“Children of the bandits are also bandits”

“Children of the bandits are also bandits,” General Vladimir Shamanov once said. He sits today in Putin’s State Duma. Similarly, Ukrainian children are also gangsters in the eyes of the Russian military.

In Ukraine, the regional capital Kherson was recently liberated from Russian occupation. People are returning to their city only to find houses and infrastructure ruined and fearing continued bombardment from Russian forces on the other side of the Dnipro River. The stories from the survivors and relatives of victims are terrifying.

Because terror against the civilian population is an integral part of the Russian military strategy. The more the enemy resists, the more elderly, women and children must die. The longer the opposing party holds the defense of the settlement, the more destruction is necessary. First implemented in Chechnya and developed further in Syria, this strategy, led by the same generals, is now being used during the military aggression in Ukraine.

In the autumn of 1999, the Russian leadership and the military deliberately chose the defenceless population and civilian objects of Chechnya as the object of attack. Essentially terrorist tactics were supposed to devalue the efforts of the Chechen fighters to contain the advancing enemy. The more they resisted, the more elderly, women and children died. The longer they defended any settlement, the more it was eventually turned into dust. And not only this one – but strikes were also carried out throughout the entire territory of the Republic from all the weapons available to the Russian troops.

Natalia Estemirova Documentation Center collected and systematized hundreds of cases of deliberate attacks on the civilian population of the Chechen Republic in an electronic database. Some, such as the bombing of Elistanji in early October 1999, which killed at least 48 residents of all ages of this village, are widely known. Other incidents remained in obscurity.

An analysis of these cases shows that the Russian troops did not come up with anything new in Ukraine. Terror against the population is still an important part of their actions, and attacks on civilian objects are a deliberately chosen strategy for suppressing the enemy.

Among the little-known is the case of an attack on refugees from the village of Ken-Yurt in the Grozny region of the Chechen Republic. This incident occurred on 14 October 1999. On that day, Russian helicopters fired missiles at a GAZ-53 truck. Local residents were sitting in that car, returning home after the Russian troops took control over their village. Rocket fragments killed six people at once, including a seven-year-old child. Eleven others received injuries of varying severity. The survivors got out of the burning car and threw grass on themselves out of fear that the helicopter would return. The helicopter would later return and for a long time would circle around the bleeding victims. The inhabitants of Ken-Yurt, watching everything from the sidelines, could not help them. Attempts to approach the place of shelling of the car were suppressed by fire from a helicopter. As a result, four more people died from their wounds. Among them were two teenage girls.

On the night of October 23 of the same year, two nearby villages, Samashki and Novy Sharoy, were shelled from Uragan multiple launch rocket systems. At least three people died in the first village, and four people died in the second village: a father, a mother and two minor daughters. On the morning of the next day, near a mosque under construction in Novy Sharoy, a cluster-munition projectile, which had not exploded the day before, blew itself up. Four more residents of this village were killed, including a nine-year-old child. Eleven people were taken to the hospital of the regional center of Achkhoy-Martan with severe injuries. Many with severed limbs and gouged out eyes. At dawn of 24 October 1999 Russian troops attacked Vedeno. This village was far from the front. It was impossible to reach it with cannon artillery.

Then a volley was fired from a training ground in North Ossetia in the direction of this village from Tactical Operational Missile Complex «Tochka-U». One of the rockets fell in the riverbed and did not cause any serious damage. The second one exploded in the air over the central part of the village, where there were no military and industrial facilities, only private houses and administrative buildings. The blast wave demolished the roofs of dozens of residential and commercial buildings, knocked out windows and doors.

It is known that three people died in Vedeno: a 24-year-old young woman and two teenage boys. Dozens of wounded were taken to the plain town of Shali, where Russian troops were already approaching, also shelling residential buildings. Because of the lack of electricity and medicines, it was not possible to leave them in a relatively safe place at that time.

Rocket strikes on Vedeno and other remote areas continued over the course of several months. There was no military necessity in this. The reason to this is that Chechen formations fought with Russian troops in flat Chechnya, and they had no places of permanent deployment in the mountains, no warehouses, there were no industrial and energy facilities there.

Since Soviet times, people in the mountains lived exclusively on rural farms. The Russian military and the political leadership of the country that stood behind them proceeded based on a logic of terror. In Chechnya no one was supposed to feel safe. And since the Chechen soldiers resist, their families must also suffer.

“Children of the bandits are also bandits,” General Vladimir Shamanov once said. He sits today in Putin’s State Duma. Similarly, Ukrainian children are also gangsters in the eyes of the Russian military. Children of those who fight with them near Kherson, Bakhmut, who defeated their units near Kyiv and Kharkov. Unfortunately, rockets will fall on the residential areas of Ukrainian cities and villages, on the objects of the infrastructure ensuring livelihood for the civilian population. Russia does not know how and does not want to fight in any other way.

You can read about the above and many other cases of deliberate attacks on the civilian population of Chechnya on the website of the Documentation Center.


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