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Shamil Basayev: “My only purpose is validity”

Notification of the “Chechenpress”: The text of the interview of Shamil
Basayev to the journalist Andrei Babitsky, shown on the American
television on the 28 th of July this year, is taken from the site of the
TV Company “ABC”. We are not responsible for authenticity of the text,
published on the site. Verbose theoretical discourses of Ted Koppel, the
TV- man of the program “Nightline”, are withdrawn from the text.

************************

I went by my own car. From Prague , I went through Ukraine , and got to
Kerch . Across the Ukrainian Russian border, and then by taxi, got to
Ingushetia. There I was met by someone connected to the resistance
movement. It was late at night and I was then taken to the village of
Nesterovsk . There I changed cars. As I got into the other car, much to
my surprise – actually, more than just surprise, it was a difficult
moment for me, a shock. I saw Shamil Basayev seated in it. The shock was
not out of fear. I've known Basayev for a long time. But I realized the
consequences I'll have to deal with. I understood immediately that the
Russian authorities would definitely charge me with collaborating with a
terrorist, with terrorists. I want to say that the meeting was totally
unexpected. Frankly speaking, I had no idea where I was. This was done
so that, intentionally or not, I couldn't tell anyone where I'd been,
and lead anyone to their hideout.

ANDREI BABITSKY

Tell me, please, you're the second-most wanted terrorist in the world.
How long have you managed to stay alive this long?

SHAMIL BASAYEV

First of all, I'm not the second. And secondly, I'm not wanted. I,
myself, am trying to find these terrorists. I'm looking for them in all
of Russia . And I'll keep on looking and I'll keep on finding them. And
I'll keep on punishing them. So, don't tell me they're trying to find
me. I'm trying to find them.

ANDREI BABITSKY

As Russian troops leave, as you want them to, who should then rule
Chechnya ?

SHAMIL BASAYEV

First thing that comes to mind are the words “power to the people.” I
have never sought power and I have never fought for power. I have always
fought for justice and justice has been my only goal. Honestly, I'm
telling you, not in the least do I feel there is a hunt for me. But I'm
a fighter. I'm at war. I can die anytime, even now.

ANDREI BABITSKY

What are you counting on? Do you really think that terror can force this
regime to concessions, to negotiations?

SHAMIL BASAYEV

I don't need their negotiations. I need a stop to the genocide of the
Chechen people. I need their occupying scum to leave our republic.

I need guarantees that tomorrow future Chechen generations won't be
deported to Siberia , like they were in 1944. That's why we need
independence. Practically the whole world recognized that that was
genocide. It's the “Ruskies” who are the terrorists. There is a struggle
going on for our national independence.

ANDREI BABITSKY

Coming to Beslan, regardless of how you assess the potential of that
operation and Putin's reaction, do you think it was right to risk the
lives of children, to deprive them of water? Don't you have the feeling
that you are responsible for the lives of these children, perhaps
sharing this responsibility with Putin?

SHAMIL BASAYEV

Why should I share it with Putin? Officially, over 40,000 of our
children have been killed and tens of thousands mutilated. Is anyone
saying anything about that?

ANDREI BABITSKY

And you mean to say that now their children are to be responsible?

SHAMIL BASAYEV

It's not the children who are responsible. Responsibility is with the
whole Russian nation, which with silent approval gives a yes. A nation
that feeds their grasses who ravaged Chechnya . They collect food,
things for them, they supply them. They pay taxes. They give approval in
word and in deed. They are all responsible. And in Beslan, to be honest,
I didn't expect this. But in Beslan, the issue was either stop the war
in Chechnya or have Putin resign. Just one of those two things. Carry
out one, and all people are released, no questions asked. Get it? There
wasn't more to it. Well, you can ask why I did it. To stop the killing
of thousands and thousands of Chechen children, Chechen women, and the
elderly. Look at the facts. They have been kidnapped, taken away, murdered.

ANDREI BABITSKY

So, you think all is fine, as long as you don't shoot point-blank? You
think putting children's lives at-risk is not the same as taking part in
their killing?

SHAMIL BASAYEV

I will pull no punches to stop this genocide. But within the limits of
my religion. And in my religion, Allah tells me in the Koran, “fight
against them how they fight against you, but do not cross the line.” And
I try not to cross the line. And I haven't yet.

ANDREI BABITSKY

What kind of feelings did you experience after Beslan?

SHAMIL BASAYEV

To tell you honestly, I was shocked. I swear, I never expected that. I
never thought Putin was so blood-thirsty that he would manifest his
thirst for blood. I didn't think he would. When confronted with a more
serious situation, I thought they'd try to make some move like gas or
something. That at least they wouldn't do anything against children.
That was my thinking. I figured that the more brutal I could make it,
the quicker they'd get the message. I thought it would work. But it's
not sinking in yet.

I never thought there would be small children in Beslan. It's a school.
Anyway, the youngest would be a 6-year-old. There is a kindergarten
across the road. I didn't see anyone. We studied maps, looked at all. I
made the plans. And I told the commander, I told him, when Russian
officials show up, hand them our demands officially and then release all
less than 10 years old, no questions asked. That's what I told him.
These were my conditions.

I asked Basayev about the explosion inside the Beslan school, which
actually started the storming of the building. He told me that according
to his information, a sniper shot the Chechen, who in the gym held his
foot down on the detonator of an explosive device. He was supposed to
hold down the fuse all the time. But when the sniper shot him, he fell,
removed his foot from the fuse and the explosion happened.

ANDREI BABITSKY

And what about the blown-up planes?

SHAMIL BASAYEV

Who said they'd been blown up? Where are the fact that they'd been blown
up? Why didn't they blow them up? Why doesn't it occur to you that they
shot them down? The demands were exactly the same, to stop the war. Why
blame us? Think for yourself.

ANDREI BABITSKY

Say a couple of words more. They were only to hijack the planes?

SHAMIL BASAYEV

They were supposed to hijack the planes and demand an end to the war.
And they were not supposed to let them land until there was some
response. But they were immediately shot down. Whatever, our hijackers
weren't supposed to blow up the planes just like that. And I wonder why
both planes exploded at the same time.

Same thing at the Dubrovka Theater. I told my men, all foreigners, must
be released unconditionally. That was an order. But – but you can
release them, but they may not make it to safety. And it would look as
if you killed them. Therefore, have everyone of them call the embassies,
have a car drive up to the door. Car drives up, you let them out. But
many weren't allowed to leave. And what do I have to do with it? I do
what I can, whatever I can control. In Chechnya and everywhere else, I
use methods that are reasonable and acceptable. Neither of my Mujahadeen
have killed children, not here, not there. Not killing, it's a fact.

As early as January 2004, I made an official statement. I said if Putin,
as the leader of the gang which does all this damage to Chechnya ,
officially announces that he and his so-called army will start behaving
in accordance with international law, we will quit all attacks and
bombings on the territory of Russia . We will just fight these troops
here in Chechnya . I made this official statement. Get it? And what was
the answer? More kidnappings. And it all started more killings. It all
went full-blast.

ANDREI BABITSKY

You call this a struggle for independence?

SHAMIL BASAYEV

And what would you call it?

ANDREI BABITSKY

Well, I think there's a religious motivation, as well.

SHAMIL BASAYEV

No. For me, it's first and foremost a struggle for freedom. If I'm not a
free man, I can't live in my faith. I need to be a free man. Freedom is
primary. That's how I see. Shari'a comes second.

He's being searched for. He spoke about it. This year, they tried to
poison him twice. From abroad, he gets shipments of some necessary
medical equipment, prosthetics. He covers the stump of his leg with a
special silicon sock. And one of the silicon socks that he got from
abroad was saturated with poison. They tested it by placing it in a
chicken coop. And a chicken died immediately.

SHAMIL BASAYEV

They tried to poison me twice this year. There were many skirmishes but
my time is not up. My time will come and I won't need the Russian army
to die. I will just die anyway. Everyone's time will be up sooner or
later. It once again confirms the words of God, what Allah has in store
for us. When my time comes, I will die. And the whole, wide world can do
nothing to me, it can't hurt me. And if Allah has something good in
store for me, so it will be. And nothing on earth can get in the way.

ANDREI BABITSKY

Can acts such as Beslan and the theater be repeated?

SHAMIL BASAYEV

Of course, they can. As long as the genocide of the Chechen nation
continues, as long as this mess continues, anything can happen. Okay, I
admit, I'm a bad guy. A bandit, a terrorist. Okay. So, I'm a terrorist.
But what would you call them? If they are keepers of constitutional
order, if they are anti-terrorists, then I spit on all these agreements
and nice words. And I want to spit on the whole world if the whole world
spits on me.

ANDREI BABITSKY

There's a pause, now. Does this mean you're planning something new? Or
have you decided to take it easy for a while?

SHAMIL BASAYEV

I won't take it easy, even for a moment. The break we had over winter is
more than enough. Yeah, I'm making plans. We'll see. We're always
looking for new ways. If one thing fails, we'll look for something new.
But we'll get there.
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Many of my fellow Russians will ask why I haven't informed the Federal
security service of this meeting, so then they could locate and
apprehend a terrorist and criminal. My answer to this is, I absolutely
distrust Russian power agencies. I'm convinced they wouldn't believe my
words that I didn't know anything. They would decide that I'm concealing
facts as to Basayev's whereabouts. I know how in Chechnya , and not only
in Chechnya , the special services and the functions of the interior
ministry work. How many people disappear without a trace. How many
people undergo horrendous, unbelievable, inhuman torture. I think I'd
subject myself to torture if I contacted the Federal security service. I
think it's unwise and illogical to voluntarily choose such a fate for
yourself.

Chechenpress, the mass-media department, Chechenpress, 08.08.05


 

Aug 10 2005 12:25PM

ABC's Basayev broadcast deliberate support of terrorism - Russian
Foreign Ministry

MOSCOW. Aug 10 (Interfax) - The broadcasting of an interview with
Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev by the U.S. television network ABC can
be described as deliberate supporting of terrorism, said Mikhail
Kamynin, a newly-appointed Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman.

"This action smacks not only of the promotion of international
terrorist bosses and their criminal schemes, but also of direct and
deliberate support of their deeds," Kamynin said in an article
published in the Wednesday issue of Izvestia.

Basayev's appearance on TV runs counter to UN Security Council
resolution 1373, which states that all countries should "refrain from
providing any form of support, active or passive, to entities or
persons involved in terrorist acts," he said.

"This is how the provision of the prestigious ABC forum to one of the
most hardened and bloody terrorist slaughterers should be viewed,"
Kamynin said.