More on Kondopoga

Veronica Khokhlova has translated a few bits from discussions on Russian live journals. Many thanks to Neeka for making peepholes into the Russian LJ-sphere. There are probably thousands of posts and tens of thousands of comments in the Russian sphere related to the riots in Karelia, but they are all in Russian, and translating LiveJournalese Russian is difficult and time-consuming work.

Among those posts and comments, I have come across one that is still turning my stomach. What if the anti-Chechen riot in Kondopoga was only the first, or one of the first, in a series of increasingly violent and brutal “ethnic” outbursts which the Kremlin is going to provoke or refuse to prevent, in order to have a valid reason to impose a state of emergency by 2008, when Putin’s term runs out — a reason good enough even for Europe and America to accept with minimal tooth-grinding? In this case, the Kremlin’s only problem with Kondopoga is that no Chechens have been killed: the only victims are the Russians killed by the Chechen mob.

In the meantime, Belgium is about to charge eleven Chechen refugees with violent assault for their part in a raid on an Oostende nightclub. Back in late August, about 30 Chechen men, armed with metal rods, baseball bats and golf clubs, attacked a night club in that coastal resort town, robbing the patrons in the process. There are about 200 Chechen refugees living in Ostende, which translates into an impressive 15% rate of participation, as it were.


  1. Alexei, you’re a bit behind the curve. I guess you’ll be finding out any minute now that yesterday in Kondopoga the Slavic bandit terrorists set fire to a school because it had connections to Chechens. Does this change your conclusion that the matter in Kondopoga was under control? What was your purpose in mentioning the incident in Belgium, to show that the Slavic bandits are not the only ones attacking the Chechens and probably they’ve got some justification for their actions? That’s certainly how your comment will be read no matter what your intention was.

    Your point that the Putin regime is using these incidents to justify more draconian measures against the general population is an excellent one, I hope you will develop it further.

  2. Alexei, agree somewhat on your point of ‘etnic maffia’s’, though one thing: I guess Caucasians tend to stick together because they have to; because Russia tend to be a very dangerous environment if you allow your community to be ‘atomized’ like the Russian is.It is in part a defense mechanism, and a highly effective one – as you know, Dagenstantsi are the only one in te army that are free from dedovtsina…

  3. Coen — indeed, keeping together makes perfect sense for minorities(though I’m not sure Dagestanis are the only exception from dedovschina — I’m sure there are other ethnic communities in the army). But the effect of this sticking-together goes way beyond self-defense because social cohesion is so poor among ethnic Russians. I also suspect that for many Chechens, ethnocentric ethics goes together with unpalatable aspects of mountain culture, so to say — such as forgiveness viewed as weakness and force as justice.

  4. Ethnic Russians are terrible at sticking together. I think even Solzhenitsyn mentioned in one of his books about the Baltics and other ethnic minorities sticking together in their own groups in the camps, which gave them a greater degree of protection than that afforded to most inmates.

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