Why mass graves are now being discovered in Chechnya?
Publication time: 4 July 2008, 08:45
Over the past 10 days at least two reports have come from Chechnya that became the subject of active discussion in the Russian press and in the human rights circles.
First there was the report that a mass grave of 800 peaceful civilians was discovered in the vicinity of the Christian cemetery in [Chechen capital] Jokhar (former Grozny). While referring to the locals, the media were reporting that some military lab of the Russian invaders used to be deployed in this area during active war operations.
The people were being murdered on a mass scale and then buried not far from the lab and the base.
This past Wednesday a report was received from Chechnya about another newly-discovered mass grave. This time there were 300 women, elderly, and small children killed, whom the Russian invaders lured into the so-called humanitarian corridor and then shot in cold blood with cannons and tanks. Special teams of snipers were finishing off the wounded.
Dead bodies of women and children were buried near the town of Goryachevodsk.
There are two reasons why the reports about the discovered burial sites in Chechnya are interesting. First is that the local puppet structures were the ones who initiated the "discoveries". And second is that it is the well-known and well-described mass graves, which the entire Chechnya knows about, that are now being "discovered". There are hundreds of such burial sites all across Chechnya.
"This fact (discovery of the mass grave near Goryachevodsk - KC) was described in detail back in 2005 in the third part of our documentary book "This Is Where People Live. Chechnya: Chronicles of Violence", containing testimonies of witnesses. But back then the authorities did not get interested. And today they started talking out loud about it," Usama Baisayev, member of the Memorial human rights center, reminded.
Prosecutor's Office of the Russian invaders announced that as many as 2 "criminal prosecution cases" had been launched. "And this is compared to 200,000 crimes committed by the military?" - Chairman of social organization North Caucasus Peacemaking Center, Aset Malsagova, gets outraged.
Still, it seems like the local human rights activists do not quite get the point of what's going on. The thing is that the very fact of "discoveries" of what has been known for so long is unprecedented. Also it is interesting to see how these "discoveries" get wide coverage by the press, which is actively discussing the prospects of the military tribunal and the need to punish the war criminals.
All you have to do is recall who was the commander-in-chief of the Russian troops during the Second Russian-Chechen War campaign, the period to which the mass graves belong to, in order to understand who is to be blamed.
If somebody has forgotten - it was the current prime minister of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin.
So far it is too early to claim that the mass graves "discovered" in Chechnya are the sign that someone is trying to undermine Putin's career and that Kadyrov has joined the camp of Putin's opponents. Yet one can say with a great deal of confidence that the "Chechen discoveries" will not remain unnoticed in the Russian "White House" (parliament building), where the ex-commander-in-chief of the Russian troops is now "working".
Also it is obvious that these mass graves would have never been "discovered" without an approval from the highest authorities in the Kremlin. Someone in the Kremlin needed them to be discovered.