Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 23

Russia Accused of ‘Thinning Out’ Chechen Youths” read a headline in the July 25 issue of the Times of London. An international human rights group, The Times reported, has accused Russian soldiers in Chechnya of targeting Chechen “men of productive age” for execution in an attempt to “thin out” the male population of the republic. “The International Helsinki Federation, which was set up twenty years ago to monitor abuses in the Soviet bloc, reported violence of a huge scale, particularly in proportion to Chechnya’s population, which numbers about 500,000. It said that up to eighty bodies of young Chechen men were found each month and that this was a conservative figure.” “The report,” The Times went on, “accuses Western governments of standing idly by as a sop to Mr. Putin’s support for the War on Terror. Russian human rights groups estimate the civilian death toll in the two wars in Chechnya as between 80,000 and 150,000. ‘This violence is on a huge scale in the world context. It is difficult to find an analogy to this,’ Aaron Rhodes, the Helsinki group’s executive director, said.” The pro-Moscow prime minister of Chechnya, Stanislav Ilyasov, contemptuously dismissed the Helsinki group’s findings as “immoral and irresponsible.”