Friday, June 6, 2008

WSJ calls out Russia on its murderous ways

About a decade ago, Russia experienced its own 9/11: the 1999 apartment bombings that occurred in cities throughout Russia and killed hundreds of people. The last explosion – in an apartment building in Ryazan – never happened, due to the diligence of concerned citizens and the local police. Officially blamed on Chechen terrorists (as most terrorism in Russia is), the clues point in the direction of the Russian secret services. This is something I've talked about before, but I feel that it's a subject that deserves much more consideration, especially for the implications that it raises – if the Russians were willing to murder their own citizens and blame it on Chechen terrorists, what other black flag and clandestine operations have they committed?

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because a few days ago two sisters wrote an op-ed in the WSJ that neatly outlined the case against the Russian government, and called on Medvedev to investigate the incident. (A request that's entirely rhetorical – everyone involved knows there's no chance of that happening.) It's good to see the West finally realizing the extent of the Russians' malfeasance – about a year ago in an undergraduate IR class, I brought up the point that Chechens were likely not responsible for all the attacks they were blamed for, at which point the TA called me "naïve," the class compared the theory of FSB involvement in the attacks to 9/11 inside job-type conspiracy theories, got confused over the difference between Romania and Belarus, and generally made fools of themselves. The TA was the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship, was a PhD candidate at Georgetown's government program, and specialized in energy politics. He even had a fawning (if facile) piece devoted to him in the WaPo (reminds me of Stuff White People Like #72). Needless to say, the experience made me incredibly cynical of the received wisdom among academics.

No comments: