Russian Film Accuses West of Orchestrating Chechen War

Separatist rebels.  Source: psdp.ruA new film released on Russia’s state-run Channel One has sparked as much international eye-rolling as controversy. Swirling around a central shadowy Turkish secret agent, the 55-minute “Caucasus Plan” implicates a series of western countries, including France, Germany, Turkey and the United States in orchestrating Russia’s war with Chechnya in the 1990s.

The Turkish embassy in Moscow has already discounted the “unfounded assertions regarding Turkey,” questioning the conclusions of the self-designated “documentary.” The film, which first aired on April 22nd, alleges that ENKA, a Turkish construction company with major market share in Russia, directly funded Chechen rebels. It also alleges that the U.S. State Department as well as Turkish authorities staged a number of cunning plots to exacerbate separatism in the North Caucasus region, including smuggling weapons and injecting the market with counterfeit dollars. France allegedly gave a hand by printing new regional passports, and Germany provided assistance by minting new currency.

A statement from Channel One called the project an “investigative journalism” documentary based on a number of on-the-ground witnesses.

In response, ENKA quickly released a statement: “We state that all information regarding our company broadcast on April 22 in ‘The Caucasus Plan’ TV program on Channel One is totally groundless and untrue. We deny all such accusations.”

Experts called the film a joke, adding that it resembles Soviet-style propaganda rather than a serious investigation. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty quotes Said-Khasan Abumuslimov, a historian who was Chechnya’s vice president in the 1990s:

“The Russians have always claimed that the Chechen struggle was instigated by outside forces,” he said. “They say we always wanted to live in peace with the Russians, but first Turkey, then England, and now America is sowing seeds of discord in the Caucasus. I don’t even want to comment on these silly allegations. This is not serious.”

Government critics commonly describe television in Russian as the most strictly government-controlled media. At the same time, television serves as the major source of news for the largest share of the population. Channel One (also called Rossiya), a state-run enterprise that broadcasts across the country, has been repeatedly criticized for serving as a Kremlin press-agency, and not a serious source of news. In September 2007, the channel aired another anti-Western special titled “” (lit. The prime-time special described a mass-conspiracy wherein the CIA was using foreign NGOs, the western media and opposition groups in an attempt to overthrow the government and foment a “color revolution” in Russia.

Watch “The Caucasus Plan” (RUS)
Watch “” (RUS)
Read an analysis of conspiracy theories aired by Russian television, and more information about Arkady Mamontov, who produced – Kommersant Newspaper (ENG)