Kavkaz-Center, the news agency that serves as a mouthpiece for the radical Islamist wing of the Chechen rebel movement, ran a commentary today on its website, Kavkaz.org, about the Kaspiisk bombing. Noting that President Vladimir Putin yesterday called the perpetrators of the terrorist attack “scum” who should be treated like Nazis (see the Monitor, May 9), the commentary stated: “Following the logic of Putin, who called ‘scum’ those who ‘coldly and calculatedly kill innocent people, including children,’ the biggest scum of all is Putin himself, who has on his hands the blood not of thirty-four [people], but of a hundred thousand Chechen children, women and elderly–among whom, by the way, was no small number of war veterans.” Kavkaz.org accused Putin of the September 1999 apartment building bombings in Moscow and Volgodonsk, which killed hundreds of people and was the pretext for the current military operation in Chechnya, and hinted that the Kremlin may have been behind yesterday’s blast, as a way to justify “the mass killing of civilians in Chechnya and Dagestan.” The commentary specifically mentioned the Dagestani villages of Karmakhi and Chabanmakhi, which border Chechnya and were Islamic fundamentalist hotbeds prior to the Islamist raids from Chechnya into Dagestan, which were beaten back by the Russian military with the support of the Dagestani authorities (Kavkaz.org, May 10).
In contrast to Kavkaz.org, Chechenpress, a mouthpiece for Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov, today denounced yesterday’s attack in Kaspiisk, saying it was impossible to argue with Putin’s comparison of the bombing’s perpetrators to the Nazis. The news agency added, however, that it would like to see Putin denounce “war crimes” committed by federal forces in Chechnya. Still, while Chechenpress warned against jumping to the conclusion that Chechens were behind the Kaspiisk bombing, it noted that “some Chechens disguised as field commanders” had more than once “carried out actions that go against the policy of Aslan Maskhadov and those who share his views, and all the guilt for these provocations were, with the help of the Russian media and special services, laid on official Djohar.”
At the same time, Chechenpress said the Dagestani authorities, including the republic’s leader, Magomedali Magomedov, have many enemies, including many “radically minded” foes that cannot forgive them for assisting the federal authorities in the “extermination” of the inhabitants of Karmakhi and Chabanmakhi. The “Wahhabis,” Chechenpress claimed, had also opposed the Dagestani authorities’ involvement in divvying up profits reaped by local cannabis plantations. Finally, Chechenpress broached the possibility that Russia’s special services were involved in yesterday’s attack, but added that, in contrast to the September 1999 terrorist bombings in Moscow and Volgodonsk, it was hard to see what they would have gained from the Kaspiisk bombing (Chechenpress, May 10).
CLOCK TICKING FAST ON OSCE IN RUSSIAN-OCCUPIED TRANSDNIESTER.