Russia’s War on Terror

After the Beslan massacre of school children, Putin is making interesting moves (and we think Bush went overboard with the PATRIOT Act!) and statements.

Putin now says that Russia is ready and willing to take preventative steps against terrorism:

President Vladimir Putin said Friday the Kremlin was preparing to take preventive action against terrorists, even as a Chechen rebel leader purportedly claimed responsibility for a series of attacks that killed hundreds of people and threatened further violence.

Putin’s comments were the highest-level warning yet that Russia could take some sort of pre-emptive action against terror groups in the wake of this month’s deadly school hostage-taking in Beslan. Lower-level officials have threatened anti-terror strikes abroad, and it was not immediately clear whether Putin was referring to actions only at home or outside Russia’s borders.

My bet is that Russia won’t look beyond it’s borders unless they find some really direct ties to another country. I can’t really blame Putin for the aggressive stance (besides we have the same stance). If an organization was taking children hostages in my country, I’d do all in my power to crush that organziation. Especially when the leader of that organization says that causing the deaths of hundreds of school children is something they find “comfortable and beneficial for [them].”

Apparently in the same meeting Putin also accused the West of pandering to the terrorists:

“A patronizing and indulgent attitude to the murderers amounts to complicity in terror,” Putin said, widening a rift between Russia and the West over how to deal with Chechen rebel violence.

[. . .]

“We have long warned about the threat of terrorist attacks, but our voice has not been heard,” Putin told an international meeting of city mayors.

“Moreover, we faced double standards in the attitude toward terrorism,” he said, repeating charges the West has been two-faced by giving asylum to top Chechens and urging Moscow to negotiate with rebel leaders but rejecting the possibility of dialogue with Osama bin Laden.

He said calls to deal with Chechen separatists recalled the failed appeasement of Nazi Germany before World War II.

“I urge you to remember the lessons of history, the amicable deal (with Adolf Hitler) in Munich in 1938 … Of course, the scale of consequences is different … But the situation is very similar. Any surrender leads to them widening their demands and makes losses worse.”

I sure hope he isn’t referring to the United States because we have been anything but soft on terrorists. Though I must confess I do not know what the current Administration’s stance is on Russia’s Chechnya problem.

3 thoughts on “Russia’s War on Terror”

  1. I think you’re not nearly skeptical enough of Putin. Even our own government has said he’s going WAY too far in his broad assumption of powers following the Beslan massacre. The New Republic has a good story in the new issue on Putin’s moves and the likelihood that they’re provoke a fascist revolution. Unfortunately subscription-only but I’ll send you the text.

  2. Putin has been slowly ursurping powers since he took office. His presidency has been increasingly described as a democratic dictatorship.

  3. Greg and Kyle,agreed. Putin’s moves are at the very least worrisome and suspect. I’m not a big fan of those moves. I just try to give him the benefit of the doubt when it comes to fighting terror…though, like I said before, I’d be quite surprised if he looked beyond Chechnya.

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