TYPE=WORLD OPINION ROUNDUP
TITLE=RUSSIA'S WAR IN CHECHNYA
INTRO: Russia's renewed military operations against
its renegade Chechen region in the Caucasus continues
to provoke many editorials in the world press.
We get a sampling now from ____________ in this week's
World Opinion Roundup.
TEXT: Papers both in Russia and in the rest of Europe
are painting a uniformly bleak picture of the Russian-
Chechen conflict. Most editors agree that the
confrontation promises to be long and bloody.
Papers in Rome and Berlin suggest that Russia's brute
force may have what they called the "undesired effect"
of encouraging "broad support for the Islamic fighters
. among the people of the north Caucasus." In Paris,
Le Monde, calls for international condemnation of the
We begin our sampling in Moscow, with a reformist
weekly paper Itoqi, which says:
VOICE: After Kosovo, anything goes. You can't
try to bomb [Yugoslavian President Slobodan]
Milosevic into a compromise and, at the same
time, urge others not to do the same to [Chechen
President] Maskhadov. After Kosovo, anything is
possible, with the ban on the use of force
without approval by the U-N all but disavowed.
Conflicts like Kosovo and Chechnya may reduce
the U-N's role to offering humanitarian aid to
TEXT: In the opposition daily Sovetskaya Rossiya,
there is great concern that this is turning into a
religious war pitting the mainly Slavic, Christian
Russians against the Islamic Chechens, Ingushes and
Tartars of the Caucasus.
VOICE: We caution the government against
ferocious violent actions that might add to
people's suffering, as well as against the
hypocrisy and treachery which, lurking in
political circles, may turn into a campaign
against the Russian army, causing a halt in its
offensive, the eventual signing of a second
Hasavyurt [the location of the pact ending the
hostilities earlier this decade between Russia
and Chechnya]accord, and a subsequent chain
reaction-like disintegration of this country.
TEXT: To Western Europe and Britain, where London's
VOICE: The short-term objectives of Russia's
military assault on Chechnya are becoming clear
. The aim is containment rather than total
control. Russia's longer-term objectives remain
perfectly obscure, even, we suspect, to the
TEXT: Across the channel, Le Monde argued in its
VOICE: According to [Russian] Prime Minister
Putin, the war in Chechnya is intended to
destroy Islamic terrorist bases . But Russia has
not been bombarding the mountains, but oil and
gas installations . and what is left of .
Grozny. .It is hitting what little is left of
the local infrastructure. . Since September, 600
Chechen civilians have allegedly been killed. .
For less than this, Indonesia was accused of
torturing the population of East Timor and
suffered economic sanctions. . Chechnya is
being attacked in revenge for Russia's defeat in
1996. It is also a way to distract attention
from financial scandals . These are sinister
motives which should push the international
community to break its guilty silence.
TEXT: Some editorial outrage from Le Monde in Paris.
TEXT: In Hungary, there is more skepticism, as one of
Budapest's leading dailies, Magyar Nemzet, asks:
VOICE: What's the difference between the
Chechens and the Kosovars? Nothing, only the PR
(public relations) of the latter [group] is
better. In addition, in Kosovo's case, U-S
politics is already willing to accept ethnic
realities even if Western Europe is aware of
their dangers. . there is a Euro-Atlantic
consensus that Russia must not fall apart, and
chaos-beyond a certain point - is impermissible.
TEXT: To Scandinavia, and Norway's Dagsavise in Oslo,
which gloomily predicts:
VOICE: There is barely any hope for the war to
be over soon so that the people can return home
safely. International involvement is necessary.
TEXT: Turning to Asia, we get an idea of Korean
reaction from Seoul's Dong-A Ilbo:
VOICE: Russia's advance against Chechnya is now
turning into an all-out war with the Chechen
government . Russians are not really after
Chechen rebels. They are trying to `tame' the
TEXT: And lastly from Muslim, but secular Turkey,
watching from not too far away, we read in Ortadogu:
VOICE: The northern Caucasus are very important
to Russia for strategic and economic reasons .
Additionally, there are political power games
going on in Russia. One group wants to take
over President Yeltsin's power, while the other
wants to remain in power. Russia is also
worried about the possibility of the Russian
Federation dissolving . Not only Chechnya, but
also the other autonomous regions of the
northern Caucasus, may want to separate from
Moscow . Russia has a de-facto loss: Chechnya.
And Dagestan [a Chechen neighbor] remains like a
last forest fire for Russia. Therefore, the
Yeltsin administration is trying very hard to
keep it under control.
TEXT: On that note, we concluded this sampling of
world press opinion on the situation in Chechnya.
07-Oct-1999 17:01 PM EDT (07-Oct-1999 2101 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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