Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Going in circles 

The Russian authorities have one more reason to be annoyed with Poland:

"Russia has strongly criticised Warsaw officials for naming a roundabout in the Polish capital after assassinated Chechen rebel leader Djokhar Dudayev.

"A statement by the Russian foreign ministry said the plan by the Warsaw city council 'causes indignation'. It said the move was 'an insult to the memory of the Russian victims of terror attacks... and an effective show of support for international terrorism'."
It has been a conscious Russian policy since September 11 to portray their conflict with Chechen separatists as part of the war on terror, in part to delegitimize by association the Chechens and their national aspirations, and in part to gain Western support for the Russian security policies in this forsaken corner of the Caucasus.

Dudayev, killed in a Russian rocket attack in 1996, was
neither an Islamist nor a terrorist. A former Soviet general, Dudayev was the first democratically elected president of Chechnia who declared independence from Russia in 1991 and three years later led his people in the first war of independence. Two brutal wars and God knows how many dead later (not to mention the Moscow theater siege, Beslan and other terrorist outrages), the situation in Chechnia is much more "nuanced" than it was in the past, yet it bears to remember that - to paraphrase Freud, sometimes a freedom fighter is just a freedom fighter.


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