Europe is risking silence to end its longest war

Jonathan Steele writes in the Guardian about Europe’s silence on the situation in Chechnya.

In short, Europe is replacing its old policy of publicly denouncing Russia over Chechnya. At the current session of the UN Human Rights Commission, the EU has not proposed a resolution this year. But, diplomats argue, the silence is not motivated by cynicism or “condemnation fatigue”, let alone agreement with Moscow that Chechnya is a front in the war on international terror. It is part of a new policy of constructive engagement.

The hope is that low-key offers of help by European governments, and support at the Council of Europe for Chechnya’s political forces to start a dialogue, could have a better chance of success. The policy is worth trying, but the risks are enormous. If it turns out that Russia is merely coopting the EU behind its brutal tactics of “Chechenisation”, the new strategy must be dropped.