Dutch doctor kidnapped by Russian secret services
Chechen agency
[BBC Monitoring International Reports]
13 March 2004 14:40

Nineteen months were required by the Medecins sans Frontieres organization to finally make known the facts about the abduction of the Dutch doctor Arjan Erkel by the Russian special services. The wording of the reason why it took such a long time for the Russian side's involvement in the kidnapping to be mentioned is worthy of attention. It seems that Medecins sans Frontieres stayed quiet for "pragmatic" reasons. It is probable that a UN envoy, who recently visited Chechen refugee camps, also out of "pragmatism", made the conditions for rendering aid to the refugees dependent on Arjan Erkel's release. How one measures degrees of hypocrisy or lack of conscience is unknown, but there is a way of determining the cost of pragmatism. It is this same "pragmatism" which guides Western politicians who close their eyes to the crimes of the Kremlin regime in Ichkeria. But in other instances, the pragmatic approach to the murders of hundreds of thousands of people comes at a higher price - the satisfaction of economic interests. For example, if their Kremlin friends agree to reduce the price of gas, why not describe the shooting of a column of refugees as the annihilation of international terrorists, or fail to report that Chechen militants are operating in Afghanistan? This is called pragmatism. One doctor's life was the pretext for cutting aid programmes to thousands of refugees. It was not refugees who kidnapped the doctor, but, as has now been revealed, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's thugs from the FSB, while international organizations, including the UN envoy, when they heard of this, declared the Chechens extremists. Bearing in mind the close personal ties between the UN leadership and the bosses in the Kremlin - and this has often been reported in the media - the UN official's move reminds one of the behaviour of those who organized the burning of the Reichstag. However, on this occasion, they clearly did not succeed in reaching a mutual understanding with their Kremlin colleagues. Perhaps the funds saved by cutting humanitarian programmes were not enough to pay for Erkel's ransom? An unfortunate refugee living in a tattered tent might believe such a version if he wanted to, but he probably would not. It is possible that there are signs that the world is beginning to realize, albeit with some effort, what the terrorists in the Kremlin are really like. The head of Medecins sans Frontieres, having accused the Russian authorities of abduction, said that the organization intended to increase international pressure on Russia. It remains to add that, had it not been for the notorious "pragmatism" in the past 19 months, and if a spade had been called a spade from the very outset, it is possible that the search for Erkel would have been more successful. And but for the "pragmatism" of Western politicians to justify the genocide of the Chechen people, it is possible that Erkel would have been with his family today, and there would have been no need to search for him, or the tens of thousands of Chechens who have disappeared. [Passage omitted: individuals accused of masterminding kidnappings in Chechnya, criticism of Kremlin regime]