Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 11

There were also eulogies for Aslan Maskhadov from leading Russian and international human rights activists and intellectuals. Veteran Russian human rights activist Aleksandr Podrabinek said that Maskhadov was the Kremlin’s biggest problem in Chechnya. “Much bigger than the field commanders who had turned to the tactic of terror,” he wrote in an item published by the Prava Cheloveka v Rossii “Human Rights in Russia” website,, on March 9. “First of all, he was legally elected president, and the entire world knew it. Secondly, he was a public supporter of the peace process, which absolutely does not fit into the Kremlin’s plans. Maskhadov’s last initiative for a temporary unilateral ceasefire put the Kremlin in an awkaward situation – the necessity to somehow react to the peace gesture of the Chechen resistance is not only intolerable for Moscow hawks, but also contradicts their strategic task for maintaining a constant center of tension in the North Caucasus.”

Yelena Bonner, a veteran of both the Soviet/Russian human rights movement and World War II, wrote in an item published by on March 10 that Maskhadov was “a soldier and never betrayed his soldier’s, his officer’s honor. I can confirm that not only was he a noble person, he was a good person. And I say this not second-hand, but from my own impressions from personal contact with him. The death of someone is always a misfortune for those nearest and dearest and I grieve along with his relations and his people. Death (especially in battle) is a bell that tolls for both the departed and for each who walks the earth. Let the lieutenant colonel, Russia’s commander-in-chief, let all of his generals rejoice over their success, which was achieved not through martial prowess or military skill, but by someone’s baseness and venality. But the bell that tolls for Maskhadov tolls for him and for the Russia they [Putin and his generals] have corrupted, which today is immeasurably farther from peace than it was yesterday.”

French philosopher Andre Glucksmann also stressed his respect for Maskhadov as a person. “I liked Aslan Maskhadov,” he wrote in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on March 11. “During my travels to Chechnya in June 2000, we couldn’t speak with one another, because bombardment interrupted our meetings three times. But I sent him my questions and he sent a long response on an audiocassette in which he condemned Islamism. At the end, he said: ‘In a free Chechnya, a Chechen woman would never have to wear a chador.’…Maskhadov unilaterally announced a ceasefire and stated that he was for Western values, not radical Isalm. All the [Chechen] fighters observed the ceasefire. Maskhadov proved that he had authority. At that moment, he was killed.”