Open Letter to Hans-Dietrich Genscher
Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a Russian oligarch, has arrived in Germany after his surprise pardon by the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin. Khodorkovsky arrived in Berlin, where he was met by former foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, who helped organise his chartered flight. The German embassy in Moscow had facilitated the trip, reportedly by fast-tracking his visa application. However, in his first interview, Khodorkovsky clearly showed that he has no difference in his opinion of Putin, except maybe a worse one. Due to this interview, a citizen of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria addressed Hans-Dietrich Genscher.
To: Hans-Dietrich Genscher, former Vice-Chancellor and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany
Mr. Genscher, I appeal to you as a citizen of the former Soviet Union and as a citizen of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria.
In 1989, the most significant event that has ever happened in the history of your country took place, the Berlin Wall was destroyed under your direct participation and Germany became a free country. I and all of my people truly applauded the happy new revival of Germany! Because, my people know what Freedom is! For over 400 years, Chechnya has been fighting for its freedom and independence! In all of our lives, at home, in society, in culture, in personal relationships, in wishes, we all connect with the word “Freedom”. We say “hello” in the Chechen language by saying “Come Free”! In any situation, for the kindest and most desirable wish, Chechens use “Live Free”!
In 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Chechen people elected Dzhokhar Dudaev as their President and Chechnya became an independent republic! In 1994, Russia attacked us with all its military power! The whole world followed the horror of these events! We were hit with the entire stock of the bombs and shells of the former Soviet Union which were exported from Western Europe, after the destruction of the Berlin Wall. Tanks from Europe smashed and destroyed our cities and villages! But we defended our Freedom! In 1996, Russia was forced to sign a peace treaty with us.
However, due to the resumption of Russia’s hostilities, the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria has been under the occupation of the Russian Federation since 1999. Today, hundreds of thousands of Chechens have to wander around the world, and want to live free! This is one of our problems and we hope to solve it.
Now, I want to turn to the reason why I am going to appeal to you. A few days ago, the whole world learned that the long awaited liberation of Mikhail Khodorkovsky occurred and he was reunited with his family in Europe, thanks to you and your efforts! During all these years, I, like you and all of my freedom loving people from the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, worried about Khodorkovsky and believed that he was put in jail on political grounds and considered him as a political prisoner! But, now, I have changed my mind and started to believe that Khodorkovsky is one of those war criminals who sponsored the war in Chechnya! Upon his release, in an interview, Khordorkovsky said that he considers the territorial integrity of Russia as a priority and he is ready to fight for it. “If the question is separation of the North Caucasus or war, I am for war. If you ask me specifically whether I wanted to fight, yes, I would go to fight. To fight for the North Caucasus. It is our land, we have conquered it. In the modern world, there are no lands that were not conquered by someone at some time in the past. And here’s the North Caucasus, it was conquered by us,” said Khodorkovsky!
Sir Genscher, the great Russian poet Alexander Puskin wrote a poem about the appointment of the governor of the Caucasus, the war criminal Yermolov who burned everything and everything in his path. In his poem titled “the Prisoner of Caucasus”, he said: “Watch out Caucasus, Yermolov is coming!”. I want to tell you by paraphrasing Pushkin’s words: “Beware Europe, Khodorkovsky is coming!” and end with the same words of Khodorkovsky to paraphrase: “. In the modern world, there are no lands that were not conquered by someone at some time in the past. And here’s the North Caucasus, it was conquered by us”. But Khodorkovsky couldn’t say such a thing! Or you don’t agree with me, Mr Genscher?
I wish you, and through you, all the German people a Happy New Year! I wish you happiness, peace and prosperity to you, your people and the entire European Union! Marsho Dekhiyla! Live Free!
With my respects to you and the people of Germany,
A citizen of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria
*Text was translated by Waynakh Online and edited by Michael Capobianco