“Wherever we went, we were constantly harassed.” Letter from Anzor Maskhadov
Below we publish a letter from President Aslan Maskhadov's son Anzor. By coincidence, it happened to reach us on the day of the fourth anniversary of the former Chechen president’s death.
On the direct orders of Moscow, the Kremlin-backed regime in Chechnya has recently been attempting to lure Chechen refugees back to the republic. The killing of refugees who have declined Ramzan Kadyrov’s proposals of cooperation or simply taken part in active political opposition is a well-known fact. Moreover, it is no secret that persons out of favour with the current Chechen authorities are being eliminated in various foreign countries by individuals sent there with that special task.
The killings are becoming ever more widespread. There have now been several dozen victims, with murders in Azerbaijan, Turkey and Austria. Today the killers have reached Norway, where I am currently resident.
Some time ago Ruslan Khalidov was dispatched to Norway by the FSB with instructions to kill Magomed Ocherhadji. However, rather than execute the order, the killer surrendered to the police and issued a public statement about the errand on which he had been sent to Europe. After discussing the problem with Magomed Ocherhadji
, I have come to the realization that that in his case and in all the others – regardless of whether the murder was carried out or not – the criminal activity has been organized by the same people: envoys of the Kremlin-backed regime in Chechnya.
In order to give a more complete picture of the problem in general, I should like briefly to discuss what happened to myself and my family. Even before the outbreak of war in Chechnya in 1999 we had to leave our homeland. We lived in Malaysia, The United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Azerbaijan. Wherever we went we were constantly harassed, threatened and blackmailed. For example, in Azerbaijan an attempt was made to abduct my son as he returned from school. Fortunately he was rescued by people nearby.
Through some friends we recently received an invitation to return to Chechnya, where we were given to understand that no threats faced us. The invitation was made on behalf of the Kremlin-backed regime in Chechnya. During the first week of March this year alone we received three such communications. When we refused, open threats began to arrive: "If you do not return, Anzor, then you and your family will not escape death." The letters even mentioned distant relatives of ours who were formerly seized in order to exert pressure on Aslan Maskhadov and obtain ransom. We understand all too clearly the result at which the Chechen authorities are aiming – they want to lure us back to Chechnya so that we will follow everyone else in declaring that the Chechen Republic is “flourishing”, and that human rights are being observed there.
The authorities are not content merely to kill and torture people in my homeland. Now they have also begun to throw their weight about in the countries of Europe, swelling the ranks of their criminal network through messengers such as Shaa Turlayev, Magomed Khanbiev and others. I believe that governments across Europe and elsewhere should draw attention to the activity of these "visitors" from Russia and create additional mechanisms in order to ensure the safety of people who have fled from Russian terror.
Anzor Maskhadov, son of the legitimately elected and murdered President of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria.
Norway, March 2009
Photo: Novaya gazeta.
(Translation by DM)