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Two years after terrorists captured a theater center in Moscow, Vladimir Putin met with foreign ambassadors and urged them to be more active in assisting Russia in combating terrorism
Two years have passed since then and, in the opinion of Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the State Duma's international committee, since that president's address "something has been done" in developing antiterrorist cooperation of Russia with foreign states. However, some serious disputes in this direction still exist. For example, Europeans and Americans continue to plainly ignore Moscow's major demands on extraditing Akhmadov and Zakayev. However, says Mr. Kosachev in the interview to Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper, it does not mean that they turn their back on Russia. They just need comprehensive evidence of these persons' involvement in the terrorist activities. And the Russian side cannot obtain this evidence until these men are brought to its territory and the investigation is completed. Russia, complains Mr. Kosachev, has so far failed to convince the rest of the world that the Chechen operation for the country is an antiterrorist operation. And the lack of argumentation is primarily to blame. This being the case, without full-scale cooperation with the West and the East, Russia will never settle the Chechen problem. "I am not speaking about internationalizing this problem," explains the State Duma politician. "I am speaking about cooperation in suppressing the flash-points of terrorism on the territory of the Chechen Republic, because they simply could not exist without external support. The situation is aggravated by the fact that it is extremely difficult to obtain exhaustive revelatory information on the terrorists for the West in Chechnya, because the present-day terrorists are rather educated and competent, many of them have worked for special services and have clear understanding of where they can be caught and how to avoid such traps. Mr. Kosachev emphasizes that Russia does not intend to hide the information on the terrorists, which it manages to obtain. "I, for example, as head of the Russian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, am doing my best to establish regular cooperation of Russia with the PACE on the Chechen file. We deliberately draw the PACE reporters into this cooperation." "Actual changes to the best are ongoing in the republic. I am not idealizing the situation, but, indeed, housing is being built there, while refugee camps disappear. We show this and all what we ask is only to refrain from sweeping criticism," in particular with regard to the victory of the Kremlin-backed candidate at the Chechen presidential elections. According to Mr. Kosachev, the U.S. and Europe are held prisoners of their own standards of holding democratic elections. However, it is impossible so far to expect these elections to be democratic in the same way as it is impossible to expect 100% democracy from the upcoming Iraqi elections. At the same time, the Russian politician regards as an achievement the fact that the West de-facto recognizes election of Alu Alkhanov. "The European Commission's statement following the elections contained the phrasing: we believe that the new President of the Chechen Republic will have to do a lot in order to be called the President of the Chechen Republic. It is also an important statement. And it means much for us," concludes Mr. Kosachev.
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