How Russians are Misinformed About Aslan Maskhadov?
We present you an informational leaflet of Russian Anti-War Club that written in 2007. These leaflets are being distributed among passerbys during anti-war meetings in Moscow. It is written for Russian readers and oriented initially on them, but we think that it is enough informative and could be interesting and helpful everybody, not only for Russians.
How We are Misinformed About Aslan Maskhadov?
Five years ago the President of Chechen Republic of Ichkeria Aslan Maskhadov was killed by Russian security services. He was killed on March, 8, in Chechen village Tolstoy-Yurt (Doykur-Evl). Russian authorities and mass-media which are under control of the Kremlin, called Maskhadov as a “bandit” and “terrorist”. Russian society, mostly doesn’t have alternative information, believed their misinformation. Governmental mass-media didn’t call upon Maskhadov himself to speak, thus his real point of view is unknown for most of Russians.
– They tell us that Maskhadov wanted the war. This is not true.
Aslan Maskhadov: “Half an hour is enough for two presidents to meet each other, to give an end for this bloodshed and this terrible war, come together for an agreement, i.e. stopping terrorism, bloodshed and humans suffering. My arguments, my ambitions, if you want, are in one thing only: guarantee of security for Chechen people, and nothing more. I’m ready to let Russia have all other things”.
“What conditions should be for these negotiations? No conditions should be. As it is written in Istanbul Summit decision and Parliament Assembly of Council of Europe resolution: stop fire immediately and sit around the negotiation table without any preliminary conditions”.
“Why Russia still doesn’t have definite relations with Chechnya? And why it doesn’t make Chechens its allies in the Caucasus? It will be the bigger benefit for Russia, I’m sure. I’m absolutely sure that I could find mutually acceptable solution with any politician, if he is really worried about Russia and Russians. We want very much to have peaceful, strong relations with all surrounding nations, and, first of all, nations of Russia, as soon as possible”.
In January 2005 Aslan Maskhadov declared the unilateral cease-fire: “It is a gesture of goodwill, an attempt to demonstrate the adherence to the peace and call Russian leadership to the reason. From my point of view, the processes which is taking place in the Caucasus now, lead to catastrophe. In such a difficult military-political situation, Russian-Chechen war becomes the detonator of uncontrollable, destructive processes with unpredictable consequences for all nations of the Caucasus and Russia, I regard as my human duty for undertaking the maximum efforts to prevent coming chaos and to call the Russian side to stop this mad war at the negotiation table, <…> to prevent real treat not only for my people but for all peoples of Russia and the Caucasus. Demonstrating the adherence to the peace, Ichkeria’s leadership once again appeals to the Russian Federation leadership and declares: ‘The bloodshed is sufficient! We, Chechens, are open for real political dialog with the Kremlin without preliminary conditions’. Nevertheless, I’m not sure that President Vladimir Putin is reliably informed about the fact in which deep abyss of catastrophe Russia and entire Caucasus are being pulled. I believe that political steps of the presidents of Russia and Ichkeria can determine this bloody massacre. That’s why my appeal is turned primarily to the Russian president, and after it, of course, to all people whose conscience is not degraded finally. If the sensible mind of our Kremlin opponents prevails, we will end the war at the negotiation table, otherwise the blood, probably, will flow for a long time, but we will take off from us the responsibility for this craziness continuation”.
– They tell us that Maskhadov organized the terrorist acts. This is not true.
Aslan Maskhadov spoke about Beslan: “Yes, it is a tragedy, it is a sacrilege. Such methods have nothing in common with Chechen people and Chechen mujahedeen’s struggle because it has not the justification. Me and mujahedeen who struggle with guns against the occupant troops – all of us are sincerely indignant by this fact. We express our sincere condolence to the relatives of the killed children, and also apologize to Ossetian people, regardless who took or will take responsibility for this tragedy and regardless were Chechens there or not”.
“On September 3, in the morning, at the day of the school storm, my representative in Great Britain, Zakaev, talked by phone with Dzasokhov (Ossetian president). We was sure that negotiations will begin and that we will be able to be mediators. Knowing Russia, its leaders and methods of Russian security services well, we was ready, endangering our lives, become mediators and save all children”.
“If Russian leaders so strongly want me to lead such terrorist acts, then they are unlucky. It will never be. I cannot do it, and my mentality does not allow even adequately come to such methods. We don’t need concessions from Putin, we don’t want to enforce Putin to stop the war at the price of small children’s lives”.
“Such methods have nothing in common with the struggle of Chechen mujahedeen, because even highest ideals of struggle for the freedom don’t justify death of the children”.
“<…>when the war come to an end, we will officially pass to the International tribunal all people who implicated in the crimes against humanity, including Basaev, who is suspected in the seizure of hostages in the theatre on Dubrovka (“Nord-Ost”) and the school in Beslan. And before it, I will oppose to him and other commanders in the performing of any acts against civilians of Russia. If Basaev has obeyed to my order about the cease-fire, I will consider that I achieved success in the affair of many terrorist acts prevention, which are unacceptable for our side”.
Aslan Maskhadov spoke about “Nord-Ost”: “Since this time Shamil Basaev is not a member of the armed forces of Ichkeria. Our disagreements, based primarily on his choice for methods of warfare, that is unacceptable for Chechen side, are secrets for nobody. Basaev thinks that he has right to use methods with which I principally cannot agree”.
– They tell us that Maskhadov controlled nobody and nothing in Chechnya. This is not true.
Aslan Maskhadov: “Not all force actions, but resistance against to the Russian federal troops is performed under centralized command. They told about us, that there is not a discipline and centralized command. But how it is possible, if nobody obeys, fighting against such a big army during one, two, three years? Even hardly controllable ones among us realize that it is only possible to win a victory over such an army by only common efforts, only be together and only when we have a command. We declared openly that we started the partisan war. All this is performed with my knowledge, I give the orders and instructions. And suicide attackers, kamikazes are driven by hatred, revenge and will of the Almighty. I could not command to some my fighter to sacrifice his life to kill 100-200 hirelings, since our fighter lives are more dearly”.
– They tell us that Maskhadov was an enemy of the Russian people and called to kill all the Russians. This is not true.
Aslan Maskhadov: “I don’t really regard this war as a war between Chechens and Russians. I regard the Russian people as a victim of the false propaganda which is affirming that Chechens are wild animals, that all troubles of Russians are because of Chechens, that they invented false letters of advise, they are mafias, they are terrorists, they are bandits. And Russians believe in it. And it is the reason why absolutely unknown person, new for politics person suddenly becomes the president. But I think that no Chechen, including me, ever thought that we are fighting against Russians. We indeed don’t fight against the Russian people, we fight against occupants”.
“If someone remember, during the previous war, on the contrary, I was saving Russian soldiers and officers and passing them to their mothers. I’m not a murderer, don’t compare me with Shamanov, Kornukov, Grachyov, Sergeev (Russian generals). I’m not an executor, I’m the president of my people and the guarantor of my people security”.
Why it is important to disprove these propagandist cliché of official Russian media? Not only because the truth is important itself, as means to re-establish a good name of a person who was groundlessly blamed in all sins. The truth is important for the future, because the Russian leadership has a habit to repeat periodically its own mistakes. The negotiations and collaboration with Maskhadov was just that thing which could lead to the strong peace in the Caucasus. Today’s cultivating in Chechnya the semi-criminal totalitarian regime and indulgence towards its crimes in exchange for loyalty to the Kremlin cannot lead to the peace. It can lead only to the another escalation of the war.
*The text was translated from Russian to English by Aminat.