LET'S STOP THE CHECHEN WAR TOGETHER
ВНИМАНИЮ СРЕДСТВ МАССОВОЙ ИНФОРМАЦИИ!
Now in its fourth year, the second Chechen war is a war that no one can win. The deaths of thousands of Russian soldiers and officers, tens of thousands of civilians and the wholesale destruction of Chechnya cannot be justified by "government interests" or by arguments about the threat of "world terrorism."
Such enormous human and material losses are unacceptable, as are the enormous moral losses. In the last few years, unending violence has become standard government policy, the Kalashnikov submachine gun a means of interethnic communication.
The tragic takeover of a Moscow theater last October was a response to the violence, a testament to the defeat of Russia's imperial policy in the Caucasus.
The Russian government is making a mistake in refusing all peaceful initiatives and insisting on fighting "to a victorious end". The memory of the theatergoers who died demands not revenge, but a change in approach to the problem: only a bilateral rejection of military action will allow us to avoid new and senseless victims. Russia must take this political step and start the negotiating process. If this does not happen, we can all expect an escalation in fear and mutual hatred, an endless partisan war, new "cleansings" and new terrorist acts.
Russia and Chechnya are tired of war, they need peace. The cruelty has no justification, regardless of whether the instigators are Chechen or Russian. The bandits on both sides must be punished.
The Russian government has rightly condemned the cruelty of the rebels, but it has not put a stop to its own barbaric "cleansings", torture, summary executions and all the senseless punitive measures that create a constant supply of new recruits for separatist battalions.
Opinion polls show that a majority of Russian citizens want the war to stop, want negotiations. The Russian government must find the will to make peace, rather than give in to the inertia of war. Russia should take the first steps towards reconciliation. This is required by rational considerations, by law, and by simple humanity, without which government policy loses all justification and meaning. Our government policy should be dictated not by Council of Europe resolutions, but by the humanist traditions of our own Russian culture. Otherwise, our historical choices will again be etched in blood and steel.
We urge our compatriots to cast aside passivity and indifference. L'Etat c'est nous! Our country is what we make of it. Every resident of Russia can influence the course of events by openly expressing a will for peace, by participating in non-violent anti-war protests, by collecting humanitarian aid for refugees, by voting for politicians who belong to the "party of peace" and by refusing to support the leaders of the "party of war."
In particular, we are addressing our colleagues in the arts and sciences. We invite you to support this appeal by signing it, by participating in new humanitarian initiatives leading to peace, and by exerting all your influence to oppose xenophobia, aggressive nationalism and chauvinism both in day-to-day life and in politics.
Yuri Afanasiev, Lia Akhedzhakova, Anatoly Akhutin, Yuri Arabov, Leonid Batkin, Leonid Bazhanov, Mikhail Berg, Andrei Bitov, Alla Bossart, Yevgeny Bunimovich, Father Georgi Chistyakov, Inna Churikova, Veronika Dolina, Denis Dragunsky, Ion Drutse, Viktor Erofeyev, Sergei Gandlevsky, Aleksandr Gelman, Illarion Golitsyn, Aleksandr Gorodnitsky, Lidia Grafova, Lev Gudkov, Igor Irteniev, Fazil Iskander, Garry Kasporov, Yuli Kim, Galina Kornilova, Aleksei Kortnev, Yuli Krelin, Grigory Kruzhkov, Aleksandr Mirzoyan, Daniel Mitlyansky, Yuri Norshtein, Gleb Panfilov, Yevgeny Rein, Mark Rozovsky, Lev Rubinshtein, Olga Sedakova, Dmitry Shakhovskoi, Viktor Shenderovich, Aleksandr Tkachenko, Pyotr Todorovsky, Natalia Trauberg, Ludmila Ulitskaya, Pyotr Vail, Arkady Vaksberg, Boris Vassiliev, Vladimir Vishnevsky, Georgi Vladimov, Vladimir Voinovich, Aleksei Yablokov, Igor G. Yakovenko, Sergei Yursky, Vadim Zhuk, Mikhail Zlatkovsky, Leonid Zorin
The first meeting to support the Appeal with the participation of thr signatories will be held at Pushkin Square in Moscow April 12th, at 2 p. a.