Al Jazeera English Aired a Tv Show on Chechnya
On March 2, Al Jazeera English aired a tv show on current political situation in Chechnya. Professor Mohammad Adal Shashani, the Vice President of the World Chechen Congress, was one of the speaker.
The discussion programme was aired live as an episode of Riz Khan Show with “Chechnya’s Forgotten War” title at Al Jazeera English on March 2 at 20.30 GMT. The speakers of the tv show were Mohammad Adel Shishani, the vice president of the World Chechen Congress, from Amman, Jordan; Professor Emma Gilligan from the University of Connecticut who specialises in Soviet history and human rights and genocide from Hartford, US; and from London, UK, Frank Judd, who just visited Chechnya as part of the British parliament’s committee on human rights.
The discussion was moderated by Riz Khan and besides his questions, there was a call-in questions period for televiewers.
Mohammed Adel Shashani was the first speaker of the panel discussion. He gave a short answer to Riz Khan’s question: “How stable in Chechnya? How well whole thing is together?”. Mr Shashani said: “Well, in my opinion it is not whole thing well together at all. We hear all this news about the economic development that Ramzan Kadirov has initiated in Chechnya, but on the other side concerning human rights and the self-expression is completely prohibited. And unemployment they say almost about 70% and only people who are working, they work in the government of Kadirov. So the war is still continue on, the freedom fighters are in the mountains and they mount attacks now, and, then if there is war going on and there is no peace in the country because people are not happy with what is the going on. If the dissident is not allowed, then what is the use of having high buildings or high price buildings or nice streets or what you have? The whole idea of the war in Chechnya was for self-determination and for an independent Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. So the people of Chechnya will determine their future, they will determine what they want to do their government and so on…”
Riz Khan said “the regime of Ramzan Kadirov is often describing as a new Soviet dictaship” and gave Emma Gilligan’s words. Professor Gilligan said: “Yes, I think that is an extremely authoterionism regime set up in Chechnya. There is absolutely no doubt about it. Ramzan Kadirov has his private army. The main concern of human rights activists is secret detention, is torture, and more instrumentally he is inability to be able to control the situation. The underground movement does continue to conduct attacks. There is quite concern about the lack of freedom of association and the press…”
“Yes, the buildings is very impressive, the mosque is striking, amazing, how they built it in two years, that makes the reality disturbing. Targeted assasination, detention centers, torture, the burning homes of people” said Lord Judd.
Professor Mohammed Shashani continued, “I really don’t think that Kadirov even tries to contact or approach people who disagree with him. He only pulls around who agree with him completely and dissident is not allowed at all. If you disagree with him, then you are against him and punishment will be following that action. So you know he is not open to anyone who is liberal as Lord Judd said that he visited Chechnya recently and asked to see Kadirov. But Kadirov declined to meet with him and his company, why? Because Lord Judd is going to criticize him and he knows the position of Lord Judd is defending of human rights of the Chechen people…”
“Chechnya is more stable than when I was the seven years ago, but It is an unreal stability based upon the fear… Open criticism is not accepted. We had a big meeting at a university hall. 700 students, you might say wonderful except, clearly the questions were planned, clearly as I have got it. People was very careful about not raising a spontaneous issues. The whole thing was very cleverly controlled. It was a shame…” said Lord Judd about his recent visiting in Chechnya.
At the last part, Mr Shashani said, “The main problem has been in fact self-interest of the Western governments including the USA. They looked at Chechny as a small problem on the side that compares with interest of Russia. They figure out that, you know, let Russia what they ever want to in Chechnya and will be better of that way. I would like to go back in fact point out what the problem is not Kadirov himself. Who is Kadirov? Kadirov is nothing but the puppet of Moscow, you know. The Chechen people didn’t fight for seventeen-eighteen years until today so that Moscow appointed Kadirov to Chechnya. The Chechen people have been fighting for the right of self-determination, they want to govern their own affirm, they want to have their own independent Chechen Republic… We do not want to Moscow appoint our rulers, we want our people to elect our rulers and then we will decide our future!”
The full video of the discussion panel is available at our website: HERE.