Friday, March 24, 2023

New ‘Memorial’ Book Documents Russian Wars and War Crimes over the Past 30 Years

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Mar. 18 – The international community has been outraged by Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and the crimes it has committed there, but long before this conflict, the Russian government has been involved in wars and war crimes – and in almost all cases has done so without nearly as much criticism and almost always with impunity.

            The Memorial human rights organization which the Kremlin has shuttered has just released a 340-page volume, A Chain of Crimes, a Chain of War, a Chain of Impunity documenting both the wars and crimes, on the one hand, and the ways in which the international community failed to hold Russia to account (Доклад_Мемориал.pdf).

            As the book makes clear, all of the aggressiveness the Russian authorities have shown in Ukraine and all the crimes they have committed there have precedents in earlier Russian wars starting in Chechnya and continuing through Georgia and Syria, a track record few in the West often fail to recall because its failure to oppose the earlier crimes opened the way for new ones.

            Had the international community done more to oppose Russian crimes in these earlier wars, including the wars in Chechnya, the world might have been spared the war in Ukraine and the war crimes Russia has committed there, the report suggests. It is in this sense and this sense alone that the world bears responsibility for the current war.

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