Moscow Continues To Cover Up Mass Murder By Chechen Authorities – OpEd


Novaya gazeta has made continuing contributions to exposing the vicious violence of Ramzan Kadyrov’s regime against its opponents, including gays and anyone whom the Chechen leader views as getting in his way. Its latest expose of mass murder there in January is only the latest.

In an article today, the paper’s Elena Milashina documents the way in which Kadyrov’s people murdered in extra-judicial fashion between 27 and 56 people on a single night last January (

Her article makes for chilling reading, fully justifying her conclusion that the terrorist regime that Kadyrov is operating means that “in Chechnya, only the dead no longer have anything to fear.” But there is an aspect of her report that may be neglected when, as expected, this story goes viral in the next few days.

And that is this: in various ways, officials in Moscow have refused to investigate fully reports of such crimes and thus behaved in this case as in others involving the Chechen strongman as authors of a cover up that makes them culpable of Kadyrov’s continuing criminal behavior.

Sometimes Russian officials started to investigate only to call it off, Milashina says; and sometimes they simply ended their exploration of what is going on by suggesting that since “the victims of crimes themselves have not made declarations, then there wasn’t any crime” to be investigated, a most Orwellian view.

Given the remarkable dossier that Novaya gazeta has assembled, this position will be increasingly difficult to maintain even among a cynical Russian population and will spark more questions about the Nemtsov murder and others that Moscow has blamed on individual Chechens but not on the Chechen regime.

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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