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Abdullah the Chechen, special for ASN-News
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, 01 2002
Franz Zede is a quiet, thoughtful man who does not like to talk too much, but after recent events, the Austrian Ambassador to Russia was foaming at the mouth. ARussian news agency had assigned to him such a shameless lie that its cynicism knows no equal.

The death of a hostage, an Austrian citizen who died during the assault of the Chechen-captured Moscow theatrical center, was caused by inflammation of the lungs due to the use of gas. Zedesaid this, according to the news agency. “There’s not a single word of truth here,” the diplomat understandablyraged.
This is one of many examples of how the authorities have dispensed with the truth. Ithas, in contrast to earlier times, not only been silenced, but public opinion has even been subjected to aggressive manipulation in accordance with the realities of the information age.

During the first hours after the assault of the theatrical center, the security services apparently firmly took the reins of information management. Allhostages, who could have been welcome eyewitness for journalists, were isolated in the hospitals. Quotes were constantly given from only one former hostage.

This employee of the ‘Interfax’ news agency reported from her hospital bed every new detail of the drama. Whenrepresentatives of the security services stated that they had intercepted terrorist telephone conversations with persons in Chechnya, Turkey, and Arab countries, this was followed almost immediately her confirmation. Yes, she heard it herself, how Barayev one of the ‘terrorist’ leaders spoke on the phone.

If, later, many former hostages said that the ‘terrorists’ treated them decently enough, on Saturday the talk was only about the cruelty and humiliation shown the captives. Didthe ‘Interfax’ employee know what was being attributed to her? Didthe initiators of this campaign think that the activities of the gangsters needed to be interpreted in such a way as to cause disgust?

A special target of propaganda was Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov. Various television channels showed video footage over and over again, in which Maskhadov spoke about upcoming events that would drastically change the course of affairs in Chechnya. ForMoscow’s propagandists, this was evidence that the Chechen leader was behind the terrorist attack. Member of Parliament Aslanbek Aslakhanov, however, confirmed that these videos had been filmed a year ago.

The clumsy forgery that heated passions all through the weekend, however, was a video of the slain militants. People from the security services filmed it after the former hostages had been carried out, and before the journalists had been allowed in. Thefootage showed slain Chechens lying in pools of their own blood, surrounded by bottles of liquor.

Barayev, and after his death, had a bottle of Hennessey cognac in his hand. Look, says the eloquent, yet silent footage, how they drink, these Muslim militants whom Allah prohibits alcohol.

The film producers, however, failed to note that the bottle was dusty, and had not even been uncorked.

At the same time, the media, if it said anything, was in a patriotic mood. “No one can drive us to our knees,” was the headline in ‘Izvestiya’ on Tuesday, adopting a quotation from the President’s address that he made at the end of the week. Atthis time, patriotic movies are shaping the face of programming, especially on ‘First’ television.

Even up until Friday evening it was still possible to hear public and controversial high-level debate, during which were also heard demands for an end to the war in Chechnya. Aperiod was placed at the end of this sentence on Saturday, but on the eve of the assault, a pioneer in this regard was the ‘Rossiya’ television. Konstantin Ernst, the general director of ‘First’ television, however, declared with incomprehensible pride: “We have introduced rigid self-censorship.” Whoever did not adhere to this censorship was knocked off the air, as happened with ‘Muscovy’ television, or given a warning, as happened with radio station ‘Echo of Moscow’.

Already visible are the first fruits of such “universal triumphant rhetoric of the official structures,” as the critical newspaper ‘Novye Izvestiya’ characterized the campaign. Demands for the deportation of all Caucasus ethnicities are accompanied by the slogan: “Russia for the Russians.” The Moscow tragedy, notes the weekly newspaper ‘Moskovskie Novosti’, is in the hands of the racists.

In ‘ASN-News’
November 1st, 2002

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