Disinformation: Putin has never waged war on Chechnya and Chechens

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An interview of the Leader of Neutral Georgia, Valeri Kvaratskhelia was published in the January 9-15 issue of Asaval-Dasavali, in which he claimed that Vladimir Putin had never waged war on Chechnya and Chechens.

Valeri Kvaratskhelia, Neutral Georgia: “Putin has never waged war on Chechnya and Chechens. Putin was fighting Western-funded international terrorists and was freeing Chechen people from their destructive influence and violence.”
Asaval-Dasavali
9-15 January, 2016

This statement is a lie, due to the following facts:

Second Chechen War started in 1999 following Putin’s initiative to wage war on terrorism, aimed at preventing Chechnya from seceding from Russian Federation. International organizations, including the Council of Europe and Amnesty International accused both sides of violating international humanitarian law.

1. Russia committed war crimes during the Second Chechen War

According to the 2001 report of Amnesty International, in January-December period of 2000, Russia committed war crimes such as killing innocent civilians, shelling villages, destroying medical facilities, torturing war prisoners, looting, sexual violence etc. According to Memorial, an organization for protection of human rights, the number of Chechen civilians killed and disappeared in the Second Chechen War exceeds 25,000.

Hundreds of lawsuits have been submitted by Chechens against Russia to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). In 2005, the court defined for the first time the violation of the right to life, torture and inhumane treatment of Chechens by Russia.

  • Shelling of Grozny with ballistic missiles. October 21, 1999 – Russia bombed Grozno, the capital of Chechnya with ballistic missiles that killed at least 137, according to HALO Trust. Most of them were civilians.
  • Massacre conducted in Novye Aldi. February 5, 2000 – more than 60 Chechens became victims of a “cleansing” conducted by Russian military in a small town near Grozny – Novye Aldi. None of the victims was a fighter. Most of them were women and elderly people.
  • Assault in Samashki village. March 2000 – Russian military attacked women and children living in Samashki village. According to initial promises, the villagers would have one day to collect food, however this promise was not kept. At least three women were killed and five injured in artillery shelling.
  • Bombing of Katyr-Yurt. February 4, 2000 – Russian military went on the offensive against the village Katyr-Yurt. The village population received promise from the military that they would leave the village safely with white-flag-bearing buses. Despite the promise, the column loaded with Chechen people was bombed by the Russian military. The bombing of Katyr-Yurt went on for two days, taking lives of more than 200 peaceful civilians.
  • Bombing of Aslanbek-Sheripovo. February 17, 2000 – Russian military bombed Aslanbek-Sheripovo village. In 2013, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) tasked Russia to pay EUR 1.2 million to the 13 Chechens whose 18 relatives were killed during the artillery shelling of the given village.
  • Filtration camps – on the territories subject to Russian control, Russian military was capturing Chechens and transferring them to so-called filtration camps. Chechens were subject to inhumane treatment and torture in these camps. According to the survivors, tortures were permanent in the camps.
  • IDPs – according to the Amnesty International and Human Rights Watchup to 300,000 Chechens had to leave their homes. This number distributes almost equally on Chechnya and Ingushetia. Chechens were living in harsh conditions in Ingushetia. They were not allowed to the rest of the territory of the Russian Federation.
  • As of 2008, there were 57 registered common burial sites in Chechnya. According to the Amnesty International, most of the people found in the burial sites were peaceful civilians.

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2. International Islamic Brigade which was a participant of the Second Chechen War, was in the United States’ list of terrorists.

The United States put the International Islamic Brigade, whose leaders were Shamil Basayev and Ibn Al-Khattab, on the list of terrorist groups in 2003. This means that the citizens of the United States were not allowed to provide financial or material assistance to the terrorist groups; the members of the group are not allowed to enter the US, while their property, if it is in the US, is frozen.

Statement of Valeri Kvaratskhelia that Putin has not waged war on Chechens, is unjustifiedDuring the start of the Second Chechen War he was the Prime Minister and openly supported Russian intervention in Chechnya, while making “cleansing” of Chechnya his political priority. It is noteworthy that in parallel with the intervention in Chechnya, Putin’s rating reached its record high. If in August 1999, the population was supporting the Leader of the Communist Party, Gennady Zyuganov, by the end of the year, Putin’s rating reached 39%.

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Topic: Politics
Violation: Disinformation
Country: Russia
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Kvaratskhelia Valeri
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