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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 December 2004, 20:13 GMT
Chechnya viewpoints: Sultan Yashurkayev
The conflict that has raged in Chechnya for the past decade has triggered sharply contrasting views.

To mark the 10th anniversary of Russia's massive military assault on the breakaway republic, BBCrussian.com asked 10 prominent politicians, human rights activists, researchers and journalists to comment.

The panel were asked to answer two classic questions that have troubled Russian thinkers for centuries: "Who is to blame?" and "What can be done?"

Alu Alkhanov
Alu Alkhanov:
Chechen president

Irina Khakamada
Irina Hakamada:
liberal politician

Diederik Lohman
Diederik Lohman:
HRW researcher

Konstantin Kosachev
Konstantin Kosachev:
Russian MP

Sultan Yashurkayev
Sultan Yashurkayev:
Chechen writer
Tom de Waal
Tom de Waal:
Caucasus expert

Valentina Melnikova
Valentina Melnikova:
Soldiers' mothers

Mikhail Margelov
Mikhail Margelov:
Russian MP

Lyoma Turpalov
Lyoma Turpalov:
Chechen journalist

Akhmed Zakayev
Akhmed Zakayev:
rebel envoy

SULTAN YASHURKAYEV, Chechen writer based in Brussels


This is a tragic anniversary - 3,650 days, and each of these days seems like an eternity to those who are still being kept at gunpoint by this war.

There are no good wars. All wars are criminal and the war in Chechnya is an eruption of people's dirtiest instincts and desires. From the outset it was beyond the margins of human ethics, conscience, honour, shame and legal norms. It is a result of social decay.

Sultan Yashurkayev
It is a war of hatred, vengeance, avarice and theft. It kills children and rapes pregnant women.
Sultan Yashurkayev
There is no crime that hasn't been committed during this war. The most unthinkable forms of villainy occurred throughout these years. It is a war of hatred, vengeance, avarice and theft. It kills children and rapes pregnant women. It is a well-organised crime, whose primary victim is the innocent civilian.

This war is not a war in the true sense of the word, but a monster-corporation that enriches itself by sucking the blood of the people on both sides and even of its founders.

This war is not worthy of a great power like Russia, and it is a shameful stain on the international community, which watches it with indifference.

The list of those to blame for this tragedy is long. It goes back centuries. But today the main question is how to stop this war, how to rid ourselves of this malignant tumour, which spreads not only in time and space, but also into people's souls.

In Soviet times I warned [ex-Soviet president] Mikhail Gorbachev that we were moving towards this war. It was not some kind of mystic prophesy. It was a conclusion based on the situation created by officials appointed by Moscow to govern Chechnya.


In November-December 1999 [when the second Chechen war started] we were talking about internal forces, about the possibility of the elected Chechen president [Aslan Maskhadov], with Moscow's assistance, holding legitimate talks [with radical field commanders] - and indeed he begged for this!

Russian soldier in Grozny

Now it seems that, along with an inter-Chechen and Chechen-Russian dialogue, there is a need for the world community's active involvement in settling this crisis.

I am not talking about the world community merely "pressuring" Russia, but about genuine political efforts aimed at stopping this war, since neither side in the conflict is showing the political will to end hostilities.

During this period so many mistakes were made, so many terrible things done and said, such dark forces put into action, that the country's leadership can stop neither them nor itself.

Any other approach will allow the war to keep reaping its bloody harvest.


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