Publication: Prism Volume: 1 Issue: 16

Cuny Family holds Russians responsible for Fred Cuny’s death

Editor’s Note: The following statement was released by the Cunyfamily in Moscow on August 17. The staff of Prism and Monitorjoin them in mourning the death of a great man and in their assignmentof blame for his murder.

The Associated Press report Tuesday, August 15, 1995, which quotesa top Russian Security official "that Fred Cuny is alivein Chechnya and working for the US secret services," is nothingmore than a deliberate lie and a further attempt at covering upthe Russian Government’s role in Fred’s death. Furthermore, friends,colleagues and family of Fred are outraged by the Russian Government’scontinued attempts to cast doubt about his open and honest intentionsto provide humanitarian assistance in Chechnya which now onlyserve to discredit his name. We demand an apology from this governmentalsource, yet recognize that this demand, as our pleas for assistancein searching for Fred, will be in vain.

It has now been more that four months since Fred Cuny, GalenaOleinik, Andrei Sereda, and Sergei Makarov’s disappearance inChechnya.

Despite having two or more full-time investigators, includingat least one family member of Fred’s, on the ground inside ofChechnya and neighboring countries, we have found no substantialevidence that any members of the group are still alive. Sadly,all evidence and confirmable reports now point to the group’sdemise.

What we now know as facts surrounding the group’s fate is asfollows: On or before March 30, intelligence operatives traveledto Bamut and spread disinformation about Fred, Galena and thetwo doctors. Multiple sources have told us and given written testimonythat word was spread indicating that Fred was anti-Islamic andthat one or more of the Russians were members of the FSK. It islikely that this information was spread due to Fred’s outspokencriticism of the Russians’ role in the war involving indiscriminatekilling of civilians.

On March 31, the group traveled into Bamut.

Between March 31 and April 3, the group made several attemptsto reach Orekhovo.

After several days of difficulties in traveling, caused mainlyby heavy shelling along the route and adverse weather, the groupmade it to the outskirts of Stari Atchkoy. It was here, on April4th, that the group was stopped by masked gunmen and held at gunpoint.The group’s documents were sent to Chechen intelligence headquartersfor analysis and notification that the group had been detained.

On April 5, they were placed in the custody of the local Chechenintelligence commander, Rizvan Elbiev.

It has been reported by multiple Chechen and Ingush sources thaton April 9th, leader Dzhokhar Dudayev congratulated the fightersfor arresting the group.

On April 12, the group was further passed up the chain of commandto Abu Masaev, head of Chechen intelligence.

On April 14, the group was executed.

It is clear that soon after the group’s murder, and once an investigationby numerous international groups began, a cover-up by the Chechensensued, which included relocating or destroying the remains.

We have been silent about our suspicions up until now due toconcern that it would affect our search and our safety. This hasproven futile and certainly doesn’t seem to matter in light ofthe fact that we were shelled and shot at by Russian troops, extortedby Chechen soldiers and Ingush officials, and robbed at gunpointin our quarters inside Ingushetia.

The direct attempts to mislead and interfere with our investigationand the lack of assistance by the Russian Government lend supportto the reports we’ve received regarding the disinformation spreadby Russian intelligence agencies about Fred and the group. Alsodisturbing is the way in which the three Russians who accompaniedFred have all but been forgotten by the Russian Government andthe Russian Red Cross.

We plead with Russian and Chechen officials to provide furtherdetails to the embassy and to assist the joint commission formedby Chechen Commander Aslan Maskhadov and Russian Lieutenant GeneralAnatoly Romanov to find the remains of Fred Cuny, Galena Oleinik,Andrei Sereda and Sergei Makarov.

Let it be known to all nations and humanitarian organizationsthat Russia was responsible for the death of one of the world’sgreat humanitarians. The friends, colleagues, and family of Fredhave begun, and will continue, to lobby Congress and US businessinterests to reconsider economic aid and investment in this countryuntil they are satisfied that all is being done to find the truth.