Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 2 Issue: 23

In an interview published on June 4 in the newspaper Izvestia, General Gennady Troshev, commander of the North Caucasus Military District, called for the public execution of Chechen terrorists. “Yes, I am for the death penalty for Chechen rebels!” he exclaimed. “The most torturous execution is needed! I would do it this way: I would collect them all in a [public] square, string the bandits up and let them hang! Let everyone see it!” Russian presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky on the same day took exception to Troshev’s statement, insisting that “the counterterrorist operation in Chechnya cannot be fulfilled under conditions of lawlessness or infringement of Russian law” (Itar-Tass, June 5). Military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer saw this and other recent outbursts by Troshev as evidence that leaders of the Russian armed forces are now maneuvering to escape blame for an impending defeat. “The situation in the republic,” he noted, “is dangerous and complex. The withdrawal of troops has been suspended, and everyone knows that Chechen fighters are planning a large-scale military rebellion. Naturally Troshev is nervous, because if that rebellion occurs, [he] will be personally held responsible for having allowed it” (Los Angeles Times, June 6).