Monday, September 4, 2017

Three Instructive Russian Anniversaries

Paul Goble
            Staunton, September 2 – Rarely does a day go by when there isn’t one or another Russian anniversary that at least some take note of, but often the most important lessons of the events being remembered are ignored or downplayed even though they say a great deal about where Russia is not only in the past but now as well.

            Three such anniversaries recalled in recent days that have important lessons for the future include:

·         The 13th anniversary of the Beslan Events. The most important lesson is that despite the high profile nature of that crime, no one has been punished for it in the intervening period and no serious provisions have been introduced in Russian law to help the victims of that attack and their relatives ( and

·         The 21st anniversary of the signing of the Khasavyurt accords which put an end to the first post-Soviet Chechen war.  That accord which could have been a road map to a peaceful future in the North Caucasus not only was vitiated by Moscow’s failure to live up to a single one of its provisions but also by Vladimir Putin’s blowing up of Russian apartment buildings in 1999 to restart the Chechen war and boost himself into the Russian presidency (

·         The 77th anniversary of the forcible annexation of the Baltic countries by Stalin on the basis of the secret protocols of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. In a new book, Moscow television journalist Leonid Parfenov observes that at that time “the Kremlin proceeded toward annexation step by step, seeking until the last moment not to reveal its true goal” (

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