider that a military or terroristic path is no good for counteracting the Russian totalitarian people. Military methods and operations can be only a part of political operations in relation to Russia, but in no way an independent means of influencing it.To defeat Russia is possible only with organizational weapons, cultural influence, orange revolutions.The senseless annihilation of people by terror needs to be condemned. Terror – this is not a way to resolve the Russian problem.