According to Andrei Mironov of the Russian human rights organization Memorial, as cited by Miriam Lanskoy of Boston University, Russian forces stationed in Chechnya recently committed an organized mass rape of Chechen civilian males. During a fact-finding trip to the North Caucasus, Mironov learned of an incident which took place earlier this month: “Over 700 men (I was given a list of 762 names) were taken to a field. They [the Russian soldiers] raped a woman in front of them.” The Russian troops, Mironov related, then taunted the Chechen men, calling on them to defend the woman’s honor. Those who intervened, sixty-two men, were themselves then “handcuffed to an armored personnel carrier, and publicly raped.” “Never before have I heard about public rape,” Mironov commented, “Of course, people were systematically raped in prisons and detention centers, and [in] military units. This was intended to break their character. But now this is being done in public.” Mironov added that many of the Chechen men who had been publicly raped vowed that they would now become suicide attackers (Eurasianet, July 19).
In the no. 49 (July 16) issue of Novaya Gazeta, award-winning war correspondent Anna Politkovskaya discussed the same incident and added some details. “Sixty-eight men,” she wrote, “living in Sernovodsk, have announced that they were raped by [Russian] soldiers conducting a punitive action, but they have not found the necessary understanding [on the part of the pro-Moscow Chechen authorities]. Forty-eight of them then appealed to [separatist President] Aslan Maskhadov with a request that they be permitted to become kamikazes in order to exact recompense for these humiliations by committing terrorist acts. Maskhadov categorically refused to grant their request. Two of them then attempted to commit suicide. This took place on July 12 in Sernovodsk. One succeeded. The other was revived.”