Thursday, April 1

North Caucasus

Sadly I didn't have the time to link you to this site before I went on holiday - only last Thursday the Russia group of Amnesty Blindern (= university of Oslo) arranged a seminar on the outcome of Russian politics in Chechnya, with focus on disappearances and impunity - i.e. kidnappings as collective punishment, where the removal of productive citizens and family members force entire communities to their knees.

We were visited by, amongst others, Grigory Shvedov, editor-in-chief of Caucasian Knot (the site name is pretty much soi-disant). I would like to encourage you to read some of the articles on this site, leave a comment, get yourself engaged in the debates, even tell your friends. Most Russians are blatantly ignoring the conflict in Caucasus (and now, ironically, it is hard for them to do so, now that the Chechen guerilla "is bringing the war to their streets"), and the people of North Caucasus has a very limited voice. What people hear, is former rebel leader and president Ramzan Kadyrov, and the militant, Islamist opposition.

As desperation grows, even more Chechens are committing themselves to guerrilla groups that send their so-called Black Widows armed with strapped-on bombs into public places in Moscow and Dagestan. This is the only voice the government is willing to listen to.

And to think that your contribution, that is so small per se, could mean so much to a whole lot of people.

Caucasian Knot.


  1. I'm surprised that I found your posting on this heated topic. It's bittersweet to be able to see that there is someone else out there. No one can ever truly understand the Caucasus people because even within our own 'tribes' are we unable to communicate with one another. Perhaps its the deadly cocktail of religion, ignorance and pride that causes it to be so. Perhaps not.

  2. I think it's quite hopeless anyway to try to rationalise human behaviour, most of the time it seems fatally arbitrary. We just have to try our best to make it bearable, and if you have a conscience, or a smattering of empathy, you want to make it bearable for others, too.

    Thank you so much for your comments, by the way. :)