25. Aug. 2004

Full text
in swedish

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 opportunity.

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 background.

I have learned that as Putin understands a political solution, it is about imposing his own view on the chechens.

Andreas Gross

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