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Caucasus taint given to Moscow terrorist attacks

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, April 1
Some media outlets have stated that Chechen fighters have declared responsibility for the terrorist attacks in Moscow on Monday morning. On the basis of this there is no doubt that the Caucasus is connected with these attacks. So what kind of measures will Moscow take in the North Caucasus? Could there be another escalation of violence there?

Some reports say that the explosions in Russia before the Second Chechen war were masterminded by Putin and his team in order to justify launching a vigorous and deadly attack on Chechnya which resulted in the devastation of its territory and the deaths of tens of thousands of Chechens. So whose game was being played by the terrorist attacks? Will Georgia be included in The Kremlinís list of retaliation targets? Will it be subject to only psychological pressure or something worse? There are many questions which need to be answered.

Some analysts think that the Moscow terrorist attacks are retaliation for what has been going on in the North Caucasus recently. Russian law enforcement bodies are creating lots of problems for Chechen fighters and have killed Anzor Astemirov and Salambeg Ahmadov, leaders of the Chechen resistance movement. The terrorist attacks could therefore be connected with this. The Russian Government seems to be happy with this analysis, as President Medvedev and PM Putin have responded to the attacks by saying that they will be merciless against the terrorists, even though no investigation has yet established who exactly was responsible for the bombings. But it is clear that Russia has not achieved any significant results so far by using force in the North Caucasus, and may end up harming itself most of all by going down this road again.

Georgian analyst Mamuka Areshidze, an expert in Caucasus issues, thinks that the attacks have resulted from the wrong policy being undertaken towards the people of the North Caucasus. Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky, now in exile in the UK, has stated that the terrorist actions were masterminded by Putin himself to improve his rating and launch yet another full scale military operation against the North Caucasus peoples. Some Georgians however challenge this approach. Analyst Demur Giorkhelidze thinks that Russia does not need to kill dozens of people in its capital to justify conducting a special operation in Chechnya. However he does not exclude the possibility that the Russian leadership could use this event to exert further control over the population and clamp down on public protest against its authoritarian rule.

There is no doubt that a new anti-terrorist operation will be launched in the North Caucasus. The bombings have only hastened this process, if they have affected it at all. The Russians have a saying: when the wood is cut a piece is wasted, meaning that any Russian moves will inevitably result in huge casualties among the civilian population who will all be regarded as combatants. Georgia could easily become the target of further Russian provocations: its borders might be violated and Chechen refugees might base themselves in Georgia as they did 10 years ago. The Kremlin will accuse Georgia of training terrorists and sending them to Russia, and do some other dirty tricks which Russian special services are very good at.

This may be a pessimistic view of the present situation. But what would be an optimistic one? It is entirely unrealistic to think that Russia will improve its conduct in the North Caucasus, establish justice in the region, remove its armed forces from Georgia and restore Georgiaís territorial integrity, thus giving a positive message to the world that it is consistent in its protection of its own sovereignty and so on. Russia is too aggressive to do these things. Psychologists say that paranoia creates the thing it imagines, but you cannot be paranoid about Russia, as the truth is often worse than its enemies could imagine.