Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 2 Issue: 23

On June 6, at the Andrei Sakharov Museum in Moscow, the chairman of the Chechen Committee for National Salvation, Ruslan Badalov, handed an appeal signed by 10,000 Chechen refugees living in Ingushetia to Adam Shved, a representative of the OSCE. “Today,” Badalov underlined in his remarks, “the Russian government has unveiled a new campaign, the goal of which is at any cost to return the refugees to Chechnya.” This is being done, Badalov said, because “Russia fears complicating its relations with the West and is therefore prepared to hide the human tragedies far away from everyone.” The refugees understand this and consequently have no desire to return to Chechnya. Badalov noted that conditions in the camps in Ingushetia are poor. The refugees have not received a hot meal for two months, the tents in which they live are flimsy, and the Russian troops repeatedly conduct mopping up operations in them during which “they take away a number of lads whom they claim are rebels.” Lev Ponomarev, chairman of the Russian National Committee “For Halting the War and Establishing Peace in the Chechen Republic,” stressed at the meeting that: “The Chechen refugees… have clearly stated that they will not return to their homeland until they are given security guarantees. Well then, are we going to return them there by force” (Kommersant, June 7)?