The trial of colonel Yury Budanov, who is indicted for murdering Chechen girl Elza Kungayev, will continue next Monday, April 27. Stanislav Markelov, the Kungayevs’ new lawyer, is supposed to become familiar with the files of Budanov's case. The former lawyer, Abdullah Khamzayev, is surprised with Kungayevs’ new attorney. Khamzayev claimed that he did not break the contract, but simply asked the court to delay the consideration of the case until he recovers. Khamzayev has no idea who hired the new lawyer, because Kungayev’s father is in the TB hospital in Nazran (Ingushetia’s capital) and her mother never comes to attend court sessions. It seems that Markelov came to the court and appointed himself as the Kungayevs’ lawyer. However, there was a telegram read out during the litigation about the change of the lawyer; the telegram was signed by the aggrieved party.
If Budanov is set free, they are not likely to understand this in Chechnya. Elza Kungayev is an innocent victim for Chechens, and such a decision would de facto imply the obvious innocence of military men. This is exactly what Russian media outlets believe. The state acknowledged that it was unable to stop looters and commission military chiefs to consider Chechen civilians as the people of full value. On the other hand, the soldiers have their own truth. The Russian army totally supports Budanov. He is an honest and brave military man, so no matter what he did, he shouldn't be in prison.
Colonel Budanov’s guilt can be estimated objectively only on the basis of the total picture of what is going on in Chechnya. Chechen gunmen make videos about the war: countless executions of Russian soldiers and of their mothers who go to Chechnya to seek their sons. Sometimes Russian military men find these tapes. Russian journalist Yury Yuryev wrote about one of them: “A Russian soldier is lying on his left side tied up. There is a Chechen guerrilla bending over him and holding a big knife in his hand. He lifts the soldier’s head and starts cutting it off, but not completely. The head stops moving, but the body is convulsing. A younger bandit wants to shoot the body dead, but the cutthroat says, “Don’t!". Then, they drag the soldier's convulsing body to a grave and bury him alive there.”
A lot of people who see that truth of the Chechen war cannot handle it and have nervous breakdowns, even military men. A lot of men, who served in Chechnya, cannot return home to lead a peaceful life, many of them have the so-called “Chechen syndrome.” Therefore, such people think that Budanov’s crime (he choked the Chechen girl in a fit of rage) pales in comparison. Why is it that a Russian colonel has been in jail for three years already, but the leaders of the Chechen terrorists are still free and their gunmen are trying to win the confidence of the Chechen government
There has recently been some law and order established in Chechnya, to put in mildly, of course. This is not about Budanov or about his crime; this is about the government and the policy that this government is running. Budanov’s defense believes that the colonel will not be set free. The most important thing now is to properly estimate the extent of Budanov’s guilt and issue the adequate punishment.
The colonel’s lawyer, Anatoly Mukhin, has said that “Budanov was supposed to have his military service restricted due to the many shellshocks that he survived. A medical committee was supposed to carry out an examination and come to a conclusion, but they did not do it."
Therefore, Budanov was serving in Chechnya. Medical experts concluded that he was under the influence of the temporary insanity during the moment of his crime. Then, there is another question: how could he have been appointed commander of a regiment then?
This is a question to the state, this is a problem of the state, and the state realizes this. That is why it cannot convict colonel Budanov, a man that was sent to war. Some people think that the best way out of the situation would be to convict the colonel, but then grant him a pardon. This is like “good for you, and good for me.”
Sergey Stefanov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
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