Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Russia 2018: Expect To Be Checked, Wherever You Go

Grozny, 1995: key component to a Russian cycle of violence
The deadly terrorist bomb attack on Moscow’s Domodedovo airport this week prompted domestic reactions as predictable as the rise of the morning sun. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin promised that state retribution was “inevitable”.  The head of the Russian Orthodox Church denounced it as “the horrifying scowl of sin”. And President Dimitry Medvedev pledged stronger security measures ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and the 2018 World Cup.
Let’s take Putin first. It seems no politician is capable of reacting to a terrorist attack without the tedious tough guy stance. We’ll crush them. We’ll hit back. An examination of the reasons why a state is being attacked from within is never in question. They can only be vicious, murdering enemies acting in isolation as crazed killers, and they must be wiped out. Never mind that as long as you stay on the cycle of violence, there’s no getting off. Never mind the context of Russian aggression that started by razing the city of Grozny to the ground in the first Russia-Chechen war in the mid-1990s, when Russian forces committed human rights atrocities and thousands of civilians (including many ethnic Russians) were killed in ground and air attacks, and that continues today with the Kremlin-backed Chechen leader and human rights violator Ramzan Kadyrov.
Then there’s the ROC’s Patriarch Kirill I, with the obligatory smoldering rhetoric from the safety of a pulpit. He has God on his side, and therefore truth and righteousness too. Go on, denounce violence, it’s easy. We can do it too, because obviously a bomb planted in an airport that kills 35 innocent people and injures a further 150 is abhorrent and cowardly. But how do we stop it, moral leader? Any answers?
Finally Medvedev, after blaming poor security and sacking a few people, promises stronger measures in the future. People in the US and western Europe are familiar with what this means - tiresome, lengthy, inconvenient checks for millions of travellers, at huge expense, with absolutely no guarantee that different kinds of future terrorist attack will be prevented as long as we’re busy promoting democracy by dropping bombs on Muslim countries.
All the clampdowns, violent retaliation, the verbose posturing, and the uniformed patrols and checkpoints won’t change a thing. These terror attacks are one consequence of past human rights abuses, and the only way to prevent them in the long term comes through non-repressive political solutions that are satisfactory to all parties – an ABC historical lesson you’d think a simpleton could heed. We wonder exactly how little attention FIFA ExCom members paid to recent Russian history when they awarded the 2018 tournament. Was it barely none, or absolutely none at all?
Personally, we wouldn’t advise going near the 2018 World Cup until an independent Chechnya is governed without Russian interference, and people of non-Russian origin can walk freely around Moscow without fear of being lynched by nationalist thugs. In the current climate, those are distant prospects.


  1. nicely done. looking forward to dismanteling these rediculous ideas together.

  2. Thanks, Christopher. I shall be shamelessly linking to your excellent site on all matters Brazilian.