Fourteenth issue of the monthly Chechen Society Today released
PRAGUE, September 18 - The fourteenth issue of the monthly Chechenskoye obshchestvo segodnya (Chechen Society Today) has been released.
The issue opens with an account of a recent exhibit of more than 200 photographs by Russkii Reporter correspondent Yuliya Vishnevetskaya which was held from August 8 to 26 at the Andrei Sakharov Museum in Moscow. The photographs were accompanied by commentaries, and showed life on both sides of the Caucasus Ridge, highlighting the acute contrast between Georgia and Chechnya. The report also describes the Caucasus film festival, which ran concurrently with the exhibit, and the showing on August 17 of the film Crying Sun by Zarema Mutusheva. On August 25 there was a showing of Mariya Novikova's award-winning film Three Comrades [Tri Tovarishcha].
There is a special feature on the recent concert given by Chechen singer Liza Umarova on her own initiative at the Chernokozovo penal colony.
An article by Aslambek Paskachev, chairman of the presidium of the Russian Congress of the Peoples of the Caucasus, considers the rise of "Caucasophobia" in the Russian Federation, which the author sees as pushing antisemitism into second place among Russians, who are being brainwashed by the media into equating people from the Caucasus with criminals and anti-social forces. In particular, Paskachev makes an interesting analysis of the concept of "nationality" which he says is currently being misused by media and extremist politicians not only as a synonym for "ethnicity", but also as a derogatory label attached to natives of the Caucasus. As he points out, many ethnic Russians are also native to the Caucasus - yet the "national" label is not attached to them. Paskachev contends that the current wave of xenophobia is a threat to the existence of Russia itself - a "Russia for the Russians" would be a far smaller country than the one that presently exists, and it's questionable whether it could exist at all.
Other articles and reports in the earlier pages of the issue also concentrate on social and legal problems. There is a consideration of the case of two natives of Chechnya - Bislan Badalov and Hasambek Ahmetkhanov - and their accomplices condemned by the Tver Regional Court for kidnapping and extortion on what many observers believe to be fabricated evidence. The Chechen author Said-Khamzat Nunayev reflects on the current high levels of unemployment in the republic, and comments that a society in which less than half the population is engaged in productive labour is doomed to criminalization. It is impossible to demand a high level of morality from people if they are not given the chance to earn their own living, he says.
Quite a large proportion of space is devoted to cultural material, with literary excerpts and articles on literature and visual art taking priority. There is the first part of a satirical poem by the Chechen poet Ziya Goiter (Goitinsky), and a fresh excerpt from the new historical novel by Kanta Ibragimov, while Murad Nashkhoyev supplies an illustrated profile of the painter Chingis-Khan Khasayev, and readers are also introduced to the work of the painter Zamir Yushayev, who for many years lived abroad, in Germany. This is followed by a study of the Chechen singer Muslim Magomayev, who recently celebrated his 65th birthday.
The historian Yaroslav Tinchenko presents a fascinating essay on a neglected aspect of the life of the great Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov, who during the Civil War of 1917-1923 worked as a field doctor in the White Army, and took part in the defence of the North Caucasus. Other historical features in the issue include the first part of a study by Indarbi Byzov of the methods used by the Russian Imperial Army to subdue and crush resistance in the Caucasus, and the first part of a chapter from Lecha Ilyasov's new book on the historic Nashkh region of Western Chechnya.
Visit this page to see and download the issue.
The black-and-white Russian-language publication Chechen Society Today is a joint project of Prague Watchdog and the Moscow-based Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations, which is being implemented thanks to support from the US-based National Endowment for Democracy. The journal’s aim is to strengthen Chechen civil society, promote independent media in Chechnya, and provide objective information to Chechens living in Russia and Europe.
A thousand copies are published in Moscow; additional copies are printed and distributed by Prague Watchdog for Chechen exiles in Europe. In addition, a printer-friendly PDF version can be downloaded from the PW (http://journal.watchdog.cz) and CJES websites (http://chechnya.cjes.ru). Free e-mail subscription to the PDF version is also available.
Prague Watchdog welcomes proposals from both organizations and individuals for participation in this project, especially the distribution of the paper version of the journal.