Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! CounterPunch is entirely supported by our readers. Your donations pay for our small staff, tiny office, writers, designers, techies, bandwidth and servers. We don’t owe anything to advertisers, foundations, one-percenters or political parties. You are our only safety net. Please make a tax-deductible donation today.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Russian Colonel, Insane But Fit for Duty

by James Dunlop Chechnya Weekly

The Russian media have commented at length on the recent determination by psychiatrists employed at the Serbsky Institute in Moscow that Colonel Yury Budanov–on trial in a military court in Rostov-on-Don for having strangled a young Chechen woman in March of 2000–had been “temporarily insane” at the time he committed the murder. The head doctor of the team of psychiatrists who examined Budanov, Galina Burnyashova, observed in her report, a copy of which was obtained by Moskovskie Novosti: “In the Serbsky Institute, I am the chief doctor for Budanov. He is fit for military service, with limitations, and is deemed as having been insane only during the time that he murdered El’za Kungaeva. He will stand trial concerning other charges (the abduction of the young woman, the beating of a subordinate). He has been assigned compulsory outpatient treatment. His treatment does not involve isolation. Budanov is not socially dangerous” (Moskovskie Novosti, May 22). On May 17, a recess in the trial of Budanov was announced until May 27 (, May 17).

In a commentary on the psychiatrists’ finding, which she saw as having been arrived at under heavy pressure from the Kremlin, award-winning Russian war correspondent Anna Politkovskaya wrote in the May 16 issue of Novaya Gazeta: “Colonel Budanov, the commander of a tank regiment, on March 26, 2000, on the night following the election of Putin as president, abducted, raped and monstrously strangled a young resident of the Chechen settlement of Tangi-Chu, El’za Kungaeva. Budanov has been determined to have been insane at the moment he committed these crimes…. What follows from all this? Extremely simple and concrete things: The rating of the president among the [military] officers will go up and become firmer, since the vindication of Colonel Budanov is the vindication of the methods of the Second Chechen War. It is as simple as a whistle blast.” The message being sent to “the many-thousand-strong military contingent in Chechnya” and to all veterans of the war, Politkovskaya concluded, is this: “Lads, do everything you want, and do it in the way you have till now. You are heroes and only heroes, whatever you have done, while any Chechen man or woman is not a person at all. ‘Our’ laws do not protect them. ‘Our’ law is for ‘you’ and not for ‘them.'”

“I often ask myself,” Politkovskaya went on, “why I do not like President Putin. The answer has come. Because of his cynicism, and because of the fact that the ‘unhealthy” Budanov is nearer and more understandable to Putin than is a defenseless village girl, whose misfortune consisted in the fact that she was born to a Chechen father and mother. And because of his racism–for dividing the people who elected him into first- and second-class people. And, finally, for his openly implanted neo-Sovietism: when, for the sake of an Idea, even a mythical one (at the present moment it is ‘the struggle with international terrorism’), those who faithfully serve that Idea (that is, first-class people) can ‘do anything.’ The remainder (second-class people) are doomed to be rubbed out.”

Asked by the mass-circulation weekly Argumenty i Fakty to comment on the psychiatrists’ determination, Ruslan Khasbulatov, an ethnic Chechen and a former speaker of the Russian Supreme Soviet, recalled: “Next to the hall during the trial [of Budanov] there formed up stormtroopers with swastikas and Cossacks with whips. The crowd shouted, ‘Keep your hands off Budanov!’ The [neo-Nazi] Russian National Unity demanded that Budanov be vindicated because he is an ethnic Russian while the murdered El’za was a Chechen. No one among the local authorities tried to halt the bacchanalia of the extremists. And they put pressure on the court.” “Simple Russian women in Chechnya,” Khasbulatov continued, “have approached me with the request that I convey their condolences to the relatives of Kungaeva. They have recounted to me how ‘valorous’ commanders have mocked them and their children. I underline the following: rapists and murderers have no nationality; they exist among every people… Budanov turned out to be insane? And what were they looking at earlier? This colonel had served in the army for twenty years. An army in which insane commanders serve is a shameful phenomenon” (Argumenty i Fakty, May 23).

On May 25, the pro-Maskhadov website reported: “On May 22, Russian soldiers kidnapped a young Chechen teacher in Argun. Sveta Madarova is 26 years old, single and lives at 125 Shali Street. In the morning the Russian soldiers asked her to come down to them. She went out and disappeared. The officials of the commandant’s office give no information about the visit of the Russian soldiers to the Chechen teacher…. The cases of encroachment on Chechen women have become more frequent. Apparently the Russian aggressors derive inspiration from the impunity of Budanov, who murdered a 18-year-old girl.”

James Dunlop is the editor of Chechnya Weekly, where this article originally appeared.

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 29, 2016
Robert Fisk
The Butcher of Qana: Shimon Peres Was No Peacemaker
James Rose
Politics in the Echo Chamber: How Trump Becomes President
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Vice Grip on the Presidential Debates
Daniel Kato
Rethinking the Race over Race: What Clinton Should do Now About ‘Super-Predators’
Peter Certo
Clinton’s Awkward Stumbles on Trade
Fran Shor
Demonizing the Green Party Vote
Rev. William Alberts
Trump’s Road Rage to the White House
Luke O'Brien
Because We Couldn’t Have Sanders, You’ll Get Trump
Michael J. Sainato
How the Payday Loan Industry is Obstructing Reform
Robert Fantina
You Can’t Have War Without Racism
Gregory Barrett
Bad Theater at the United Nations (Starring Kerry, Power, and Obama
James A Haught
The Long, Long Journey to Female Equality
Thomas Knapp
US Military Aid: Thai-ed to Torture
Jack Smith
Must They be Enemies? Russia, Putin and the US
Gilbert Mercier
Clinton vs Trump: Lesser of Two Evils or the Devil You Know
Tom H. Hastings
Manifesting the Worst Old Norms
George Ella Lyon
This Just in From Rancho Politico
September 28, 2016
Eric Draitser
Stop Trump! Stop Clinton!! Stop the Madness (and Let Me Get Off)!
Ted Rall
The Thrilla at Hofstra: How Trump Won the Debate
Robert Fisk
Cliché and Banality at the Debates: Trump and Clinton on the Middle East
Patrick Cockburn
Cracks in the Kingdom: Saudi Arabia Rocked by Financial Strains
Lowell Flanders
Donald Trump, Islamophobia and Immigrants
Shane Burley
Defining the Alt Right and the New American Fascism
Jan Oberg
Ukraine as the Border of NATO Expansion
Ramzy Baroud
Ban Ki-Moon’s Legacy in Palestine: Failure in Words and Deeds
Gareth Porter
How We Could End the Permanent War State
Sam Husseini
Debate Night’s Biggest Lie Was Told by Lester Holt
Laura Carlsen
Ayotzinapa’s Message to the World: Organize!
Binoy Kampmark
The Triumph of Momentum: Re-Electing Jeremy Corbyn
David Macaray
When the Saints Go Marching In
Seth Oelbaum
All Black Lives Will Never Matter for Clinton and Trump
Adam Parsons
Standing in Solidarity for a Humanity Without Borders
Cesar Chelala
The Trump Bubble
September 27, 2016
Louisa Willcox
The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline
Paul Street
The Roots are in the System: Charlotte and Beyond
Jeffrey St. Clair
Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate
Mark Harris
Clinton, Trump, and the Death of Idealism
Mike Whitney
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
Anthony DiMaggio
The Debates as Democratic Façade: Voter “Rationality” in American Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Punishing the Punished: the Torments of Chelsea Manning
Paul Buhle
Why “Snowden” is Important (or How Kafka Foresaw the Juggernaut State)
Jack Rasmus
Hillary’s Ghosts
Brian Cloughley
Billions Down the Afghan Drain
Lawrence Davidson
True Believers and the U.S. Election
Matt Peppe
Taking a Knee: Resisting Enforced Patriotism
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]