“The demagogic view that Chechnya was truly presented with a chance for independence during the period from 1997 to 1997 cannot survive serious examination….In fact Chechnya was not a legal subject of international law, did not have the right to sign treaties or to take part in international projects or to invite foreign specialists or receive foreign help. It turned out to be an isolated enclave, in which all sorts of elements were free to operate—including Russia’s secret agents. Provocateurs and agents of influence dissipated all the political capital of the Khasavyurt agreement [the peace agreement between the Yeltsin administration and Chechnya’s separatist government], and gave Chechnya a reputation as a criminal territory. The republic remains such a territory today, but now the criminals are Russian nationalists and supporters of the federal union.” –Geidar Dzhemal, chairman of the Islamic Committee, from his interview with Novye izvestia correspondent Dmitri Taratorin, published on July 26.
“As far as the Parliamentary Assembly and Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe are concerned—or even the United Nations—one has to recognize that pressure from the international community on the Russian Federation over the problems of Chechnya has become very much weaker, especially since September 11. Unquestionably a certain amount of pressure is being exercised, but it is more or less formal—and all the leading figures understand this perfectly well. Today there is no consolidated policy whatever in Europe about this issue; the European powers prefer to close their eyes to what is happening in the Chechen republic.” –Tatyana Lokshina, program director of the Moscow Helsinki Group, in an interview published on the “Prava cheloveka v Rossii” (“Human Rights in Russia”) website on July 20.