Government / Moscow / Politics / Russia

Chechnya: Trafficking, Politkovskaya and the present-day Stalinist Gulag


I’d like to take a moment to talk about Chechnya.  Whenever this topic comes up, most responses follow the lines of: “what?”  “did you just sneeze?” or  “is that a place?”

Yes, ladies and gents, Chechnya is the short name for The Chechen Republic within the Russian Federation.

It is a republic plagued with violence and instability as they were one of many republics to claim independence after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, however unsuccessful.  Two Chechen wars have occurred within in the last 25 years and Chechnya remains part of the Russian Federation.  Separatist and militant groups exist throughout the region of the Caucuses.  Both sides of the war are at fault for many bombings, assassinations, guerrilla warfare, and human rights violations.

Your history lesson can be provided by Wikipedia: here.

It is an infitinely complicated situation that affects the entire region of the Caucuses.  Wars with Georgia, Dagestan, and spats in Ingushetia are [arguably] related conflicts.  To even attempt to describe it here would be a diservice to the nation, affected peoples, and active persons who fight for justice in Chechnya, Dagestan, and the Caucasus daily.

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News Round-Up

“Babies up for grabs in Chechnya.

Pravda. 02 November 2012.

“In Chechnya, the police exposed the gang that was engaged in child trafficking. The activities of the criminal group were arranged very well: the criminals had their people in a maternity hospital of the republic. Babies would be delivered to customers right from the hospital. The scheme was as follows. Medics would tell parents that their child was supposedly born with serious abnormalities. They persuaded the parents to refuse from the child.” (SIC – as translated)

Comment:  Refusing children due to their genetic abnormalities does exist and is even common in certain societies.  It is similar to ‘mercy killing’ because people may assume that child will endure extensive suffering without expensive medical treatment (or even with it).  But this plot sounds like something out of a comedic film… something too easy to be true.  No one in the hospital noticed that instead of many dead children in the coronary, there were many alive children disappearing out the side door? How many people had to be involved for this scandal to work?

Side Note: How much of this is really true? Pravda many times stretches the truth in articles are report falsities.

“The Girl Who Lost Her Youth to a Stalinist Gulag.” 

LOUARN, Anne-Diandra.  France 24. 28 October 2012.

“At 20 years old, fatherless Zara Murtazalieva left behind her hometown in war-torn Chechnya to seek work in Moscow, where she could earn enough to help support her family. She soon found a job, began making friends and enrolled at a night school.

When police took her in for questioning in March 2004, Murtazalieva expected a standard identity check – the authorities at that time were still using the terms ‘Chechen’ and ‘terrorist’ interchangeably. But when officers discovered explosives in her bag after the interrogation, Murtazalieva realised she had been framed.”

Comment: This is a sad but unfortunately not unique story.  Main impediments to justice:

  1. Police receive bonuses (incentives) for ‘indicting’ criminals (whether innocent or guilty).
  2. Intimidation and a quick trial does not allow for protest by defendants or victims.
  3. No system for appeal that can relay wrongdoings in court.
  4. Lack of humane standards in prisons.

Side Note:  Zara was released after her 8 year sentence.  Many ‘criminals’ are not so fortunate.  There is a history of trying people again supported by  ‘newly found evidence’ or elongating sentences on the basis of poor behavior.

“Politkovskaya Probe Completed, Mastermind Unknown.” 

Associated Press. 16 October 2012.

“Russia’s top investigative agency said Tuesday it is pursuing murder charges against the suspected triggerman and four others in the killing of journalist Anna Politkovskaya, but has failed to determine who ordered the hit.

Politkovskaya, a sharp critic of the Kremlin and its policies in Chechnya, was gunned down in the elevator of her Moscow apartment building on Oct. 7, 2006. The killing drew global outrage and highlighted dangers for journalists in Russia.”

Comment:  Seriously? Years of investigating and they can’t come up with ANYTHING? Suspicious and obviously a cover-up for someone or something else.

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