Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 21

In an article entitled “More Terrible than War: Why the Russians Are Returning to Grozny,” which appeared in the July 2 issue of Moskovskie Komsomolets, journalist Aleksandr Minkin wrote: “‘The [ethnic] Russians are returning to Chechnya! Things are going right. Already 100 families have returned to their homes!’ so announced the plenipotentiary representative of the president, General Kazantsev.” Minkin then commented: “This is indeed news which shakes one. After all, we see that even Chechen refugees do not want to return to their homes [in Chechnya]. They have been living in drafty tents [in Ingushetia] for three years, they have been freezing and going hungry, but they still don’t want to go home because it is terrible there, plus there are no homes for them anyway–their homes have been destroyed and robbed. And suddenly there are 100 families of Russians [who want to return to Chechnya].” Asked why they wanted to return, the Russians confided, “My dear man, they have accepted us nowhere else…. We have traveled about so much and suffered so much that now we fear nothing.” And Minkin concluded: “Little Ingushetia accepted 300,000 Chechens and took half of them into their homes…. But 145-million-strong Russia could not find a place of refuge for several thousand Russians.” What Minkin did not mention was that it now appears to be Russian government policy to return as many ethnic Russians as possible to Chechnya, no matter what dangers might await them there.