Time for Peace in Chechnya, Say Russians

5584_1.jpgMany adults in Russia believe their russian government should negotiate with Chechen mujahiddeen, according to a poll by the Yury Levada Analytical Center. 68 per cent of respondents believe their country should attempt to begin peace talks.

Chechen mujahiddeen have tried to secede from the Russian Federation since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Several incidents in Russia have been blamed on the loose group, including two airplane crashes, a suicide bombing in Moscow and the assassination of puppet pro-russian leader Akhmad Kadyrov in May 2004.

 

In September 2004, mujahiddeen took control of a middle school in Beslan, North Ossetia. The three-day siege left 344 civilians dead, including 172 children. Chechen leader Shamil Basayev claimed responsibility for the attack.

 

Basayev-who served as vice-president of the Chechen government-died on Jul. 10. While Chechen sources reported that Basayev perished accidentally after a car filled with explosives blew up, Russian officials maintain that the blast was part of a planned operation.

 

On Sept. 12, a statement from Chechen president Doku Umarov was posted on the Internet. Umarov declared, “We offered peace to the Kremlin more than once, but not once did they accept the hand we held out to them. Therefore we do not intend to offer peace any more.” The Russian government has said it is not contemplating the start of any negotiation with the Chechen mujahiddeen at this time.

 

Polling Data

 

In your view, should Russia attempt to begin peace negotiations with the Chechen rebels, or should Russia continue with its military action?

 

Peace negotiations

 68%

 

Military action

 18%

 

Hard to answer

 14%

 

Source: Yury Levada Analytical Center

Methodology: Interviews to 1,600 Russian adults, conducted from Aug. 18 to Aug. 21, 2006. No margin of error was provided.

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