Question: A tragedy has recently happened in the city of Kaspiisk, killing not only Russian soldiers, but Dagestan nationals as well. Is the Caucasus moving closer to the new war?
Answer: The question is very serious. The explosion in Kaspiisk of May 9th took a lot of lives away, but it is hard to say, what it was. No matter what those terrorists wanted, they managed to prove the humanity that the events of America’s September 11 echoed in Kaspiisk. This will give us an opportunity to negotiate with our colleagues from various European structures in a rather tough way. They reproach Russia of its policy in the Caucasus, but look what is going on there! Speaking about the big number of the killed people, we have to pay attention to the following details. First of all, it was a holiday, May 9th – the Victory Day. Secondly, one may assume that special services did not work with precision: if there is an undertaking planned, in which a lot of people are going to participate, then the place of this undertaking is supposed to be examined thoroughly.
Q: Let’s remember the year 1999, when Shamil Basayev made an incursion in Dagestan and even managed to get away with it. As your colleagues told me, the bandits could be detained on a mountain pass, but it was not ordered so. Maybe there is some act of corruption in the picture because of the fact that elections are coming up in Dagestan? FSB Director Nikolay Patrushev claimed that the organizers of the explosion were hiding in the Kodori Gorge of Georgia. Do you think there is a connection in this respect?
A: I cannot tell you, who organized the explosion and what for. I would rather wait for the official results of the probe. Furthermore, I did not witness the tragedy personally, so it is hard for me to suppose anything. It stands the reason that the Caucasus and the republic of Chechnya constitute the problem that is going to last for years. We need a figure of great authority in order to solve the Caucasian problem. There should be one way out – to negotiate, this is a political solution of the problem. All those people, who are guilty of acts of terrorism, must be found and publicly punished.
Q: Who is it possible to negotiate with?
A: I think we must use Ahmad Kadyrov (the head of the Chechen administration) more actively, since there may be problems with Aslan Maskhadov (the so-called president of Chechnya). Furthermore, he was repeatedly invited to negotiated, but something stopped him from that. Presidential envoy in the region, Viktor Kazantsev, had a meeting with Maskhadov, but it led to no results. Terrorists’ goal is to keep the tense situation in a country. International terrorism is a form of aggression, which does not have any limits. I think that the whole world came to conclusion after September 11 that international terrorism was limitless.
Q: Do you think that it is not nice on the part of the USA to condemn Russia for struggling with terrorism?
A: I think that the USA does not condemn Russia, this can be said about Europe. We stressed at the Parliamentary Assembly of NATO that we had a common trouble and that we had to struggle with it together.
Q: Many of your colleagues in the State Duma said that it would be easier now, since our president removed Boris Berezovsky’s team and that Berezovsky was hiding abroad. But terrorists are not getting poorer of that anyway: there are a lot of incidents of oil and weapons smuggle. Why is it happening like that?
A: I cannot estimate the way that the president works with his personnel, this is president's business. All military structures are subordinated to the president. Our president is rather a tough man. We are facing the war on our territory, which is new for us, this is the new fact for the humanity in the beginning of the new century.
Q: Do you reject the possibility for corruption amid senior officials and generals? One of your colleagues said that the telegram, which ordered to withdraw the troops from the Caucasus (the telegram was sent by General Kvashnin), was equal to treason.
A: There are adequate contractual conditional, warrants that are either prolonged or not prolonged. I think that a senior military official, a FSB representative, can act only within the scope of the conception, which is determined in the state scale. No one is entitled to cross this line. If you abuse your power, then the president can make a cadre decision. I do not know, what that person said that you mentioned. I can confirm that both the Russian Defense Ministry and our military men make their judgements. It has recently transpired that there was military exercise conducted on the outskirts of the city of Nizhni Novgorod. Five countries participated in the arrangement, members of the Collective Security Treaty. Anti-terrorist struggle was the basic motive of this exercise.
I received a letter from the town of Minusinsk, which was in the south of the Krasnodar region. The man, who wrote the letter, set out his propositions in it. He said that he had experience in Afghanistan. I sent his propositions to the Defense Ministry, let’s see, what they are going to answer. In particular, he wrote that all anti-terrorist groups had to consist of country-fellows, the whole system must be re-organized.
Q: Do you think that the Central Department of Intelligence is not as corrupted as the Home Ministry?
A: Speaking about the system of the Central Department of Intelligence, I have to say that I have not seen any information about corruption there lately.
Q: The Chechen congress will soon take place in Turkey, do you think that the fact that Turkey is helping terrorists is shameful?
A: I think that there is a subject for discussion in this respect. I know that there is the Turkish delegation within the structure of the Parliamentary Assembly of NATO. We will use the situation.
Q: If such acts of terrorism are taking place on our territory, maybe it would be reasonable to introduce a state of emergency? Do you think that this can lead to negative consequences?
A: Any action may lead to both negative and positive consequences. A state of emergency is a way to show pressure on a certain territory. I believe that the situation is to normalize, I think that the president is running a proper strategy.
Q: Do you agree with the proposal that there should be a Russian governor in Dagestan?
A: I think that in this case our entire state organization should be reconsidered together with the Constitution. In this case we will have to retrieve Tsar Nikolay I. At present moment there is no such opportunity. We announced that every nation was independent. Alexander Lebed died in the Krasnoyarsk region and it happened so that out imperfect laws did not allow to settle this question. Lebed’s first deputy is handling the situation in the Krasnoyarsk region now, but a person on this position is not elected. We have a lot of problems. I think that there should be a variant, when a deputy will go together with the first person.
Q: Do you think that Russia’s membership in NATO will bring good to us?
A: I don’t know. Let’s see what happens.
Q: Do you think that it is possible to cancel death penalties during the time, when explosions may happen every day and any time?
A: We raised and passed this question, imposing a temporal moratorium on death penalty for the sake of our incorporation in the Council of Europe. But Americans are not canceling death penalty in their country. I think that the country is not ready for this act.
Q: In other words you believe that the trial on Salman Raduyev and others was like mocking at what happened?
A: Dagestan people say: “There is no trust in the government. They caught Raduyev, but he is playing a madman, watching television in his cell. Is it a punishment? They should have been hung on a square or burnt alive.”
Q: Do you agree with those people of Dagestan, who say such things?
Georgy Maitakov was interviewed by Ilya Tarasov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov