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Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin Speak out Against Putin’s Reforms ^ | 9/16/2004 | Staff

Posted on 09/16/2004 1:32:40 PM PDT by Luis Gonzalez

Soviet Union’s last president Mikhail Gorbachev and Russia’s first president Boris Yeltsin expressed criticism regarding Vladimir Putin’s proposed reforms in Russian electoral system. Statements by Yeltsin and Gorbachev were made in exclusive interviews to Moskovskie Novosti (The Moscow News) weekly, and will be published in that newspaper’s Friday issue. MosNews, which is a partner publication of Moskovskie Novosti, posted full translation of both statements on our website on Thursday.

Our common goal is to do everything possible to make sure that bills, which, in essence, mean a step back from democracy, don’t come into force as law. I hope that the politicians, voters, and the president himself keep the democratic freedoms that were so hard to obtain, — reads Mikhail Gorbachev’s statement. Soviet Union’s last president, who ruled the country from 1985 to 1992, is convinced that Russian authorities “must search for political solutions, negotiate with the middle-of-the-road militants, separating them from the unappeasable extremists”.

His successor Boris Yeltsin, whose second presidential term ended on December 31, 1999, with a surprise announcement of his voluntary resignation (Vladimir Putin was named acting president three months before actually getting elected in March 2000), calls on the Kremlin to refrain from undermining the existing constitutional framework, despite the necessity of fighting terrorist threats.

I firmly believe that the measures that the country’s leadership will undertake after Beslan will remain within the framework of democratic freedoms that have become Russia’s most valuable achievement over the past decade. We will not give up on the letter of the law, and most importantly, the spirit of the Constitution our country had voted for at the public referendum in 1993. If only because the stifling of freedom and the curtailing of democratic rights is a victory by the terrorists. Only a democratic country can successfully resist terrorism and count on standing shoulder to shoulder with all of the world’s civilized countries, — Yeltsin says in his statement.

Boris Yeltsin’s statement is viewed as a surprise move by many observers in Moscow. Unlike Mikhail Gorbachev, who is still active on Russian political scene, Yeltsin chose to refrain from public comments about Vladimir Putin’s politics ever since his retirement. Recently Boris Berezovsky, an exiled tycoon, renowned for his criticisms of Kremlin and Putin, published an open letter to Russia’s first president, urging Yeltsin to speak up and reminding him of his responsibility for the establishment of Russian constitutional democracy. Yeltsin makes no mention of Berezovsky’s call in his statement, but some observers tend to link his decision to break silence with the exiled oligarch’s request.

TOPICS: Breaking News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Russia
KEYWORDS: communism; napalminthemorning; putin; russia
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To: StoneFury

On the Beslan threads, of course, hundreds of people said the same thing and more, but these two didn't dare show up there.

201 posted on 09/16/2004 11:02:20 PM PDT by MarMema
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To: Luis Gonzalez
They are pro-genocide...both of them.

Pro-genocide, pro-destruction, pro-Wiped-off-the-face-of-the-Earth, whatever you want to call it.

202 posted on 09/16/2004 11:04:08 PM PDT by StoneFury (The only thing hippies understand is the fist)
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To: CWOJackson
There are hundreds of stories yet to go and we've only dented way back to 2003.

I don't care. They were given a chance and they showed themselves to be completely evil, mutilating small children and laughing about it, making movies of themselves doing it. Burning children for enjoyment. Beheading people and then kicking the head around afterward, playing football with it.

I see a difference between these kinds of behaviors and soldiers executing and raping adults. Besides, Russia has put soldiers on trial for raping chechen women, and sentenced them to prison.

203 posted on 09/16/2004 11:06:58 PM PDT by MarMema
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To: MarMema
These people are barbarians?

According to your guy Putin, 75% of "these people" voted for Alkhanov -- that's Alkhanov, the guy supported by Putin So either Putin is a lying barbarian and his controlled elections in Chechnya are dishonest or 75% of the Chechen people are not barbarians.

I honestly do not know how this election came out as it did.

The election was controlled by Putin and you know it. In fact politics in Chechnya has always been controlled by the tyrants of Russia or so they have tried. It is naive to think that they were ever "given" their independents by the Russians in anything but name only.

The barbaric terrorists in Chechnya and the stinkin', overbearing, insecure Russian tyrants deserve each other. Too bad some many innocent on both side, including children, have got caught in the middle.

204 posted on 09/16/2004 11:08:48 PM PDT by FreeReign
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To: Luis Gonzalez
I believe that YOU are evil.

You haven't seen the videos. The Russians took them to the Netherlands and people (press) passed out and vomited watching them.

205 posted on 09/16/2004 11:10:09 PM PDT by MarMema
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To: All
Physicians for Human Rights

BOSTON, MA (June 2, 2000) The final tally of a random survey of 1,143 persons displaced from Chechnya, conducted by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) in March 2000, reveals extensive evidence of war crimes committed by Russia's federal forces in Chechnya. An estimated 4,600 killings of civilians by Russia's federal forces have occurred since August 1999 if the findings are extrapolated to the entire displaced population in Ingushetia. No respondent to this survey witnessed a killing of a civilian by fighters from the Chechen side.

Killings included intentional executions of civilians in their front yards, targeting of refugee columns, and indiscriminate and disproportionate bombing of population centers.

"The United States has not called these crimes by their proper name: war crimes. Nor has it demanded that steps be taken by the Russian government to assure investigation and accountability for these acts. President Clinton must demand that President Putin allow international human rights monitors access to Chechnya so that these crimes do not continue," said Leonard Rubenstein, PHR Executive Director.

PHR, along with Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Coalition for International Justice, and the International League for Human Rights, will deliver a letter to President Clinton on Friday demanding that the US call for thorough and impartial investigation into crimes committed in Chechnya.



Respondents of the random PHR survey, completed in Ingushetia in March, witnessed 197 killings by Russia's federal forces among members of their households. PHR randomly selected the 1,143 respondents from a database that contained 186,100 people displaced from Chechnya to Ingushetia as of the last week of February. The manner in which the sample was collected permits extrapolation to the entire population.

The 1,143 respondents had 7,807 members in their household. By applying this ratio (197/7,807) to the total population displaced from Chechnya into Ingushetia (186,100), PHR extrapolates that Russia's federal forces killed an estimated 4,600 civilians since August 1999.

Noting whether they saw the act of killing (such as a combatant shooting someone) or if they saw the dead body of someone they knew had been in custody of a combatant, respondents reported only killings they witnessed firsthand. Of the 197 killings, respondents saw Russia's federal forces actually kill 75 civilians and in 122 other incidents they saw the dead bodies.

Another indication of the severe trauma experienced by civilians in Chechnya is that forty-six percent of the displaced persons surveyed (517 individuals of the 1143 respondents)witnessed at least one killing of a civilian by Russia's federal forces. Using these figures, PHR extrapolates that an estimated 84,000 (of the 186,000 displaced) people have personally witnessed civilian killings by Russia's federal forces.

A total of 332 respondents witnessed multiple killings (more than one) by Russia's federal forces. This suggests that an estimated 54,055 (of the 186,000 displaced) witnessed Russian's federal forces killing multiple civilians.


Witnesses gave PHR several different types of testimony that reveal the widespread nature of Russia's torture of civilians from Chechnya. Survey respondents witnessed 77 incidents of torture among their household members. Applying this ratio (77/7807) to the 186,100 displaced persons suggests that Russia's federal forces inflicted an estimated 1,800 incidents of torture on these people.

In addition, testimonies from nine torture survivors collected by PHR revealed the gruesome torture practices of Russia's federal authorities, including electric shock and gassing. A PHR physician examined one young man three days after his release from a so-called filtration camp, with a broken nose, hematoma on third and fourth ribs, tenderness in the kidney region and swelling of soles of his feet all consistent with the blunt trauma torture he described. In the PHR survey, torture included beating victims into unconsciousness, kicking, gassing, and electric shock and sustained beatings of more than ten minutes.

Since there is no effective independent investigation or monitoring occurring, and because Russia's promised internal investigations have proved to be nothing but window-dressing, PHR believes the widespread torture of civilians from Chechnya continues.

Forced Flight

Indisputably, displaced persons blame their flight on Russia's federal forces, despite repeated federal assurances that civilians are not targets. 1,121 of 1,143 respondents, more than 98 percent of PHR's survey sample, said Russia's federal forces caused them to flee to Ingushetia. Of these people, 857 blamed Russia's bombing for their flight. Only 3 people reported fleeing because of fighters from the Chechen side.

Violations of Medical Neutrality

Both sides in the conflict violated medical neutrality (attacks on hospitals, clinics, harassment of physicians and patients), but the greater volume of abuses came from the Russian federal forces bombing of medical facilities. 362 (32%) of the 1,143 interviewed by PHR witnessed destruction of medical facilities by Federal forces. 100% of these incidents were attributed to Russian federal forces. These reports indicate that at least 20 different medical facilities were damaged by Russia's federal forces.


View PHR Testimony at US Senate

Besides gathering data, PHR collected extensive testimony describing some of the worst atrocities that occurred in the conflict so far, notably the killings in the villages of Aldi and Katr Yurt. A full report to be released shortly will cite the gruesome details of the behavior of Russian troops as they went on several rampages

According to those interviewed by PHR, people witnessed Russia's federal forces kill and brutalize civilians in a variety of circumstances, including the burning of corpses and dragging of corpses by wire tied to the ankles. On January 1, 2000, a 48-year-old female service worker from the Staropromyslovskii region of Grozny saw the charred remains of a man, a woman, a boy and two women, all allegedly burned by Russia's federal forces.

One of the most brutal "cleaning up" operations conducted by Russia's federal forces that was described to PHR by eyewitnesses took place on February 5, 2000 in Aldi, a community in the Zavodsky district of Grozny. This incident highlights several violations of international law by Russia's federal forces, notably the forced flight and execution of civilians, and destruction of homes and civilian property. Although a definitive death toll continues to be compiled by residents, the four first hand witnesses PHR interviewed reported death tolls in excess of 80 people. Russian soldiers went systematically from house to house on at least three of the main streets of Aldi (Voronezhskaya, Matasha Mataeva, and Zemlyanskaya). The troops checked the documents of residents and searched houses. One of the groups of soldiers went on a rampage, executing civilians, looting and their burning homes.

PHR also documented Russian federal forces' artillery and air barrage of Katr Yurt from February 4-8, that resulted in killing of civilians and pinning others in their cellars,unable to flee. L.Z., interviewed by PHR, described the village after the bombardment,

"What happened to the village after the fighters left is impossible to see now, more than that, one lacks the words to describe the picture. I saw burned corpses lying on the sides of the road, and exploded and burned down houses [lining] the roads. [There were] carcasses of burned cars, killed cattle, people buried in the basements of houses, people exhausted without food and water in the basements …people looking for their relatives among the burned dead bodies, fresh dug graves."

While subsequent reports indicate fighters from the Chechen side remained in the village possibly until February 6, the testimonies demonstrate Russia's federal forces' grossly disproportionate rampage that resulted in the killing of many civilians and the destruction of much of the housing in the town.

As she was fleeing Katr-Yurt with her family, HL saw a bomb fall on a car full of people, killing them. When she returned nine days later, she saw Russia's Federal soldiers dragging bodies bound by wire at their feet to burial. She went to pay condolences to four families who had lost loved ones in the bombing. HL reported that her sister said one family died when a bomb hit their house, and the three sons, parents and three relatives died with their hands cupped under their chins, their faces frozen in terror

YL saw many bodies on the sides of the road, when, after two nights of bombing, she fled from their basement with her five children, husband and other extended family. She and her children saw their uncle (her mother-in-law's brother) "exploded into meat." When she returned after the barrage was over, she described vividly the process of the Russian troops collecting the bodies: "Soldiers made a mound of people… on the ground. It was gruesome… I saw [women] lying like rubbish in piles. Tanks and other vehicles dragged around bodies tied with wire. It was difficult to recognize individuals among the bodies."

206 posted on 09/16/2004 11:10:49 PM PDT by CWOJackson
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To: CWOJackson
Post 190 will give you some idea of Putin's Soviet style ideas about free elections...since no one else will give you an answer.

Your posts on this thread were informative. All book-marked for future reference. Thanks.

207 posted on 09/16/2004 11:10:53 PM PDT by FreeReign
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To: MarMema
"I don't care."

No you don' don't care about the blood on Putin's hands or that he will drag Russia back into the've made it plain that you don't care.

208 posted on 09/16/2004 11:12:58 PM PDT by CWOJackson
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To: MarMema
You haven't seen the videos. The Russians took them to the Netherlands and people (press) passed out and vomited watching them.

You won't get anywhere with that argument. Luis has already insinuated that the videos might not be legit.

209 posted on 09/16/2004 11:16:29 PM PDT by StoneFury (The only thing hippies understand is the fist)
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To: FreeReign
You're very welcome. It's important that people understand the truth, not just about Putin but about the Chechnya situation. As Putin has found out, you kick a dog long enough, even a Muslim dog, and it will bite back.

But Putin has been counting on that...this is his Reichstag fire to restore his Soviet Empire.

There is another thread you might find interesting: "Chess player Garry Kasparov blames Putin for destroying democracy in Russia"

I posted a score of stories there from reputable sources that reveal Putin's determination to create a Soviet style dictatorship and roll back democracy in Russia. Of course Putin's Putzes were on that thread defended their Soviet hero.

210 posted on 09/16/2004 11:16:43 PM PDT by CWOJackson
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To: CWOJackson

"Another memorable case took place in late 1999, when then Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin played a gruesome tape at a special screening for Western journalists during a visit to Oslo, Norway. One journalist fainted during the screening and made himself a laughingstock for some of the Russian media."

211 posted on 09/16/2004 11:22:08 PM PDT by MarMema
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To: MarMema
LOL! I see you didn't take the time to read about the blood on Putin's hands. Not surprising.

As for the video it should have served as a simple reminder that if you kick a dog long enough it will bite. His kicking is well documented, and now we're seeing the fruits of his bloody labors.

212 posted on 09/16/2004 11:25:24 PM PDT by CWOJackson
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To: CWOJackson

"During its three years of independence, Chechnya launched upon Russian territory numerous apartment block bombings, cross-border kidnappings and a full-fledged invasion of sovereign Russian land by an army of Chechen militants in 1999. Meanwhile, internally, Chechnya deteriorated into an economically stagnant and ubiquitously criminal morass. The second phase of the current Chechen war started in 1999 as a direct result of Chechen aggression against Russia. There was no grand cause of fighting for independence, neither was there any Russian subjugation or domination of Chechens.

In fact, the only Russians consistently present on Chechen territory during that time were those sitting as hostages, covered in chains and missing fingers. The decision by Chechen militants to engage in hostilities with Russia throughout 1996-1999 was not simply dumb, it was irrational and fanatical."

213 posted on 09/16/2004 11:26:38 PM PDT by MarMema
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To: MarMema

LOL! Putin must love people like you, but the Soviets have always admired their willing tools.

214 posted on 09/16/2004 11:27:50 PM PDT by CWOJackson
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To: MarMema
Let me tell you what you've done since the day I first ran across you in this forum:

And then you claim that the Chechens are evil...

215 posted on 09/16/2004 11:28:15 PM PDT by Luis Gonzalez ( Even Jane Fonda apologized. Will you, John?)
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To: MarMema

I don't want to see the videos of their evil anymore than I want to see the videos of yours.

216 posted on 09/16/2004 11:30:06 PM PDT by Luis Gonzalez ( Even Jane Fonda apologized. Will you, John?)
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To: Luis Gonzalez
Evil does exist. Ronald Reagan knew that when he called the Soviet Union the Evil Empire.

Putin is the child of that evil, trying to resurrect it...and evil will help him in his dark mission.

217 posted on 09/16/2004 11:33:18 PM PDT by CWOJackson
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To: CWOJackson

I've heard the cry of "Reichstag Fire! Reichstag Fire!" over and over. If Putin needed a true Reichstag Fire, he could've used any one of the hundreds of atrocities committed by the Chechens against Russians, starting with the Moscow apartment bombs. I don't have time to pore over your old posts, but I'll bet you've been screaming "Reichstag Fire!" after every single Chechen-on-Russian massacre of the last 5 years.

218 posted on 09/16/2004 11:34:11 PM PDT by StoneFury (The only thing hippies understand is the fist)
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To: StoneFury
And you're going to continue to hear it...from many corners. Putin's effort to manufacture a Reichstag fire through brutal his Chechnya policy has become transparent...but hey, a dictator needs to manufacture a convincing excuse for removing a government.

It adds an element of legitimacy for an illegitimate act.

219 posted on 09/16/2004 11:38:30 PM PDT by CWOJackson
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To: Luis Gonzalez
Those are all lies, or very much stretching of the truth, none of which you have backed up with my posts or links to them.

Typical. Use direct quotes if you want respect here on FR.

Making accusations is not discussion.

220 posted on 09/16/2004 11:43:52 PM PDT by MarMema
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