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Leaving the Caucasus, a Taboo Subject

chechnya072409.jpgOur friend Kerkko Paananen at the Finnish-Russian Civic Forum posts a translation of an article by Igor Averkiev which argues that Russia would be stronger, more secure, and better off if it pulled out of the Caucasus.  Averkiev wrote the article in January 2009, and by April, the local prosecutors in Perm opened a Piontkovsky-like case against him for inciting extremism from the article.  Given all the senseless violence ranging across Chechnya, Dagestan, and Ingushetia, capped off by the murder of Natalia Estemirova, Averkiev’s argument, though harsh, doesn’t seem all that extreme to me.

It is quite stupid to play the role of a “Big Brother” if there are no brotherly feelings on either side. It is even more stupid to support a whole nation in exchange for sham loyalty. It is utterly unbearable to burden oneself with responsibility for an alien way of life, for something that is unjust and horrifying to us, but quite normal to others.

As long as Chechnya is marked as being part of Russia, we are all –not just Medvedev and Putin — responsible for Kadyrov with his goldenpistol, for the oriental despotism called the Chechen Republic, for theunquenchable fountain of religious fanaticism, for the criminal gangsin police uniform, and for the endless political assassinations.

What do we need all this for? We have enough problems to solve inour own country, Russia, even without the “excesses” in Chechnya. Inour own country, — for the very reason that it is our own, — we have alot in our powers, we can actually do a lot, if only we had the will(which, for now, we have little). In Chechnya, however, nothing dependson our wishes by definition: it is a foreign country. Why pretend thatit is not so?

Photo credit: Ramzan Kadyrov, center, is the president ofChechnya and Terek FC, the Russian region’s top soccer team. (SaidTsarnayev/Reuters)  Posted on The New York Times.