Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 8

Writing in the no. 15 (March 4) issue of Novaya Gazeta, the award-winning Russian war correspondent Anna Politkovskaya described the present state of the Chechen conflict thus: “March 2002 constitutes the thirtieth month of the second Chechen war. If one is to believe the military, its present ‘special measures’ consist precisely of ‘mopping up operations.’ From November of last year up to the present day a wave of such operations rolls on: Shali, Kurchaloi, Tsotsan-Yurt, Bachi-Yurt, Urus-Martan, Grozny, then Shali again, Kurchaloi again, again and again Argun, again Chiri-Yurt…. The many-day-long blockading [of Chechen settlements]. Sobbing women. Families seeking by any and all means to carry away their growing sons–to any location whatsoever, so long as it is away from Chechnya. Demonstrations of [Chechen village] elders. Finally, General Moltenskoi, our commander on the antiterrorist front, wearing his decorations and stars, appearing on television–brisk and full of adrenaline speaking against the background of ‘cleansed’ villages and corpses. A [Russian] general reporting on the ‘significant success’ which we have achieved.”