By Eric Draitser
The shootings and bombings in Ingushetia and Dagestan this week rekindled a long-standing, brutal campaign of violence and terrorism in Russia’s Caucasus region – one that has seen more than its share of terror stretching back to the Chechen “rebellion” of the 1990s. However, in examining the recent attacks, it becomes clear that there are political and geopolitical interests behind the scenes that are actively working to destabilize Russia, with violence as their most potent weapon. The attacks are not simply isolated terrorist actions, but rather, cynically orchestrated events carried out by well-connected criminal networks whose goal is to foment conflict and carry out the agenda of the US intelligence establishment in its subversion of Russia.
Terrorists, Propagandists and Handlers
The complex network of terrorist organizations that operate under the banners of “separatism” and “independence” for the Caucasus region, has been at the center of the destabilization of Russia for the last two decades. Within hours of the deadly attacks, the Kavkaz Center – an organization known to be the propaganda mouthpiece of terrorist leader Doku Umarov – released an article characterizing the attacks as heroic acts and referring to the dead as “Russian puppets.” Though this would seem to be not in keeping with the Center’s stated mission “to provide reporting of events… and assistance of journalistic work in the Caucasus,” this is, in fact, very much par for the course for an organization that is funded by the US State Department and Finland’s Foreign Ministry.
Kavkaz Center has a long track record of supporting and legitimizing terrorist actions throughout the region, rationalizing atrocities committed in the name of “resistance.” In fact, Kavkaz engages in perpetual upside-down logic, referring to Russians as “terrorists” and terrorists as “heroes.” This type of Goebbles-esque propaganda is the hallmark of Western imperialist projects; most recently in the conflict in Syria, in which the Syrian National Council, Western corporate media and the like refer to terrorism and subversion as “rebellion and freedom-fighting”. Additionally, it is essential to note that Emarat Kavkaz (Umarov’s terrorist organization translated as “Caucasus Emirate”) has been listed by the United Nations as an organization associated with Al-Qaida. Kavkaz Center has been described by Umarov himself as “the official information organ of the Emarat Kavkaz.” This, of course, supports the claims made repeatedly by Moscow of the connection between Chechen and other extremists in the region and Al Qaida, a claim which, until recently, Kavkaz Center continued to deny.
Despite the fact that organs such as Kavkaz Center operate in the service of terrorists who advocate the destruction of Russia, their activity alone is not altogether significant if seen in a vacuum. Rather, it is the association of these types of individuals and organizations with the US State Department and US intelligence that makes them particularly insidious. One such entity that bears scrutiny is the American Committee for Peace in the Caucasus (ACPC), previously known as the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya. As reported by Right Web at the Institute for Policy Studies, “The ACPC was founded in 1999 by Freedom House, a neoconservative organization that has worked closely with the U.S. government, receiving funds from the National Endowment for Democracy and other U.S. democratization initiatives.” This intimate relationship between the ACPC and the US State Department indicates not merely a confluence of interests, but rather a direct relationship wherein the former is an organ of the latter.
The paternalistic role of the US intelligence establishment in the ACPC is made all the more evident when one examines some of the more well known members of the ACPC including former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, former Pentagon advisor Richard Perle and other top neocons such as William Kristol, Elliott Abrams, Kenneth Adelman, and Robert Kagan – the last two being closely associated with the inner circle of the Romney campaign. What becomes apparent in even a cursory analysis of these figures is that, despite the preponderance of neoconservatives, the top members of the ACPC are pulled from both the liberal and conservative establishments. Therefore, one can see how the ACPC represents a bipartisan consensus within the US imperialist ruling class – a consensus of aggression against Russia. What should be even more concerning to political observers is that, given the very real possibility of a Romney victory in November, Russia may see a surge in separatism and violence supported overtly or covertly by the ACPC and a future Romney administration.
The ACPC has taken the lead in championing the cause of separatism and terrorism directed toward Russia, both tacitly and overtly. After having championed the cause of former Chechen Foreign Minister Ilyas Akhmadov in his quest for asylum in the United States – subsequently granted along with a generous taxpayer-funded stipend – ACPC member Zbigniew Brzezinski went so far as to write the foreward to Akhmadov’s book The Chechen Struggle. The alliance between political figures such as Akhmadov and terrorist leaders in the region demonstrates conclusively the partnership between the various terror networks and the imperialist ruling class in the West. Moreover, it shows that, along with oligarchs such as Boris Berezovsky and Roman Abramovich, the US and UK are still the favorite safe havens for criminals fleeing Russian justice.
The Political Context
Although the attacks of this week are tragic, their real significance is political in nature. There has been a sustained destabilization campaign waged by the West, particularly the United States, and aimed at President Putin going back to last December and the beginning of the so-called protest movement. The attempt by the Western imperialists has been to isolate Putin, demonize him, and erode his support within the country in hopes of toppling his government, thereby removing the biggest obstacle they face in implementing their hegemonic agenda. However, despite the financial backing, political demagoguery and media inundation, the attempts have entirely failed.
Once it became clear that Vladimir Putin would be reelected to a third term, the US State Department began its campaign against him. Organized and implemented by US Ambassador Michael McFaul in Moscow, the protest movement led by figures such as Alexei Navalny and Boris Nemtsov as well as US-funded NGOs such as GOLOS and the Moscow Helsinki Group, the movement essentially sought to instigate a “color revolution” in Russia using the same tactics that had been successful in Ukraine, Georgia and elsewhere. However, it was soon quite obvious to political observers in Russia and around the world that this movement was nothing more than a superficial destabilization attempt that had no real traction among the Russian people.
Because of the failure of this manufactured protest movement, the tactics of subversion had to change. The imperialists had to incorporate new tactics that would either revive and grow the protest movement or inspire an international outcry. And so, we get the controversy surrounding the feminist punk band Pussy Riot. The Western media has attempted to hold up the band, which engaged in obscene and lewd acts inside a Russian church, as crusaders and martyrs for the cause of free speech. Naturally, this utterly transparent and vacuous attempt to whip up anti-Putin sentiment has, like the protest movement before it, sputtered and stalled. And so, as every covert attempt at subversion through the use of “soft power” has failed, the Western imperialists now activate their terror networks in the Caucasus to do by force what their intelligence networks failed to do by stealth: destabilize Russia.
The Geopolitical Calculus
The seemingly endless attempts to subvert the Putin government are cynically designed operations whose overarching goal is geopolitical in nature. To the US and its allies, partners, and clients, Putin represents a block that is difficult, if not impossible, to maneuver around. As demonstrated clearly in Syria, President Putin is able to successfully lead an opposition to the United States: an empire attempting to impose its hegemonic designs on the region. By using international law, the principle of national sovereignty, counter-propaganda, and countless other diplomatic weapons, Putin, along with his allies in China, has prevented the wider war that the US has tried to foment. Moreover, Putin has presented a major roadblock on the path to war with Iran, another mortal sin in the eyes of Western imperialist warmongers.
Putin’s “crimes” do not stop there. He has managed to successfully assert the right of national sovereignty over state resources, jailing or otherwise diminishing the power of the oligarchs who enriched themselves in the 1990s at the expense of the Russian people. He has successfully established the legitimacy of international institutions such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and BRICS that exist outside the dominance of the United States and have begun to emerge as a counter-weight to NATO and other similar arms of US imperialism. Putin has also led the economic resurgence of Russia and maintained its dominance in the energy market with pipelines, exploration, and myriad deals with multinational corporations.
The common thread that unites the above mentioned achievements of President Putin is an unwillingness to be subservient to the United States. Putin has become, in the eyes of the Western imperialist ruling class, the unruly little brother who must be taught a lesson by force. And so, innocent Russians must pay with their lives for the hubris of these imperialists. As has been clearly demonstrated in Syria, Iran, Pakistan and countless other places around the world, terrorism remains the favorite weapon in the arsenal of the ruling class in the West. The attacks in Ingushetia and Dagestan are merely the latest example of this. Surely, they will not be the last.