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Garry Kasparov Speaks to Bellingcat about Russian Involvement in the US Elections

November 7, 2016

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

Last week, ahead of the US elections, Eleanor Rose spoke to chess genius and political activist Garry Kasparov on Russia’s interests in tomorrow’s presidential elections.

Bellingcat: Russia expressed wishes to send electoral monitors to oversee the US elections, and now the Russian NGO ROIIP claims it will perform distance monitoring. What would you expect from a distance monitoring exercise?

Kasparov: Let’s agree on semantics, because you keep saying ‘monitoring’, but of course all these delegations and missions sent by Russia – they’re all state controlled, and they all just are working to further the Kremlin’s agenda. Even if they’re covered by NGO titles … it serves their plans to weaken the resolve of the free world.

Bellingcat: We saw evidence that Russian electoral monitors from ROIIP also observed the Scottish referendum. Some of what we saw suggested they had made their minds up before they went to Scotland – they posted on Facebook what they felt about the process before polling ended, which is against UK election commission rules.

Kasparov: What you observed in Scotland could also be seen by following Russian propaganda, which was comparing Scottish independence and almost mourning the next day when the referendum failed.

You could see the same in Russia regarding the referendum in Holland about association with Ukraine. It is quite amazing really that Holland was holding a referendum on an issue that had no real impact on the life of Dutch citizens, and again it was still considered by Putin’s propaganda machine as a triumph of nationalist forces, which again helped Putin achieve his political agenda.

With Brexit – it’s the same story. So they couldn’t hide their joy over the results of Brexit, and it’s not surprising that Russia is openly backing forces like Le Front National, that are openly calling for referendum on France’s membership in the EU.

Anything that helps Putin to divide Europe and to make it more vulnerable to his aggression is welcomed – and we should not forget that Putin is not a military dictator, but he’s a KGB guy. So that’s why clandestine operations are always preferable to him than a military assault, though he can use the latter one as well, as you can see.

But he always starts with traditional underground operations. Now he has huge resources and probably the largest network of lobbyists and agents since Comintern, and he’s not shy of using these agents.

Now of course, the USA offers the biggest prize a KGB colonel could ever dream of. And I don’t know whether they will send a delegation to the US because at the end of the day the US is too big – it’s not Holland – and one or two delegations will not be able to do any [real] job, or to cause any potential damage for the process. I understand that they may even stay away officially while Russian hackers will do the job.

We can see in my view more than enough evidence of them trying to get into the system to create havoc, chaos, by distorting data in the voters’ registration databases.

I have no doubt that Putin is looking for very chaotic development in the US, preferably for him civil unrest, which could be fueled by Trump’s statements about rigged elections. And unfortunately to the best of my knowledge the US electoral system, the databases actually, run by states and in some cases by municipalities, are very vulnerable and they could be sort of soft targets for professional hackers working for Putin.

Bellingcat: How would that work?

The scenario is very simple. You have a handful of battleground states where the results could be decided by really small margin. Just imagine if in a state like Ohio, Virginia, Florida, or Nevada, voters will by accident not find their names when they appear at polling stations.

So all they have to do is to erase randomly – Democrats, Republicans, who cares – and basically make sure there are tens of thousands are not able to vote because their names mysteriously have been erased.

If you can hear all these complaints from battleground states then the results of the elections can be easily challenged, and that will be from… (I assume Hillary is still going to win…) it will give Trump a unique platform to challenge the entire process.

Obviously the US officials are doing some kind of work, but from my knowledge of the system and the adequate protection that is required, I don’t think they will be able to defend the databases if the Kremlin seriously wants to attack them.

Bellingcat: Russia claimed it had been refused access to observe US elections, which was actually incorrect. The US offered Russia to observe as part of the OSCE delegation. Why would Russia lie about electoral monitors?

Kasparov: It’s a part of the same story. Of course Putin wants Trump in the Oval Office, but I think he realizes it’s probably not doable. But the second best scenario – and some would say his ideal scenario – is total chaos as a result of the elections being challenged. And this is a part of the same playbook. The American system is rigged, our observers are not allowed, Trump is complaining, voters couldn’t find their names… It’s all about destroying the integrity of the political system, which somehow serves Putin and other dictators who are not running fair elections at home.

Basically the last defense line of Putin and the like, other dictators, is “Look – nobody is perfect. Yes, we have problems at home, but look at the Untied States. Donald Trump is denied victory because…” And then you count observers not allowed, and you have a long list of [other] grievances.

Bellingcat: Putin recently denied that Russia could influence the elections, saying: “Is America some kind of banana republic? America is a great power. If I’m wrong, correct me.” What do you make of such comments?

Kasparov: Don’t forget that somehow that could be Putin’s psychological revenge for Obama’s – in my view – stupid statements. He called Russia a “regional power”; when you deal with dictators, if you say something of this kind, which is diminishing, you have to back it with your actions. Obama said a lot and did nothing, so it’s an ideal target for Putin.

In an interview with Christiane Amanpour, [Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov] said: “It’s flattering, of course, to get this kind of attention—for a regional power.

By the way, neither Lavrov nor Putin is denying Russian intervention. Basically what they said – and Lavrov’s English is good enough to understand the difference – they said, “Prove it.” And Putin is … he’s using this image you know, banana republic versus a great country, saying: “Protect your country if you can. If you are not protected, you are not a superpower.” This again serves his agenda politically, because it shows that the US is weak.

Defying the US, defying Obama for quite a while was Putin’s main trump card. Because a dictator who can no longer satisfy his people with a steady increase in improvements of living standards – he should rely on propaganda which portrays him as the only man, the white knight that protects mother Russia against global evil. And defying America gives him extra strength. Virtual, of course, but nowadays it’s almost as good as real, because he’s so powerful that he can defy America, and America is on the defensive and they cannot even protect their own electoral system. No one at home will challenge a dictator who is so arrogant and aggressive that he is challenging the US – not just in Ukraine and in Syria, but on US soil. And enjoying impunity.

Bellingcat: In the laws of 13 US states, foreign observaters are explicitly forbidden at polling stations. That’s drawn criticism from Russia, which is able to say the US doesn’t comply with OSCE recommendations. How can they respond to this?

The US has such a transparent system and there is so much media that can go after violations from both sides. So I don’t think that foreign observers, especially from countries like Russia, could do any good for US elections. But again, it’s part of the plan. The United States, when you look at legal requirements, it very often relies on state laws or federal laws. And we know that elections in America are run by state laws, since it’s an electoral college [system]. Complaining about different laws in different states is just ridiculous because some of these states have death penalty, some don’t. Some of them have really strict gun control measures, most of them don’t.

This is the way the United States election system works, and it still works fine. But again, it doesn’t matter, because if you had a plan to discredit the US electoral process you’d look for every opportunity, and unfortunately the diversity of these laws from state to state offers an opportunity to present a picture of uncertainty, ambiguity, lack of transparency – simply picking one state that could have very strict laws on foreign observers and basically saying: “This is how the whole country works.”

Bellingcat: Some of Trump’s comments about the elections being rigged look very much like comments we have seen made by the Kremlin about foreign elections. What relationship do you think Trump has to Putin?

Yeah you’re right in saying that sometimes it seems, and it is, that most of the comments he makes about the rigged elections and the stark choice America is facing – electing Hillary Clinton will start World War Three – these kind of statements come straight from the Kremlin’s propaganda.

Now regarding relations – I don’t know. Trump is not known for consistency. On most of the issues he touches, he flip flops, changing his position even during one speech, sometimes even during one sentence. It’s not unusual. But strangely enough, he’s extremely consistent in praising Putin. He doesn’t flip flop on Russia, and he even rebuked his running mate. When Mike Pence said America has to take a strong stand against Putin in Syria, Trump was ready to go over his own running mate but not to criticize Putin.

He is not a very savvy political expert, but he understands – and he has too many advisers to tell him – that his pro-Putin position doesn’t help him in that it doesn’t bring votes. I have the understanding that Trump is very pragmatic; the man does nothing that doesn’t serve him. The fact is that he is still sticking to a position that doesn’t help. And, by the way, it gave Clinton a unique opportunity to divert attention from Hillary’s own problems, also connected to Russia.

That tells me that there’s something else that we should look for, and that maybe the ties between Trump and Russian oligarchs are much deeper than we can think of.

And that brings us to the second issue: Trump’s taxes. My initial thought was that the reason Trump didn’t want to release his taxes was simple, was connected to the fact that he is not as rich as he pretends to be and that could jeopardise his image as a multibillionaire. Of course he’s very, very rich but if it happens his overall wealth is say US$ 300 million not US$ 9 billion, that would hurt his image in the eyes of people who are buying him as the most successful real estate mogul.

But now I suspect that there’s something else, something more sinister. You look at Donald Trump’s biography and [at the] many things we know about Donald Trump … Women, gambling, casinos, bankruptcies. And I wonder who has rescued Trump during the period of his bankruptcies, whether there was a considerable amount of Russian money. Because we know there was foreign money – Trump said about it himself. There was a lot of foreign money poured into Trump’s enterprise. What percentage of this money came from Russia? And I think if we were to ask this question, maybe we would understand the real reasons behind Trump’s refusal to even mildly criticise Putin.

Bellingcat: You mention Clinton will probably win – and that getting Trump in power is not the overall goal for Putin. Say Clinton wins, what do you see happening?

Kasparov: Of course it depends very much on the outcome. How close are the elections? Trump will challenge the elections. I think it’s unlikely he’ll recognise the results if it’s close. And you have enough people, you’re talking about tens of millions of people in this country who will not recognise Hillary Clinton as president. America will be weakened. So American resolve to oppose Putin’s aggression will not be adequate.

Clinton as president will be tied by her own domestic foes that will be attacking her from every direction. Now you’ve got more stories coming about of these leaked emails, you know – God knows, she could be under investigation. And if Trump rallies enough Republicans to block Hillary’s initiatives that means America as a geopolitical player will be paralysed. That’s exactly what Putin needs. It’s a perfect, perfect result of the election. America is in turmoil. Again he will be hoping for civil unrest and I can easily see the clashes between Trump supporters and Hillary supporters; you don’t have to be an author of a Doomsday scenario just to imagine what can happen in many battleground states if the results are so close and if voter databases are tampered by hostile foreign powers.

Amd then Putin will be in a position to deliver another blow, or blows, as he chooses, since again I can hardly imagine America being dragged into this domestic fight will be strong enough, will have enough resolve and determination to fulfil its duties as the head of NATO.

Bellingcat: That is a pretty frightening picture. What should the US do about it?

Kasparov: Unfortunately Obama’s policy of retrenchment led to the Iraq expansion which is – it’s a lesson, another lesson from history – hopefully we can learn from this one, though we haven’t learned from previous ones – that creating a vacuum doesn’t mean that everything’s standing still, it’s simply being filled by other guys, so as it happened in the Middle East. Obama failed to respond to Putin’s aggressive acts, and I suspected it after Obama walked away from Syria in 2013 when Assad used chemical weapons. That was a clear signal for Putin that nothing would come no matter what Putin does on his side. As I said, it’s business as usual. Obama keeps talking, and he can say whatever he wants, and Putin knows that it’s all talk and he does what he believes is in his interest at this very moment.

I think that America had to retaliate or at least make it very clear that the cyber attack will not go unpunished. But the problem is that we just heard bravados from Biden, but it was not backed by anything substantial. Again I might be wrong, I don’t know, they might be doing something. But so far we are always hearing concern from the White House that “Oh, our actions could spike the cyber war,” but we are at cyber war – I mean they are attacking – and they will keep attacking as long as America tries to avoid the clash. Because they view America’s caution as a sign of weakness.

Bellingcat: There are signs Russia has been working to undermine the OSCE for a long time – they claimed not enough people from east of Vienna are represented, and have moved to limit OSCE funding at various times. How can we see the comments Russia has made in the US elections as compared with other foreign elections – is this their biggest effort yet?

Kasparov: Yes, absolutely. By the way, let’s not waste our time looking for discrepancies in their statements. Lavrov and Putin could say something today and tomorrow they can refute themselves. Lying for dictators is a normal form of communication, so that’s why when Western politicians are trying to reconcile Putin’s different views – whatever he says is just for today, and tomorrow could be different, and yesterday it was just another story. So one day they could criticise the OSCE and another day they could demand that OSCE rules are imposed on some American state. It’s all about convenience, it’s all about their current goals. I compare it to chess – dictators are always very tactical, they play one move and they don’t care what’s happening long term, it’s not about strategy.

It’s all about surviving today, maybe tomorrow morning and then it will be another day. And they just saw there was a unique opportunity because they spotted so many weak spots in the Western political system. And after years of infiltration of this political system, financial system, economic system by having people like Schroeder, Berlusconi, Sarkozy and then you go down the ticket – they realised that they could reach their goals by playing the classical political game. So by using elections as a mechanism to bring people they support to power, or if it doesn’t work, to make sure that those who stay in power are so weak that they will not be able to move.

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69 Comments

  1. Mad Dog

    Because they were persecuted by the Central government. Pretty easy to figure out who can and cannot have access to the people. As for Novoya Gazeta, well gee, they have had six journalists assassinated. Everytime some one gets a bit popular with the masses or too close to the truth they get whacked or their offices get ransacked or they get forced out of their premises. Think up all the excuses you can, but opposition media or media with some balls always get hit in one way or another. You said “Novaya Gazeta is rather critical to the government.” and that to me means they are critical to a certain extent, but not a full blown opposition paper, though that is probably what they want to be. And again, the NYT does not feed the public a bunch of Russophobic news. I think you mistake editorials as news, maybe in Russia (LOL), but not in the NYT. I read it everyday and it is not a full blown stream of anti-russian news, and certainly not stuff they just make up. However, Garry at least has a pulpit in the US, something not granted to most people voicing critical items against Czar Putin and his cronies. You really mistake criticism as being anti-Russian, but in my opinion, it is pro-Russian. The minions of Putin are ruining the country with wasteful spending and lavish dachas, corruption at a peak. YOU will suffer in the end especially when you get older cause these guys will take the money and run!

    Reply
    • stranger

      Listen, Politkovskya and Estimirova, the most prominent suffered journalists of Novaya Gazeta, were killed in 2006 and 2009 during the second Chechen war. Their materials were focused solely on the war in Chechnya and the critic of federal forces there and the supporting them Chechen clans inside Chechnya itself like Kadurov. Estimirova lived in Grozny. There were a lot of violence around Chechen topic. You know that the killers of Boris Nemtsov were also traced to Chechnya. Chechnya is a difficult and bloody topic, including the teracts in Moscow and all over Russia where 2000 people died for 15 years of terror. That was not coming from the central government.

      There a lot of balanced mass media in Russia. There are a lot of mass media specializing in only opposing view. Despite many problems, there is no dictatorship, there is no censorship, Putin is not a czar. Those media say enough critic for a strong balanced modern state. Not enough for the central TV maybe, not ideal, but most of the people have a free and full access to the information, different opinions, including the internet.

      What do you call a ‘full blown opposition paper’? Give an example in America. What Kasparov saying is just a nonsense, that is not a critic. His type of opposition is saying that Russia should be defeated, they need an external catastrophe and internal split, they are ready to destroy everything in Russia just to ‘change the regime’. Give an example of a similar opposing channel at the central TV in America, who would be saying America needs to be defeated, an external catastrophe is needed, the states should veto the federal external policy or even leave the federation. Even the opposition in America are saying they want America to be great (again), everybody understands differently what ‘great’ means of course.

      There are many shades of the critics. There is a healthy criticism, there is a preselection of only critical news, there is an intentional psychological work to manipulate the people. Let’s not confuse them, even though sometimes there is no distinct border and it is difficult to distinct.

      Reply
    • stranger

      Remember where Putin has come from? Not from KGB. But from the wild 90s, the era of wild oligarchy and the disorganized government. He has not managed to change that system radically, but oligarchs were removed from the political power.
      Russia is still in a transitional state. What is good for Switzerland for example or for America is not good for Russia. What we have now is not ideal but it can be much worse, and it used to be much much worse as we all saw in 90s. You compare Russia to modern wealthy European states, but we compare it to herself from 90s.

      In Russia the most tasteful pieces is the control over natural resources like gas, oil, metals, etc. That is where all our oligarchs of 90s (and still) have came from, they are not Russian Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Ideally all resources must belong to the people, not to the private hands, creating oligarchs who honestly believe that is theirs. Currently the government have a major share in many resource monopolies like Gazprom and Rosneft, more than in 90s, but far not everything. If any uncontrollable transition of power happens like a coup or something, the new revision of resources may start. The resources may all come to the private hands of other newborn oligarchs going nuts from their luck, and may be all sold abroad. If that happens the global corporations would own our wealth and the government and Russians will be left a bankrupt. People will not live better. The other negative scenario may include the collapse of the country and the local wars.

      Whether Putin is good in the current transitional situation in Russia and whether he actually aspires to pursue Russia’s interests I don’t know. That is a matter of discussions. That may be worse. He supports some balance and stability and that should not be taken for granted. Any attempts to change him before the elections by the mass protests and unrests in the current unparalleled international tensions would be definitely suicidal for the country. We don’t want a destabilization, we don’t want a chaos like in Ukraine. Please don’t confuse democracy with just failed state.

      Reply
    • stranger

      That mathematical equation has too many variables while you are applying the linear approximation and probably based on wrong input so to say.

      Reply
    • stranger

      “Because they were persecuted by the Central government” what because?? Dozhd is broadcasted by the large cable providers and satellite channels because it was prosecuted by the Central government? The facts have shown that your statements about Dozhd were wrong.

      Reply
  2. Mad Dog

    I beg to disagree with most of what you said, especially about Chechnya, a wonderful tool used far too often by Czar Putin in drumming up all kinds of phobias and excuses. That wonderful guy, Ramzan Kadyrov, is really innocent in all this, even though Estimirova was reporting on all the blood he was deep into, and all of the threats he made against here. Chechnya, land of ‘official’ disappearances and thugs run by Ramzan, buddy of Putin as we discussed before. Politkovskya? She was prescient when she wrote: “We are hurtling back into a Soviet abyss, into an information vacuum that spells death from our own ignorance. All we have left is the internet, where information is still freely available. For the rest, if you want to go on working as a journalist, it’s total servility to Putin. Otherwise, it can be death, the bullet, poison, or trial—whatever our special services, Putin’s guard dogs, see fit.” How true and exactly what I am talking about. She knew what was coming and who it was coming from. Of course, we have the four other folks to discuss as well. So, please tell us again why two journalists working on HR violations in Chechnya by all sides, but threatened and tortured by the ‘official’ side, were killed by insurgents? Another human rights activist, Markelov shot in the middle of Moscow with another journalist. Strange goings on, but I am sure you have excuses for all of them. Rogue Chechans I guess. Seems like suppression of free speech to me. “Remember where Putin has come from? Not from KGB.” ???? What??? He was a KGB agent for 16 years, so really unsure of what you mean here. He served before the Wild 90’s keeping tabs on foreigners, making sure they were being good boys. Sounds kind of like the stuff he does not, but with his own citizens.
    Admit it, the sources available to the average Russian are far too limited, sad to say.

    Reply
    • stranger

      How is it different from what I said, where do you disagree? You have been already caught on distortion the facts about Dozhd which contradict to your theory. You pick up particular examples and misinterpret them trying to build a conspirocy theory on top of them. That is where we divert. Chechnya was not a tool of manipulation by Putin. Chechnya was very huge problem nobody knew how to solve. If you remember there were 2 Chechen wars with short peace signed between them, acts of terrorism for 15 years, involvement of Middle East money and fighters and western mass media support. Explaining everything as a game of allmighty Putin who is able to control everything even American elections is simply ridiculous. Don’t you agree?

      Reply
    • stranger

      Where did I say, they were killed by ‘insurgents’? I said those 2 journalists were a special case, because related to Chechnya. There were a lot of violence and a number of assassinations around Chechnya and Kadurov, not only journalists.
      Markelov was not a journalist at all, but lawyer and he was related to neo-na3i court trial. How can you ascribe him to ‘Punits freedom of speach victims’ I cannot understand.
      Kadurov is awful and controversial figure, but his is accepted as long as he is defending from the armed bands of gorillas and terrorist underground but most important to suppress the rise of radical Islam a la ISIS. That is only you, who think that noble insurgents attacking the government and killing cilivians by teracts are noble and respected fighters for freedom like ‘mild opposition’ in Syria. But all normal people perceive them as they are – killers and thugs. He also seems to be popular in Chechnya. Honestly Chechens have been wild rogues for centuries. I appologize and beg not to be treated wrong, I know excellent actors from Chechnya and Surkov btw is also Chechen. Russian Empire, didn’t need Chechnya. When Georgia asked Russia for protection like 300 years ago, the War-Georgian road came via Chechnya. Chechens constantly attacked and robed the caravans going to from Georgia.
      Now many Chechens feel proud to belong to Russia, their comparably high standard of living is provided by large budget dotations. The war and terrorism threat was solved like that so far. Chechnya is a different topic unrelated to what we are talking here.

      Reply
    • stranger

      You can also recall the assassination of Yamadaey just near Kremlin at Moscow river road. Yamadaey was from a competing with Kadurov clan and was returning from a meeting in Kremlin. He was not a journalist at all, maybe only the proposed successor of Kadurov.

      Admit please that your claims about Dozhd have appeared utterly wrong so is all your conspiracy theory build on misinterpreted facts torn out of context.

      Reply
  3. Mad Dog

    i can see by the time and energy you out into this that this is a sore point among certain circles in Russia. But it is a point with a long record and a lot of persecution both blatant and hidden. Dissent is dealt with one way or another in your country and many have spoken about it. Sadly a number of those folks have suffered. It would be nice to see discussions come out of the kitchens, like during Perestroika, but now the atmosphere keeps people huddling around those warm tables discussing the madness going on around them. Guess you are part of that, guess you see nothing wrong with bombing a group of people who just wanted their homes back, or blaming those same people for most of the crimes committed against dissidents (among others). Then you defend one of the most blood thirsty thugs in that area despite the fact that people like him drove those same people to “terrorism”. That’s okay I guess since as shown here over and over Czar Putin is not averse to shedding a lot of innocent blood, both Russian and Foreign. I stand by my accusations that there is no free press in Russia. Only Putin acolytes believe otherwise.

    Reply
    • stranger

      A part of what? Whom am I blaming for the crimes committed against dissidents? What are you raving?

      Reply
    • stranger

      Chechnya is of course a sore point, because of so much blood shed and because nobody appreciate Kadurov but he is believed a solution of Chechens problem. My subway line in Moscow was blown buys terrorist somewhere in 2004, about 30 died. You don’t care about that of course.
      What do you mean I defend Kadurov, I’m not. Moreover I believe he or his circle MIGHT be related to the murder of Politkovskay, Yamadaev and even Nemtsov. I’m trying to explain you why he is still tolerated. You are saying Kadurov is a thug – perfect. What do you propose instead?? Because пиздеть не мешки ворочать.
      You was caught at the attempt to deceive up about TV Rain Dozhd, you didn’t admit, but trying to deceive further.
      Tell me one thing. You misinterpret awfully the Russian realities but you know that deeply, deeper than any average American does. And I don’t know how to explain – you focus on people and events in Russia, very specific for a Russian view, an average American would focus other people and things. How are you related to Russia? I would rather think you used to live a long time in Russia or even a soviet immigrant immigrated to America 20-30 years ago at the times of deep USSR. May be wrong of course. But I’m surprised you don’t look like an average American.

      Reply
  4. Mad Dog

    You said it: Kadurov but he is believed a solution of Chechens problem. Just have to laugh at that one, but it is really part of the problem. Russia created the monster and then they end up using parts of that monster to control, very violently, the problem they created. How about giving the Chechens a say in the matter.
    Further, the number of journalists murdered in Russia since 2000 is appalling and they all can not be blamed on the Chechens. Even if some of them were, there is great suspicion that many of those so-called Chechen murders were ordered by folks like the FSB. Doesn’t matter, they are all soaked in blood. Also, Chechens in desperation moved into a Salafist mode after some brutal treatment of the populace in their region. Tit for tat is not good policy, but the reason it happened is a result of Russian actions in the region. Putting a thug in charge will not change that, but will only make it worse. I am an average Yank interested in the world.

    Reply
    • nyolci

      “How about giving the Chechens a say in the matter.”
      Kadyrov is Chechen and frankly he has mass popular support in Chechnia. He was actually elected. So this is BS.
      “the number of journalists murdered in Russia since 2000”
      is much less than before 2000, and very probably has nothing to do with the state apparatus. Credible evidence and sensible motive are missing, sorry.

      Reply
    • stranger

      I cannot agree with you that Chechen extremism was created by Russia. First of all you can recall why War-Georgian road was called so. When Georgia asked for Russian protection in 1783, this only road between Russia and Georgia was under constant incursions of wild Chechen and other close nations bands.
      Second you can recall that Chechnya was de facto independent after the Khasavieurt peace treaty ended the first Chechen war. That ended up by the raise of Islamic extremism imported from the Middle East (Saudi Arabia never ever leave the friendly muslim countries along, whether it post Yugoslavian Bosnia or Chechnya), raise of crime, banditism, slavery, and systematic hostages kidnaping for ransom. The peace was ended by the group of butcher Basaev and Middle East extremist Khattab invasion to Dagestan which they were planning to liberate from infidels and establish Islamic Khalifat there. So much was their surprise when Dagestanians refused to be liberated to gave a resistance joined soon by the federal forces. You know that it ended up by the blowing up 4 apartment buildings in Moscow and other cities (you still believe FSB blown up those building, the version invented and disseminated by fled oligarch – Boris Beresovskiy), btw blown up by Karacharovets not exactly Chechens and the following second Chechen war which ended up in turn by bringing to the power the loyal to Moscow Kadurov.
      Afaik Kadurov is very popular in Chechnya, I believe he is accepted by the majority and he is quite legitimate. Chechens feels as at home in Moscow drive luxury cars and shot into air on their marriages and feels great to association themselves with Russia, local Russians sometimes feel not so great about them. As long as Kadurov keep Chechnya from Islamic extremists, don’t forget the last attack of terrorist on Groznyy was a couple of years ago, when Ukrainian events just started when a they captured a building in Groznyy which burned afterwards. Don’t forget about ISIS recruiting of their fighters including remote ones among all Muslims they can pursue/deceive to their side. As long as Kadurov attract huge investments into the republics in the form of federal dotation, regardless of his fleet of dozens of luxury cars, Grozny has been rebuild greatly, if you saw the modern pictures from Groznyy. As long as Kadurov guarantees the peace there he will be supported and that covers many of his other sins real or ascribed. Chechen question is really very difficult and dangerous one.
      You probably confuse Russian actions in Chechnya at Russian territory with USA actions in the Middle East at foreign territory, which resulted in the raise of ISIS, millions refugees to Europe and terroristic thread to all Europe and USA themselves.

      Reply
      • nyolci

        “Second you can recall that Chechnya was de facto independent after the Khasavieurt peace treaty ended the first Chechen war. That ended up by the raise of Islamic extremism imported from the Middle East”
        Somehow the West always forgets this, and the Dagestani incursion which was, apparently, the real reason for the second Chechen war, not something like “Putin’s bloodlust” or the other BS.

        Reply
        • stranger

          Yes, from Dagestanian incursion and following harsh teracts with exploded multi apartment buildings in Buynaks, Volgodonsk and Moscow where several hundred people died.

          Reply
    • stranger

      Don’t forget about one more actor on the political arena of Russia. Boris Berezovskiy the former Kremlin’s Gods Farther as wrote Paul Khlebnikov and fled oligarch who brought Putin as a successor for Yeltsin, but then split with him and had to flee to London. He was a very remarkable figure and a lot of disinformation about Putin including the version that FSB blew up Moscow apt buildings originated from him. Berezovskiy committed suicide at his luxury villa in London leaving billions of debts unreturned.
      Now there is another fled oligarch from wild 90s Michail Khodorkosvsiy who has made his aim to remove the ‘Putin’s regime’. They are very active in the informational space in the west and some laud political assassinations MIGHT be attributed to them as well, including the murder of Litvinenko, Estimirova, Boris Nemtsov at least they are beneficiaries of that murders.
      Btw. Paul Khlebnikov, an American journalist working in Moscow, wrote another article in a year about a Chechen commander during the second Chechen war. Probably the Chechen commander expected some praiseful article as they got used when supported by western media that time. But Khlebnikov titled it ‘The Talk with a Barbarian’. Khlebnikov was killed soon after that in Moscow. You would probably ascribe his assassination to FSB also. That was somewhere in late 90s.

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      • stranger

        Sorry Paul Khlebnikov was killed in 2004, the 2 his most famous books where he got influential enemies to himself were:
        “The Kremlin’s God Farther” about Boris Berezovskiy and all evil 90s in Russia
        and
        “Conversation with a Barbarian: Interviews with a Chechen Field Commander on Banditry and Islam”
        which is believed became the reason for the murder
        He was a very nice and honest Russian-American journalist. Hardly you can suspect a motive from FSB.
        To make the picture absolutely vague and open opportunities for conspiracy, we can recall that Berezovskiy himself served as Russia’s official representative in Chechnya, made friends with field rebel commanders and maintained a close connection with Alhmed Zakaev in London, the unrecognized rebels government minister a face of independend republic ‘Ichkeria’ (a local name for Chechnya) for the west.

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  5. Mad Dog

    Sorry you two live in a fantasy world, but I guess it is to be expected because of where you do live….LOL. How about all the stuff that happened around those explosions, such as bombing Grozny right after they happened before anyone really knew anything. How about two members of the investigation team being assassinated before the release. Oh yeah, more Chechans involved (maybe some of those Chechan FSB agents planted in the area). But the real clincher is why? Hexogen is produced in one plant in Perm oblast for which the central FSB is responsible for the security. Hmmm, all of those explosives trucked out for all of those explosions right under the nose of the FSB. Amazing. Of course, it was all a plot by B, but he said nothing about who was responsible until almost a year later.
    Chechens were protected and then they were persecuted under Stalin, and that is why they wanted independence. Same kind of things were happening in the Ukraine, but I am sure neither of recognize any of that. Easier to blame those dirty Wahabists for big mistakes by the FSB.
    And please don’t get me started on elections….as they are another trip through Fantasyland.

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    • stranger

      “Sorry you two live in a fantasy world, but I guess it is to be expected because of where you do live….LOL”
      Sorry nmaD doG, but to be able to make such snobbish claims so jauntily there should be something material under you words, otherwise it look just like a cheap clownery and nothing more regardless of your ridiculous self-over-confidence. So far I see nothing substantial behind your words other than shallow and poor-informed conspirological constructions. As for the Moscow blasts I recommend to read Yulia Latunina’s program on Echo of Moscow and also the revelations of Felshtinskiy who invented this version according to his words, his interview with the suspected Achimez Gochiyaev and press conferences of Alexander Litvinenko whom Berezovskiy assigned to Felshtinskiy to add some credibility to his hypothesis. The statements of Basaev and Khattab themselves, the witnessers of the immediate executors. They were Karacharovets, close to Chechnya nation, not exactly Chechens, but the same Islamic international. There is a lot of material known from the first hands and different sources about this matter. I believe it was not Hexogen, but sugar with nitre mixture, Hexogen is the confusion with Ryazan incident, but need to refresh the memory. You should better study the materials first and stay away from the western belletristic on this subject. Because otherwise it make impression that you can only laugh at what you know very superficially.

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        • stranger

          The building in Buynaksk was blown up by the mixture of sugar, aluminum powder and saltpetre with addition of trotyl. The same mixture was found stored at the basement at Borisovskie Ponds.
          Where do you get your conspirology details that it was Hexogen and even a Hexogen from a special factory belonging to FSB?? Hexogen is also widely used in the explosives works for mining etc. The confusion with Hexogen appeared probably because it was originally detected/reported at the Ryazan incident, but Ryazan was different in all others respects too.
          Show us it was Hexogen and from a single special factory only controlled by FSB. That fake details are invented intentionally, because the conspirologiests have not enough real evidences to support their legend.

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    • stranger

      “How about two members of the investigation team being assassinated before the release” Who do you mean? Not sure, Shchekochikhin and Litvinenko?
      You seem to still believe in almighty Putin and omnipresent FSB.

      Reply
  6. Mad Dog

    Also show me the number of journalist killed after 2000. Yes, Stalin killed far more, but he killed far more of every class of people, but the numbers of journalists killed linked to the subject of their articles is a pretty ominous portrait.

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    • stranger

      If we take a look at stats of assassinations of journalist, there is not too much difference between 1993-2000 and after 2000. The murders started in 90s, competitors, inconvinient politician, journalists were removed not the least by big business. That was a common way to solve any problems in 90s. If we add all ordered murders to journalists we would get much bigger numbers before 2000, that after. After 2000, there was a very harsh Chechen war, accompanied by terroristic war, many suffered journalists were related to Chechnya. Others cannot be suspected to do anything with the government as Paul Khlebnikov for example.

      Reply

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