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October 26, 2002

A Letter To President Putin From Shimon Peres
By Dr. Steven E. Plaut

To: Vladimir Putin, President of Russia
From: Shimon Peres, Israeli Foreign Minister and Peacemaker at Large
Re: Your Anti-Terror Actions

Dear Mr. President:

I feel obliged to write to you regarding the ending of the hostage standoff crisis at the Moscow theater in which 750 hostages were being held by a group of Chechen peace activists.

Mister President, I am horrified and shocked. Have you not learned anything at all from my own campaign to bring peace and stability to the Middle East? Have you learned nothing from how I led Israel into the era of peace? Mister President, you actually used FORCE to end the hostage crisis. Do you not realize that there is no military solution to the problems of terrorism? Are you still living in the past, in pre-history?

You simply made a complete mess of things. Instead of sending in those SWAT teams, you should have agreed to talks with the hostage-holders and agreed to meet the Chechen demands. You should have offered the Chechen control over half of Moscow as well as immediate removal of all Russian settlements from the Caucasus region. You should have offered to pay tribute to the Chechen militia involved. You should have offered them lands along the Volga.

Don't you realize that if you refuse to conduct good-faith negotiations with the Chechen militias that took over this theater, then REALLY radical Chechens will seize the leadership of the Chechen cause? the problem is that you are have been insensitive to the Other.

Here is how you must erect a New Middle Eurasia. You must agree at once to provide the Chechen peace activists with thousands of rifles and other weapons so that they can use these to suppress terrorism, without Greenpeace or human rights busybodies interfering. Never mind about those suggestions to get the Chechen militias to stop teaching that the Russian people must be annihilated by genocide in their schoolbooks. Then you must begin to teach the Chechen version of Caucasus history in Russian schools, and commemorate the catastrophe that befell Chechnya when Tsar Peter expanded into the Caucasus.

A Chechen Foreign Ministry office must be allowed to operate within the Kremlin walls. All vodka sales anywhere in Russia must be prohibited, lest this alcohol consumption offend Chechen sensitivities. You must arrest all those Russian inciters, including Orthodox priests, who express opposition to this peace plan. You must agree to a sharp reduction in the strength of the Russian military and its redeployment far away from the Caucasus. You must erect Potemkin cities of peace for the Chechens. And you must place any Russian soldiers or officers who exhibit insensitivity to Chechnya on trial for racism. If you follow this advice, you are guaranteed to get a Nobel Prize.

Mister President, you have committed unforgivable transgressions. You violated the human rights of the Chechen hijackers when you pumped knock-out gas into that theater. Then your people simply executed the peace activists in the theater, without reading them their rights or providing them with legal representation. Your troops made no attempt at all to distinguish the guilty Chechens in the theater from the innocent ones. Shame on you. I know that Yitzhak Rabin is looking down at you
from Heaven and sighing.

But if you adopt my ideas, a new Middle Eurasia will emerge. Give my ideas a try! What have you got to lose?

Sincerely yours,

Shimon Peres, Peacemaker at Large