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The colonel listens to noone
Written by   
, 27 2011
 .    svoboda.org
During yesterday’s news conference, Vladimir Putin made a statement that is unprecedented in its inadequacy, and forces me as the citizen of a belligerent country to take an unprecedented step. Whatfollows is almost the entire text of an article Ipublished about seven years ago, a few days after a terrorist bombing in Moscow. Itquite lucidly describes the nature of the enemy that had thrown down the gauntlet in challenge to Russia back then.
An adequate understanding of its nature is absolutely necessary for the political and military leader of our nation, which is what Mr. Putin really is. Perhaps his advisors could find some way to acquaint him with the text.
In every new act of terrorism in our cities, Ialways notice two repeatedly similar sets of circumstances in the reactions of the Russian political class, and government. During the first few days there are an enormous number of high-profile ‘patriotic’ statements, declarations of an inadequacy almost reaching the level of insanity on the part of their authors. After this, there is complete silence and a desire to forget about the problem until the next attack, when the same reflex reaction by these same politicians once again manifests itself.
Both of these, the hysterical screams and the deafening silence, indicate but one thing: everyone, including the authors of the statements, fully comprehends the absolute futility of our policies in the Caucasus.
Thus, after the latest terrorist attack, we once again hear about introducing the death penalty for suicide bombers, calls to ‘burn with hot iron’ and ‘see it through to the end’, which in the subconscious of the masses means ‘beat Hadjis and blacks’. Onceagain on the front page of the country’s most widely-read newspaper they will print the words of a father who lost his son in the tragedy: “I will now kill THEM all wherever Ifind THEM,” and we will justly sympathize with the unhappy man.
But we need to step to one side and take a long look at ourselves, or at least read what one Russian officer, a participant in the eternal war in the Caucasus, wrote two centuries ago after yet another sweep of yet another village: “The feeling for the Russians experienced by the Chechens, great and small, was much more than just hatred”
With shouts of ‘death penalty’ and ‘hot iron’ and ‘see it through to the end’, we will once again attempt to drown out the knowledge that we have already reached ‘the end’ several times, and that we have already burned everything we could with ‘hot iron’, or in any case everything that should never have been burned in the first place. Thedeath penalty has already been applied obviously preemptively to tens of thousands of civilians, our fellow citizens. There are on the other side, perhaps, a lot of people who now say this about us: “I will now kill THEM all wherever Ifind THEM.” Without an understanding of these realities, it is impossible to comprehend the nature of the terrorism that now confronts us, and to try and somehow confront it adequately.
Terrorism as was characteristic of the twentieth century usually was the means, the instrument to achieve specific political objectives. There occurred, and continue to occur, dozens of armed conflicts in the world, in which separatists use terrorism against the political center and cities of the nation from which they seek independence, autonomy, or some other political objective (such as the IRA in Northern Ireland, the Basques, Tamils, and various groups in Indonesia, the Philippines, etc.).
In the 21st century, however, the world faces a new phenomenon, which Iwill conditionally define as ‘metaphysical terrorism’. Thisis terrorism as practiced primarily by Islamic radicals such as Al-Qaeda and ideologically similar groups. Itdoes not make any demands, such as the release of someone or independence for some place. Itbasically denies the right of Western civilization to exist and yearns for its complete destruction.
This distinction is very important for us, because we have long had to deal with Chechen separatism, which in certain situations uses terror as the means to this end. Thechallenge we face today, however, is a manifestation of what Icall metaphysical terrorism, and in many ways we brought this upon ourselves.
We kept repeating, like a mantra, that we were not fighting Chechen separatists, but international terrorism. Eventually it became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Thanks to the methods that we used and are using in this war, for the benefit of metaphysical terrorism we have created a potentially enormous reservoir of human bombs desperate people willing to implement the terrorists’ goals.
Now there is a phenomenon that is very dangerous for us: the internationalization of the conflict in Chechnya and the North Caucasus by the forces of global terrorism. People showed up there with the ideology and technology of global terror, and they found fertile ground for achieving their goals.
Let us analyze a statement by our Head of State with regards to this, his immediate reaction following the (2004) bombing of the Moscow metro: he stated that Russia does not negotiate with terrorists Russia destroys them. Itseems to me that this statement shows a misunderstanding of the type of terrorism we face. Itwould be quite substantial (albeit controversial) if, after each bombing in the metro, some ‘Liberation Front’ called up and said: “We blew up a subway station. If, after two weeks, you don’t meet these or other demands, we’ll do it again. We’re offering to negotiate.”
Under any other circumstances this statement is simply meaningless, because there is no such a message: for a long time no one has written the colonel. (A reference either to Gabriel Garcia-Marquez’s novel, ‘No one writes to the colonel’ or the song by the same name by the Russian rock group ‘B-2’ ed.)
The response to the words “Russia does not negotiate with terrorists Russia destroys them” has been silence, which means: “We do not negotiate with Russians we blow them up in the subway.”
I have already written about this, but it bears repeating because our rulers keep treading on the same old rakes that they stubbornly ignore in their road.
There is yet another terrifying aspect of this problem: all these endless cries of ‘hot iron’ have set in motion an enormous cycle of violence that feeds on itself far beyond the confines of Chechnya.
We began the battle for Chechnya within Russia, and now we are increasingly turning Russia into a part of Chechnya.
Nowadays the walls of our buildings are decorated with the slogan ‘beat up blacks’ and we are much closer to the disintegration of Russia than four years ago.
Seven years have passed since Iwrote the above, and what has changed? Nowthe crowd chants: “F-- up the Caucasus. F--- it!” and we are even closer to decay. Asa result of his Chechen policy of choosing between something very bad and something monstrous, Putin, to his credit, chose something very bad. Heacknowledged defeat and he handed over to Kadyrov and his army all power in Chechnya, and pays him tribute money. Inresponse, Kadyrov formally declared his loyalty, though not so much to the Kremlin as to his personal union with Putin. Themonstrous choice would have been to continue the war of annihilation, as done by Shamanov and Budanov. (Lt. Gen. General Shamanov was a top commander in Chechnya, while Lt. Col. Budanov was convicted of rape and murder there ed.)
During this time metaphysical terrorism has crept across the North Caucasus and no longer needs Middle Eastern sponsors. Itsown adepts have come of age and are strengthening the structure of their own Jamaat. Justas in Chechnya, we deceive ourselves by paying tribute money to the corrupt ‘elites’ of these republics who rob their own people and push the underprivileged onto the path of Islamic revolution. Hereis some invaluable evidence from a courageous Russian, Venediktov:
“Sometimes when you are talking with really high-ranking people, decision-makers, when you tell them: look, these presidents in the Caucasus are already like the Khans used to be, they answer that this is the price for the absence of war. Whatabsence of war? Yes, certainly tanks are not driving around and Grad rockets are not in action, but what absence of war? Whatis this that we have, if it is not war? Icompletely disagree with this. Isay this to you and everyone Imeet: this is a global mistake. Weare a belligerent nation.”
That is some interesting psychology on the part of the “really high-ranking people, decision-makers,” with whom Venediktov sometimes speaks. Yes, during this peace they are safely protected in their palaces in the Moscow region and Gelendzhik (Krasnodar region, where many top generals involved in Chechnya have residences ed), but the price of this peace is war on ordinary citizens’ lowly huts and transportation systems.
In addition to his macho boasting that he does not negotiate with anyone, absurd in the current situation, Mr. Putin still very much insists that Chechnya is in no way related to the bombing at Domodedovo. Morethan likely, he is absolutely right. Themost active centers of Islamic radicalism are now concentrated in the other republics, and they now include people of different nationalities, including Slavs.
But Chechnya, even in every official version, was in no way related to bombings of 1999, and even less so to the ‘exercise’ in Ryazan (an incident when FSB officers were caught planting explosives in the basement of an apartment building in the city of Ryazan ed), but in retaliation for these bombings, Chechnya had tanks, planes, and Grad rockets inflicted upon it. Thatwas when money was no object for Mr. Putin relative to Chechnya.
But back then he had not yet made any fateful decisions. Forthe sake of his future presidency, others made these decisions. Nextweek Yumasheva the Blogger will not go to her computer. ThisLady Macbeth now has problems with her hands, as do all participants in ‘Operation Successor-1999’. (Tatiana Yumasheva, formally Dyachenko, the daughter of Boris Yeltsin and widely considered to be his power broker ed.)
Today Putin’s much more cautious attitude towards Chechnya’s reputation is very significant. Herightly fears the possible wrath of Kadyrov, because he depends on Kadyrov much more than Kadyrov does on him. Without a demonstration of Kadyrov’s personal loyalty, the entire Putin myth would pop like a soap bubble.
The Supreme Commander (we do not take his pathetic shadow seriously) is in the twelfth year of the Caucasus war, but a fact that he does not understand is that during this time the war has already come home to roost in Moscow.
By Andrei Piontkovsky in ‘Grani.ru’, January 27th, 2011

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