Views of Chechen Refugees in Finland
Georgia’s Russian language television channel PIK aired a report from Helsinki about the views of Chechen refugees living in Finland.
According to the report, Finland is one of the European countries where Chechen refugees have settled.
Anastasia Khonyakina: “Here in Europe, Chechens feel relatively safe. That is why they speak openly on the cruelty that accompanied the Chechen-Russian war, and they all share the opinion that the Second Russian-Chechen war was different from the first due to the fact that the Russian army fought not against specific combat units, or more precisely, not only against them, but against the entire Chechen people, and that happened since the very first days of the war.”
Ruslan Kantayev, representative of the Finnish-Chechen society:
“The first attack using Russian cruise missiles was against innocent people who were trading in the market. The first land-to-land missile was about 12.8 meters long. There were 400 innocent unarmed children, women and elderly people killed there. With my own eyes I saw arms, legs, heads, pregnant women and the elderly lying around. It was all like that. A second missile hit a hospital.”
Anastasia Khonyakina: “Chechens say that Russian soldiers have often treated the civilian population as hunters treat their victims. This was clearly manifested in two situations that were very frequent in the war.
The first one was a “zachistka (ethnic cleansing)”. Every Chechen teenager knows what a “zachistka” is. Russian soldiers seized Chechen boys. Many of them are still missing. The Russians did not differentiate between women, the elderly and children. They robbed them, beat them, and killed them.
The second situation was the “corridors”. The Russian army gave way to refugees, allowing them to leave the republic. And at the same time they bombed and shot at them.”
Aslanbek Khanchukayev, representative of the Chechen diaspora in Finland:
“They said that ‘they were bringing constitutional order’, they said ‘everything was within the law’. I know very well what happened to me personally, to my family and to my friends. This is actually genocide. When I was young, 15-16 years old, I was repeatedly detained and tortured. They asked if I was an insurgent or took part in the hostilities.”
Anastasia Khonyakina: “The saddest thing is that the Chechens say the war has already ended, but the civilian population still does not feel safe. If a refugee here in Europe criticizes the Kremlin’s policy in Chechnya, he can pay for it with the lives or health of his relatives in Chechnya.”
*Text was translated by Waynakh Online and edited by Michael Capobianco