A day after German officials had sharply criticized Moscow’s behavior in Chechnya, French foreign minister Alain Juppe said on French television May 1 that Moscow’s failure to have a real moratorium on the fighting in Chechnya “during the time of the festivities” merits a “reaction” from the international community. But Juppe said that world leaders should go to Moscow as “a gesture toward the Russian people” who had helped defeat the Nazis. Juppe’s remarks are a response to the “Shame” petition launched by European intellectuals last week. That petition called on world leaders not to go to Moscow. The petition’s organizer, Andre Gluksman, told the April 25 Nezavisimaya gazeta that it would be a “gross insult” to the memory of World War II fighters to “celebrate over Chechen corpses.” The French philosopher said that he regarded the Russian army’s actions in Chechnya as “fascist.” Asked why the West has been so indifferent to the bloodshed in Chechnya, Gluksman responded: “The Western states have always reacted sluggishly, if at all, to fascist activity. Hitler wouldn’t have come to power or retained it had it not been for the passive attitude of the Western states.”
May Day in Moscow.