Russian Intervention in Chechnya
From "The Worker"
On January 6, Russian President Boris Yeltsin stated that Russian troops would renew their assault on Grozny, the capital city of the Republic of Chechnya. This decision was taken after Chechen forces successfully beat back the Russian military on January 1, halting the Russian offensive and preventing their troops from capturing the city.
Yeltsin states that the reason troops invaded Chechnya in the first place was to protect "the territorial integrity" of Russia and prevent the breakup of the country. This explanation means, in other words, that Russia is determined to maintain its empire through force and that it will not shy away from using military means to prevent any other republics from declaring their independence. Boris Yeltsin is clearly worried about other republics following the example of Chechnya. Following the policy of the old Russian Czars, Yeltsin says that the peoples and nations of the region have no right to self-determination or independence and that to declare their sovereignty is to risk war with Moscow.
But it is not the "territorial integrity" of Russia which is at stake in Chechnya, but rather the hegemony and domination by Russian imperialism. To argue that the Chechen people have no right to break away from Moscow's domination is an affront to any acceptable standard of democratic norm or behavior. The Russian government's belligerent statements and actions against Chechnya are a brutal attack on the democratic rights of all peoples and nations.
The invasion of Chechnya is, in fact, the result of a long-standing Russian policy to crush the Chechen people's striving for independence. Since November 1, 1991, when the Chechnya republic first declared its independence, the Russian government sought to overthrow the government of Dzhokhar Dudayev. On numerous occasions during the past three years, Russian troops have invaded the region and Moscow has consistently interfered in Chechnya's internal affairs, providing military and other support to the faction opposed to Dudayev.
For its part, the U.S. has supported Moscow's attempt to crush the Chechen people's struggle. Shortly after the latest invasion began, for example, the Clinton administration declared the intervention "an internal matter." U.S. Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, stated that Yeltsin was "doing what he probably had to do."
The U.S. is supporting the Russian move into Chechnya because it also refuses to recognize the right of nations to self-determination. While Russia invades Chechnya, the U.S. is busy occupying Haiti.
The working class and peoples must have no illusion about the dangerous situation created by these hostile actions of imperialism. As more and more regional wars keep breaking out -- in Europe, in Central America, Africa, etc. -- the Big Powers will continue to intervene in the internal affairs of other nations and continue to suppress the people's drive for independence. The competition for markets and spheres of influence amongst the big capitalist states, however, will also inevitably lead to greater contradictions amongst themselves.
"The Worker" denounces Russia's invasion of Chechnya and demands that
Russian troops withdraw from the republic. A democratic foreign policy
must be based on the recognition of the inviolable right of every nation
to determine its affairs for itself.