Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 11

British correspondent Ian Traynor authored a report appearing in the March 28 issue of The Guardian (London)on a new Russian TV series entitled “Spetsnaz,” which had premiered on state television during prime time the previous evening: “[The] episode,” Traynor wrote, “had a bunch of Russian Rambos routing a gang of evil Muslim extremists in the forbidding mountains of Chechnya…. Fearless and cynical, the commandos finished off the Chechens in a hail of hot lead in yet another victory for the Spetsnaz, the elite Russian commandos and the eponymous heroes of the latest Russian TV blockbuster.” On March 29, the International Red Cross officially protested the portrayal of its insignia on Chechen rebel booby-traps shown in the new TV series “Spetsnaz.” “In one scene,” AP recalled, “a rebel presented Russian troops with a Red Cross/Red Crescent identity document that blew up when it was opened.” The TV series “also showed a Chechen buying weapons from corrupt Russian soldiers, using a Red Cross/Red Crescent van to travel around the war-shattered republic” (AP, March 30). It seems likely that this new prime-time series is intended to incite hatred against ethnic Chechens and animosity toward international NGOs working within Chechnya and in the North Caucasus region.