The terrorist acts in Volgograd have once again brought the problem of international terrorism in Russia to the forefront. But to combat the terrorist threat aside from the more immediate methods we must also understand the broad context – suicide bombers don’t appear out of thin air, they need fertile soil. And here the Baltic States played their part…
“Oh son! If you live to the next century, stop on the high Caucasus, look around and don’t forget that here were the men who raised the nation and marched to protect the freedoms and holy ideals”. These words are written on the Dzhokhar Dudaev monument in the Dzhokar Dudaev Square in Vilnius. The author is the late Lithuanian poet and interpreter Sigitas Geda, a typical product of his era: recipient of the Lithuanian SSR state award, author of the Kommunars stage play. He was noted for his “kitchen” free mindedness in the 70’s, became an activist of Sąjūdis in the 80’s, denounced everything Soviet with a passion in the 90’s. Sigitas Geda’s life story ended when after a two-week drinking session he stabbed his own daughter with knife in the chest, then received a three-year sentence in prison and died.
Seems to be a rather individual case, but the Lithuanian poet and his country (and the rest of the Baltic States if taking the broad view) have something similar in their biographies. The same rebelliousness with an official declared loyalty as payment for the generous support from the Union center. National fronts and other “movements of perestroika”. Then running from side to side, feeling that they lost the meaning of life, later finding their primal russophobia with the desire to in any way hurt “that Russia”
Glorification of not only Dudaev himself, but also the militant extremists perfectly fit into that diseased logic. It’s in this question that the Lithuanian poet and his country echoed each other: support the extremists, announce them as fighters for bright democratic ideals, erect monuments to them and name streets and squares after them. Let Russia handle the Nord-Osts, Kaspiysks, “Nevsky Expresses”, Beslans and Volgograds on their own.
But when a individual dedicates a poem to a person who initiated ethnic cleansing, it’s a personal moral and social deviation. But when the government emblazons it on a monument in a square named after a militant extremist, then it mean that these deviations are in tune with the state policy?
And that can be said not only of Lithuania. In Riga, the Cosmonautics Alley since 1997 is the Dzhokhar Dudaev Alley. In 1997 a memorial plaque appeared in Tartu, Estonia. In 2005 the Warsaw city administration refused to call the crossing of two streets after the children who died in Beslan and gave it the status of Dzhokhar Dudaev Square. In response to the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministy’s note of protest saying that this is “a fact of supporting international terrorism” the then-mayor of Warsaw Lech Kaczyński replied “It’s none of their business”.
Memorial commemorations to Dudadev in Warsaw, Vilnius, Riga and Tartu – who are they devoted to? A human right’s activist, an educator, a philanthropist? No, they are dedicated to a man under who’s authority ethnic cleansing, mass murder and cruel persecutions of Russians became a norm. A man, who fully enforced the Sharia laws – in 1997 publically shot a man and woman in Grozny, and he is glorified as a fighter for “holy ideals” in the Baltic States. So these are the “European values” that the Baltic politicians like to discuss so much? By erecting monuments to Dudaev, naming streets after him, they are supporting his heirs – those who kill and bomb today?
The answer to this question can be found in recent news, in the case of the Lithuanian citizen Egle Kusaite. Recruited by the terrorist organization Caucasus Emirate (leader Dokka Umarov) she in 2009 was detained on the eve of the Moscow metro bombings. As it was later uncovered by the police, her main target was supposed to be some military installation, where the Kaunas-born Kusaite wanted to commit a suicide bombing taking as many lives as she could. She was detained and sent to Lithuania, where after a few years instead of a ten-year sentence she got…a ten-month sentence in prison. Her defense used arguments and examples of the official policy of the Lithuanian State on glorification of the Lithuanian mercenaries who died in the Chechen War (i.e. L.Vilavichus), who was buried in Lithuania with full honors. “If one participant in the armed conflict for Chechnya’s independence is considered a hero, then why are others who wish to be participants like that considered terrorists?” – the court agreed with this argument. Nothing surprising, as we said, fertile soil is important and it exists in the Baltic States.
For example, it is known that the main outlet for North Caucasus extremist organizations is the Kavkaz-Center website, which positions itself as a
“Caucasus independent international Islamist internet agency”. This site hosts radical preachings of the Islamist Salafi who call for jihad; talks of recent terrorist attacks “which were staged by the unfaithful themselves in order to compromise the peaceful Islam”. At one time the Kavkaz-Center was based in Estonia – in 2003 server was confiscated by the Estonian Internal Security Service. Then Kavkaz-Center moved to…Lithuania and worked there for over a year. Lithuanian government shut down the website only in 2004 – after Beslan, when it became difficult justifying the “collective agitator and organizer” from Lithuanian territory.
Is this Baltic “hosting” of the Kavkaz-Center coincidental? Is it that unexpected that it wasn’t Bahrain or Saudi Arabia but instead Estonia and Lithuania? Or is this par the course?
And the sons of the first president of the unrecognized Ichkeria Avlur and Degi – why did they move to live specifically in Lithuania? Avlur Dudaev asked president Adamkus for Lithuanian citizenship in 2001, attaching to it the recommendation letters of many notable Lithuanian citizens, including then-minister of healthcare and now-minister of defense Juozas Olekas and the same poet Sigitas Geda. And Valdas Adamkus gave Dudaev Jr. his Lithuanian citizenship as an exception in recognition of his “meritorious service”. The naturalization of Avlur Dudaev was done in secret from the Lithuanian population and when it became known there was a scandal in Lithuania – what meritorious service did Dudaev’s son do for Lithuania and why did he get the citizenship under the name “Oleg Davydov”?
And Degi Dudaev, as it turned out, started a sizable production of fake EU passports in Lithuania. One could wonder for whom exactly?
Aside from that, relatives of Dudaev tried to get Estonian citizenships (also for “meritorious service”) and Riigikogu member Olev Raju on official parliament paper and through official channels of the Estonian embassy in Lithuania invited them to visit his country.
Again, strange geographic ties of Islamist extremism: not the Arabian peninsula, not Maghreb, but the Baltic, so close and seemingly so European and civilized. Respectable Baltic politicians looking over the people with strings to international radical Islamists.
The ruling elite of the Baltic countries is sorely mistaken if they think that the problem of radical extremism will never reach them and the Russian Volgograd is far away and “in case what” they can just shrug it off with protocol condolences.
They should look at the materials of the Kavkaz-Center, who based themselves in their territory once – it says a lot on how the “useful idiots” who view the “warriors of Allah” as innocent victims are handy for the “sacred affairs of jihad”. Usually the “useful idiots” are city leftists who enthusiastically join any campaign against the state: for green energy, for vegetarianism, for allowances for poor immigrants. But even the far right in their policy Baltic politicians in their diseased russophobia and urge to support even extremists as long as it hurts Russia have turned into “useful idiots”.
And in this case it’s not a private matter of certain politicians in Lithuania, Latvia or Estonia, who lobbied Dudaev’s interests yesterday and who send Kusaite to Moscow today. This problem is much bigger, showing how twisted and rotten the core of the current regime in these countries is. It’s a problem of all Baltic States whose elites try to court extremists just to irritate Russia, they act as if they don’t understand that these suicide bombers can one day come to their homes, stations, trains and buses. The recent example of the Tsarnaev brothers in the USA? Who will the Lithuanian poets dedicate their poems to then?
Lithuanian experts when evaluating the terrorist acts in Volgograd have agreed that the target of the bombing’s organizers are the Sochi Olympics. The same ones that president Grybauskaite decided not to go to “out of political reasons”. Well everyone has their own instruments, some can afford a political demarche, and some do bombings. But the goal (and this must be clearly understood) is the same.
Translated by Pavel Shamshiev.