In a Moscow talk, Vladimir Putin lashed out at US support for Chechen terrorism:
"Speaking to western policy experts and journalists just days after hundreds of children died in the Beslan school siege, the Russian president said mid-level officials in the U.S. government were supporting Chechen separatists, whom he compared to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, CNN reported. "You find it possible to set some limitations in your dealings with these bastards, so why should we talk to people who are child-killers?" Reuters quoted Putin as saying. The president said that each time Russia complained to the Bush administration about meetings held between U.S. officials and Chechen separatist representatives, the U.S. response has been "we'lll get back to you" or "we reserve the right to talk with anyone we want," CNN quoted him as saying. Putin blamed what he called a 'Cold War mentality' on the part of some U.S. officials, but likened their demands that Russia negotiate with the Chechen separatists to the U.S. talking to al Qaeda."
Putin is right, on this point at least. There are a lot of Chechen supporters in America, not just in the mid-level offices of the State Department. I saw Richard Holbrooke and Zbignew Brzezinski attacking Russia on behalf of the Chechens at a Library of Congress symposium a few months ago. The only one who appeared to have any sympathy for Russia's dilemmas was James Billington. And anti-Russian views domintate the major media, as well. For example, the New York Times editorial on the day after the school massacre in Beslan blamed Russia, not the terrorists, for the killings. Despite Peter Baker's superb reporting from Beslan, editorials and op-eds in the Washington Post have tended to be anti-Russian. As has NPR, which made the Chechen terrorists sound like they were in a guerrilla insurgency against a military target. I still haven't seen a major newspaper investigation that clearly connects the Chechen terrorism to 9/11--despite a great deal of evidence that both fronts are part of a worldwide jihad against the West (see the link below about Mohammed Atta being on his way to Chechnya before he decided to attack the World Trade Center). It is pretty clear that the terrorists see Russia, the US, the UK, and Israel in much the same way that the Nazis saw the Allies during World War II (of course, these countries are allies from World War II). Most experts in Washington think-tanks also hew to an anti-Russian line. In fact, evenhanded analysis of the Chechen conflict from people like Leon Aron at the American Enterprise Institute (scroll down for the link),is a rarity as far as I am aware. Aron, a biographer of Yeltsin, appears to be alone even in Republican policy circles right now. Of course, blogs like Winds of Change and Little Green Footballs have connected the dots between the Chechen terrorists and those who attacked the US.