25. Aug. 2004
Weapons will not solve
the problems in Chechnya
Democracy is about dealing with crises not avoiding them.
When it comes to Chechnya, Russia will not be able to solve
the problem with weapons only.
In the case of Chechnya autonomy is the best pragmatic
solution. But if Russia wants Chechnya to stay within
Russia the Chechens will have to feel at home in a Chechnya
which is a part of Russia.
It is clear that the conditions for having an election do
not really exist. People are afraid, they do not dare to
speak their minds. But I want to go there, because every
chance there is that could be used for working on a
solution, should be grasped. And any election is such an
Russia is a member in the Council of Europe and president
Vladimir Putin wants to be an european leader and wants
Russia to be a European state.
But it is clear that Russia's actions in Chechnya are not
according to european standards and that is something the
Council of Europe has pointed out several times to him.
Trafficking of people florished and there was a state of
lawlessness. Nothing functioned. That is something the
chechens themselves acknowledge today. But that is not an
excuse for the Russian invasion in 1999, which was totally
out of proportions.
President Putin is not a totalitarian ruler or stupid. He
said already in 2000 that he is aware of the fact that a
political solution is needed for Chechnya.
But, he continues, what you mean with a political solution
is not understood in the same way by everyone. Leaders who
come from a country with a past under totalitarian rule do
not view it in the same way as leaders with a different
I have learned that as Putin understands a political
solution, it is about imposing his own view on the