Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Swedish Apple Pie in the Can

[Swedish Apple Pie's in the can, as we used to say out in Jollywierd. But I still feel like a bug that slammed head first into a semi doing sixty. So thank Hoser-Heaven for more'n those cheap meds: Here's an article from one of Canadia's real, genuine articles. Le Requin put the file back in the Russophile cake (to cut through all that RFE/RL moose-pucky that keeps getting farted outta the m'ass media), and here's some more good hard info from the Commissar thereof. Now, if I can just get the yellow rubber duck in the Montparnasse cemetery out of my dreams--and my hands to stop trembling, I'll be able to get back into the bloggeral-slinging follies my own self. --mc]

When I pointed out on the A-list that the North Caucasus--and Dagestan in particular--were areas of strong support for the Communists and for keeping the Soviet Union from the early 90's on, LP (nb--the long playing Louis Proyect) dismissed this as Kremlin spin-doctoring and the musings of an "ideologue"--though the election returns are readily available, and so are those for the referendum of March '91 on the preservation of the USSR. (Lesson: when you can't refute, resort to name-calling)

Numerous republics of south Russia declared "sovereignty" as a bargaining chip to renew arrangements on power-sharing, which was understandable given the very mixed results of nationalities policies under one-party socialism. The Chechen-Ingush ASSR was relatively late to do so--in Nov. of 1990, after most others already had.

In the March '91 referendum, 59% of eligible voters in the Chechen-Ingush ASSR went to the polls and 76% voted to preserve the Soviet Union. This voter turnout was low compared to other regions, but exceeds the rate of turnout in Dudaev's stage-managed elections, which took place in something like half the republic's districts--the ones his movement controlled--and from which the Chechen opposition withdrew, charging they were a farce. In Chechnya Dudaev's followers discouraged participation in the March 1991 SU referendum also. The percentage turnout in the referendum greatly exceeded turnout in U.S. federal elections, is about on a par with that of Canadian federal elections, and was about twice the turnout in the final round of the post Khasavyurt Chechnya presidential elections which elected Maskhadov, Russia's favoured candidate, in 1997, over his opponent Basayev. Ingushetia separated from Chechnya in 1992 in order to remain within the Russian Federation and in rejection of Dudaev's program. There was nearly a shooting war over this, and Dudaev regarded the Ingush--close ethno-linguistic cousins of the Chechens, who were deported to Central Asia in 1944 also--as traitors to the Mountaineers' cause. All this is documented in the Sorbonne researcher V. Avioutskii's article which I posted to A-list over half a year ago, mocked by Proyect without the slightest serious scrutiny of course (who needs to take people with Russian-sounding names seriously? Do we see a pattern here?...).

LP also dismissed a 1999 comment from Russian trade union leader and left parliamentary deputy Oleg Shein that ethnic Russians had been victims of "genocide" and "cattle-stealing" at the hands of Chechens in the preceding decade. No checking nor research was required here, either. Chechnya's ethnic Russian population had been reduced by something like 90% from 1991 to 1999. Nearly half were gone even before the first war broke out in 1994. More people left Chechnya in its 3 years of defacto independence than during the 1994-96 war. (Guess where a lot of them fled to?). But the mention of cattle-stealing makes it pretty clear that Shein's making reference to the Terek Cossacks. They were deported before the Chechens were, and their land settled by Chechens. Chechens were never the principal population group in the Terek areas (which were over 80% ethnic Russian/Cossack in 1991), but these areas were included in the adminsitrative territory of Chechnya, creating a situation rather analogous to that of the Krajina Serbs in Croatia. But notice the explicit assumption that because the Tereks are Russians they couldn't possibly be anything but oppressors. We saw these kinds of western "lefts" at work throughout the 90's. With their help, Nato will reach the gates of Moscow--and points beyond--ahead of schedule.

Proyect also airbrushes the fact that Mashkadov was elected in 1997 with the strong support of Moscow, and that the first forces who tried to overthrow him were Basayev and his movement (Proyect's freedom fighters du jour), who'd lost the elections. This prompted Maskhadov into statements suggestive of what Proyect likes to call "Jared Israel Cloud Cuckooland". Maskhadov alleged that the U.S., through reactionary allies in the Gulf States and the Middle East, were trying to destabilize and overthrow his government via support for Basayev's Wahhabist extremists. Maskhadov also called for Russian assistance in opposing this destabilization. Russian aid apparently was inadequate in that regard (as countless Western hypocrites who oppose Russia's right "to intervene" in Chechnya endlessly lament...). Only further research will disclose if this is because Louis Proyect was advising Russian authorities at the time, and disabused them of such colonial meddling. Then Maskhadov threw in his lot with Basayev and Basayev et consorts invaded Dagestan (again), as we can read in a Nov. '99 post by Louis Proyect to marxmail which is now the focus of so much embarrassment and backpedalling, and, as they say, the rest is history...


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