Photo of Chechen reported to have been executed obtained by Novaya Gazeta from a law-enforcement source.
When Russian media reported March 24 that 6 National Guardsmen and 6 militants were killed in a “shoot-out” in Chechnya, it was a typical story with scant details. Interfax quoted the statement of Rosgvardiya, the new National Guard created by President Vladimir Putin last year in place of the Interior Ministry’s Internal Troops and certain other police agencies. TASS reported tersely that “six militants were liquidated in an attempt to attack an army base in Chechnya.”
The Novaya Gazeta story indicates there is a lot we don’t know about these clashes. The following is a full translation of Milashina’s article, titled ‘Chinese Execution’ in Naurskaya, by The Interpreter:
A former law-enforcer who served in Chechnya put it more categorically. He commented on the photographs as follows: “It’s a typical Chinese execution.”
This is the term that both sides in the Chechen campaigns [of the 1990s–The Interpreter] used to describe the execution of POWs (by analogy with the public executions in China, in which two features were characteristic: the mass nature and methods of the murder of the victims, who were kneeling, and the executioner shooting them in the head, usually in the back of the head).
This fact is confirmed by the official dispatches of the National Guard (see photos of documents). That is, the Chechens did not have firearms on them.
According to Novaya Gazeta’s information, the soldiers who served at no. 3761 are primarily sent from other regions of Russia. According to information from residents of Naurskaya, possibly a conflict took place on ethnic grounds between local Chechens and the soldiers at no. 3761. This could have become the reason for the settling of scores during which the Chechens were detained. Yet this version of the story still does not clarify the circumstatnces of the deaths or wounds of nine Guardsmen.
— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick
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