President Dmitry Medvedev has pledged to be “more cruel” in fighting the Chechen rebels. While such talk no doubt is appealing to grieving Russians, actually implementing cruel measures will do nothing to prevent such attacks in the future. The attacks will get worse, and the long-suffering Russian people will find the recent freedoms they have enjoyed severely curtailed.
As has been mentioned many times before, terrorism is a tactic, not an enemy. In this case, why not look at why the terrorists are killing people in the first place? The Chechens who are blowing up trains and killing women and children want to secede from the Russian Federation. Considering the terrible things which the Soviet Union did to keep regions enslaved, escaping Russian control hardly seems an unreasonable desire, even if the tactics are horrible. A slave rebellion which engages in murder hardly justifies maintaining slavery, and independence movements which engage in criminal activities do not justify centralizing power.
Russians can and should pursue the individuals who are responsible for murdering innocents. They should not, however, use such a thirst for justice as cause to engage in crimes of their own. That way is the way of the terrorist.