Thursday, August 21, 2008
Why did Russia do it?
I wonder how many of those worrying over SO and Abkhazia had the same feelings for Chechnya?...The US stood aside and let Russia pretty much destroy most of Chechnya, to this day Russians are still kidnapping and "disappearing" Chechans on a daily basis.
I have many of the same thoughts you did, Marc. The main difference, of course, is that Chechnya wasn't considered an independent state but a part of Russia, so the West felt it could look the other way.
Only guys like you and me would think otherwise: you because you've traveled enough to know that Chechnya is really a separate state under Russian domination, me because I've read so much I know that the nineteenth-century Russian government considered genocide as an option for Chechnya, while the Chechens under Soviet domination held to the credo that true manhood couldn't be achieved until you've killed at least one Russian.
The Chechens are probably the most aggessive and anti-Russian of Russia's minorities, and I was surprised that Yeltsin chose to pick a fight with them. But most interesting is that Putin entered national politics with what may have been a faked Chechen attack against Russian targets. Putin steered Russia from direct confrontation to employing its own Chechen stooges to commit mayhem on its behalf.
Georgians, by contrast, are viewed as gentle-hearted and fairly Russian-friendly; they didn't make good Soviet soldiers, but they made fine officers. Western training was in the process of changing that characteristic, to make a truly effective Georgian military - but Great Russians want to dominate everywhere, as long as they find it profitable, anyway.
Lo and behold a Russian puppet militia (who had that idea?) initiated an attack which provoked a Georgian response labelled "genocide" by the Russians, who promptly invaded with a division already fully mobilized and equipped with detailed plans in its officers' map cases, and Chechen puppet militias in its train.
The whole operation stinks of Putin's fingers, from the preparation of Russian opinion to the deceptions and tools used. But why did he do it?
That's the stupid part. Because Putin still believes that Russia can only operate as an empire, and thus he believes that if an empire doesn't expand it must contract. Rape and rapine are bonuses that benefit everyone from the contract soldier to the Kremlin leadership. And given the successful control of Russian public opinion, Russia is now locked into its bad old habits once more.
International law? That's just for wimps. The strong take what they can and the weak suffer as they must. If you wanted it differently you could have spoken out when the Chechens needed you. Welcome back to the nineteenth century, people.