Appeal to the journalists and public figures who recognize the need to stop the war in Chechnya and to start political peace negotiations
Dear colleagues and friends!
The war in Chechnya has been supported not just by guns and airplanes for the fourth year by now. The official media provides information support for the war. But even many democratic publications and journalists have become allies of the Russian authorities there against their will. We want to remind something basic for the people who deal with words: how to speak about war, including the Chechnya War. By describing blowups, bombardments, and fights with federal forces as "terrorist acts" and the Chechen Resistance fighters who perform these "terrorist acts" as "bandits", "terrorists", or "gunmen" at best you spread the false official ideology that tries to present the Chechnya War as a struggle against terrorism and banditry and mislead millions of your spectators, listeners, and readers. You form wrong vision of the Chechen realities by the public when you use such names and willy-nilly help the bloodshed to continue. Indeed, if only bandits, terrorists, and gunmen fight against the federal forces in Chechnya, this war is justified because "what negotiations can be held with bandits and terrorists?" as it was said more than once. Even the fact that many commanders and Chechen Resistance fighters are not at all innocent before God, people and the law cannot justify calling their actions "bandit raids", "acts of terrorism", etc. Although there are elements of terrorism in the violence against officials of the pro-Russian administration, many similar crimes are committed by the federal forces too. After all, from your activities you should be well informed about numerous war crimes of the federal forces against non-combatants, about the bloody "mopping-up operations" which are supervised and which are justified by specific military commanders whose names are well-known all over the country. But none of you call these commanders "gang leaders" and "terrorists".
By calling upon you "to correct names" we thereby ask you to abandon double standards, to stop hidden propaganda and hidden justification of the war. We rely on your professionalism, and given the absence of ideological unity among the war opponents, we believe that we have no warrant for offering a "glossary" with allegedly correct designations of the phenomena that occur in Chechnya. But we hope that this appeal will strengthen the old and will produce new islands of true reflection of the Chechen situation in the sea of official and unofficial lies and thus will help to bring the many years of bloodshed to an end.
Ivan Sventsitsky, journalist, Viktor Popkov Information and Analytical Centre
Yaroslav Golovin, Viktor Popkov Information and Analytical Centre
Elena Sannikova, independent journalist
Yakov Krotov, writer, historian, and journalist
Andrey Babitsky, Radio Liberty
Khasin Raduev, Radio Liberty
Alexander Tkachenko, author
Sergey Kovalev, Deputy to the State Duma of the Russian Federation;
Oleg Orlov, Memorial human rights centre
Igor Yakovenko, Doctor of Philosophy
Elena Bonner, Andrey Sakharov Foundation
Lev Ponomarev, All-Russian movement "For Human Rights"
Yury Samodurov, Andrey Sakharov Museum and Public Centre
Alla Yazkova, Dr.Sc.(Hist), Professor
Vladimir Korsunsky, Editor-In-Chief, Grani.ru Internet newspaper
Otto Latsi, Novye Izvestiya
Anna Politkovskaja, Novaya Gazeta
Yulia Yuzik, Komsomolskaya Pravda
Lipkhan Bazaeva, Union of the Caucasus Women
Ruslan Badalov, Chechen Committee of National Salvation
Zeinap Gashaeva, Co-Chairperson of the Interregional Peacemaking Public Organization "Echo of War"
Imran Ezhiev, Head of the Information Centre, Russian-Chechen Friendship Society
Ruslan Kutaev, Co-Chairman of the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society
Irina Dementyeva, independent journalist
Lidia Grafova, Literaturnaya gazeta, Head of the Information Agency "Migration";
Sergey Grigoryanc, Head of the Information Agency "Glasnost"
Oleg Panfilov, director of the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations
Aleksandr Podrabinek, Editor-In-Chief of the Information Agency "Prima"
Malva Landa, rightdefender
Pavel Bashkirov, rightdefender
Source: Viktor Popkov Information and Analytical Centre
Prague Watchdog fully supports the appeal.