Medvedev Promises Cruelty

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.

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  • To be fair, the Russian campaigns against Chechnya did successfully pacify the region. Of course, it was accompanied by mass death and destruction, but the Russians found a relatively inexpensive solution to their problem. It goes to show that either the Chechen independence movement is not as widespread as some people would like to believe, or the majority of Chechen people would rather be ruled from Moscow rather than suffer losing their livelihoods again.

    I have come to believe that Chechen independence has always been a fringe movement, led and organized by a small number of Chechen politicians and supported by Chechen criminal organizations. In many ways, Chechen terrorism is similar to that of ETA, although admittedly the former is much more active than the latter, and perhaps is a bit more justified.

    Of course, you are completely right that Russia’s campaign of terror against the Chechen people is completely out of bounds and unlibertarian. Nevertheless, a powerful case has to be presented as to why Russia would necessarily lose if they continue on their path of violently oppressing dissent in Chechnya. Simply saying “that’s wrong” is not going to do much in the long-run, except garner the nods of those who already agreed with you. Also, the true nature of Chechen terror has to be recognized. I don’t think those terrorists represent the Chechen people: they represent the mafiosos.