After the tragedy in Beslan, President Putin gave address to the nation on September 4.
This address is very different from the previous official statement by the Russian President, it can probably start some radical changes in the country’s domestic and foreign policy.
Formally, the President made his address to the Russian citizens, but the address content demonstrates that its primary target audience are the Western countries and the USA in particular.
The President openly stated that the country’s authorities consider Russia the geopolitical successor of the USSR, and will not tolerate any other role imposed on it. Putin sincerely regrets about the collapse of the “big great state”, but says that, “despite all the difficulties, we managed to preserve the core of this giant” – the Russian Federation.
The analysis of the address statements on foreign policy should probably be started from the things which were not mentioned there. There were no assurances to the West that we are fighting the common enemy – terrorism. Previously, many assurances of this kind were made. This fact tells much: until recently, such statements were commonplace of any speeches of Russian officials on terrorism. However, a new, truly sensational idea was pronounced by the President.
President Putin said, “Our country which used to have the most powerful system of protection of its borders, became protected neither from the West nor from the East”. First time for the last years, a high-ranking Russian official said about a threat from the West!
President of INDEM Foundation Georgy Satarov believes that Putin did not explain to the people what had provoked the war, and the war started now, “not in 1999”, and the President did not say who is responsible for the failure to stop terrorists implementing their plans. “Psychologists discovered long time ago that a strong person looks for the causes of the problems in himself, while a weak person looks for them outside”, said Mr. Satarov. For this reason, Mr. Satarov considers Putin’s hints on the West’s alleged involvement in terrorist acts as the attempt to explain what is happening, in the easiest way, using conspiracy theory.
The president’s address to the nation was not sufficiently concrete and tough, said political consultant Oleg Matveichev, “People were expecting the oath to punish the terrorists and those who had sent them. It was necessary to say something about the responsibility of the law-enforcers, provided that the law-enforcement authorities are going to be strengthened now”.
What kind of concrete measures will follow
Ruslan Martagov, former Minister of the Press of Chechen republic:
Hostage-taking in Beslan is continuation of the Chechen war and the thoughtless policy of Russian authorities in North Caucasus region. I have said many times that corrupted officials (such as former Interior Minister Rushailo or former Chief of General Staff Anatoly Kvashnin) should be interrogated by the police, instead of taking other high posts with good benefits (cottage, car and so on). Until such officials have a comfortable life, nothing will change for the better, neither in Moscow nor in Chechnya.
I think that the Russian President should bring back to service the honest KGB officers who worked well in the Soviet period, when any hint of an officer’s bribe-taking was investigated, and the corrupted officer was severely punished.
Nikolai Leonov, KGB general in reserve:
I think that chiefs of special services and the President’s Administration should be held accountable for Beslan. Those who adopted the law on pardon for the repressed Caucasian peoples in the 1990s, are also responsible, as the law allowed various national elements to settle in Moscow. After the law was adopted, the authorities started canceling the mandatory registration for Caucasian people in Moscow. Then, after the USSR collapsed, the government, Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov in particular, started selling apartments in Moscow prestigious neighborhoods to anybody for big money, allowed criminal gangs of Chechens, Ingush and other Caucasian people to control all Moscow marketplaces. So, it is not surprising, that we have explosions in Moscow now.
Alexander Zhardetsky, former Vice Admiral and Chief of KGB 3rd Department (military counterespionage):
The incidents happened in Beslan and Moscow, resulted from the policy conducted by Russian authorities from 1991 until today. Dismissing some law-enforcers will not be enough. It is necessary to do more thorough operative and analytical work both in Russia (especially in the Caucasus region) and abroad, in the Middle East from where terrorist group produce their influence to Russia, in the form of funds and literature. As for the President’ idea to set up a new law-enforcement body, I want to say that there were plans to establish an Administration on the North Caucasus which could do the job I mentioned above in 1992, but they were not implemented. In a course of time we will see how the new law-enforcement body will contribute to providing Russia’s security. I support this idea if all the law-enforcement bodies of the North Caucasus will report to this organization, and all the special services will share information with it. The chief of this new body should report directly to the FSB Director.
Nikolai Torgov, retired officer of KGB 2nd Department:
The law-enforcement Ministers should be held accountable for the events in Beslan. This would not have happened if the ministers’ deputies had not been involved in corruption. I think the terrorists could be assisted by their relatives or friends who could be in Ossetia’s law-enforcers and special services. Such people for bribes could let the terrorists in any point of Russia. It is necessary to establish a special law-enforcement body in North Caucasus region to oversee the work of the Interior Ministry, FSB, Ministry of Emergencies and Office of Public Prosecutor. It may sound cruel, but such a Ministry should punish those dealing with terrorists, with no mercy. The chief of such a law-enforcement body should report directly to the FSB Director and be one of his deputies.