Moscow criticises U.S. think-tank over debate

Russia Foreign Ministery

Foreign Ministry attacks Jamestown Foundation

Russia accused a US think-tank on Friday of spreading anti-Russian propaganda by hosting a debate on violence in the turbulent Ingushetia region neighbouring Chechnya.

The Foreign Ministry said Russia was surprised the United States, with whom relations have deteriorated this year, had let the debate go ahead last week in Washington.

The Jamestown Foundation publishes reports on international conflicts and monitors unrest in Russia’s North Caucasus area. Its weekly newsletter is largely critical of Russian policy.

The ministry said the sole aim of last week’s debate had been to misinform the US public about Russian policy in the north Caucasus.

“Organisers again and again resorted to deliberately spreading slander about the situation in Chechnya and other republics of the Russian north Caucasus using the services of supporters of “terrorists” and pseudo-experts,” the ministry said.

“Speakers were given carte blanche to spread “extremist” propaganda, incite ethnic and inter-religious discord.”

The think-tank said Russia was trying to intimidate it.

“It shows that they feel threatened by us,” Foundation president Glen Howard said in a telephone interview.

“They’re intimidated by the power of the free word and this goes against the state manipulation of the media in Russia.”

The foundation’s board includes Zbigniew Brzezinski who was national security advisor to former US President Jimmy Carter.

Source: Reuters
Kavkaz Center


Comments / Mikael Storsjö:

This statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry is quite symptomatic of a state body in an authoritarian government. The Russian FM simply can’t realize that the US government has no means to intervene in the activities of an independent society in the country.

Jamestown Foundation is a high-level think-tank, whichs among other things is publishing the newsletter Chechnya Weekly. One prominent member of the editorial staff is Mayrbek Vatchagaev, who till 2002 worked as an advisor and envoyé of president Maskhadov. Since then he has left politics and made his Ph.D. in Paris, where he now works as a researcher and writer. He is an outstanding commentator upon events in Caucasus, due to his deep knowledge combined with an analytic and scientific approach. Vatchagaevs articles in Chechnya Weekly can be found here. Below you find the invitation to the occasion that the Russian FM doesn’t like.

The Jamestown Foundation
The Future of IngushetiaIntroduction:
Glen Howard
President, The Jamestown Foundation”The Situation in Ingushetia”
Fatima Tlisova
Human Rights Fellow, Carr Center for Human Rights
John F. Kennedy School of Government
Harvard University”The Ingush Jamaat: The New Face of Resistance in the North Caucasus”
Dr. Mairbek Vatchagaev”The Future of Prigorodny Raion: An Assessment of Ingush-Ossetian Relations”
Valery Dzutsev
Independent Journalist

Dr. Paul Goble

Wednesday, November 28, 2007
2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
The Jamestown Foundation
1111 16th St. NW
Washington, DC 20036

Ingushetia has seen a sharp increase in violence in the past year, joining Chechnya as one of the most volatile areas of the North Caucasus. Ingush insurgents led by Akhmed Yevloev, a.k.a. Magas, have wounded and killed dozens of federal troops and local police in ambushes, drive-by shootings and bombings. The fact that Chechen rebel leader Dokka Umarov named Magas to replace the late Shamil Basaev as the Caucasian insurgency’s top military commander suggests that the rebels now view Ingushetia as perhaps the primary front in their war against Moscow. The federal authorities, for their part, deployed an additional 2,500 troops in August to restore stability to the tiny republic. That move, according to human rights activists in Ingushetia, has meant increased violence against Ingush civilians, including disappearances and extra-judicial killings. Meanwhile, tensions have also flared between the Ingush and Ossetians over the disputed province of Prigorodny Raion as popular dissatisfaction with the administration of Ingush President Murat Zyazikov has reached critical mass with the killing of a six-year-old boy during a federal security operation. As one observer put it, Ingushetia is “on the brink of a revolution.”Join us for an extensive three-hour discussion on the future of Ingushetia by a leading group of experts on the North Caucasus.As space is limited, reservations are required. Please e-mail your name and affiliation to:


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