Russia’s intervention in Syria could have been stopped 20 years ago

Oleg Kashin writes: War and bloodshed doesn’t have the power to shock you when it’s been seen thousands of times before, on television, in films, in newspapers.

That’s why the Russian reaction to the violent bombing campaign in the Syrian city of Aleppo has been so muted. There has been no public outcry over news footage of women, children and the elderly living in ruins, and images of the dead and the maimed have largely gone unnoticed.

It’s because we’ve seen it all before, a lot closer to home. Grozny was its name. Twenty-two years ago, thousands were dying in a brutal conflict between Chechen separatist fighters and Russian government forces which had started in 1994 after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Lasting nearly two years, the war did not distinguish between armed separatists, children or young army conscripts. The number of deaths is unknown, estimations vary from 30,000 to 100,0000, with nearly half a million displaced and much of the republic left in ruins.

Russia’s foreign policy is more than 20 years old, and emerged from the dust and devastation in Grozny
But despite the brutality, the conflict’s proximity to the rest of Europe and the clear shock among the Russian population, there was no international outrage. [Continue reading…]

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