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Russia – a terrorist state

The destruction of the Pan Am plane over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988 has not been a mystery for a long time, it was a pure terrorist act in which 270 people died. Most were students who took advantage of the discount to travel from Europe to America for the Christmas holidays. During Gaddafi, in 2003, Libya admitted responsibility for this terrorist act, and paid 2.7 billion dollars to the families of the victims. This saved the Libyan leader, whose country was already one of the few that the USA and the West considered sponsors of terrorism, for a while.

How far are we from repeating this sequence in the case of Russia – from terrorist acts to the declaration of this state a sponsor of terrorism? Not far.

Eight years have passed since a Malaysian passenger flight was shot down while flying over eastern Ukraine, over the Donbas area, which was then controlled by Russian paramilitary forces. While Moscow repeats that it has nothing to do with shooting down of the Malaysian plane and the death of 298 people, saying that it was the work of Ukraine, it is only reasonable to trust the findings of the Dutch investigation, which established that the plane was shot down by the Russian army missile, transported from Russian territory with a goal that was later fulfilled.

Only with this act, Russia can meet the criteria to be declared a state sponsor of terrorism. Moreover, it did not sponsor anyone to commit an act of terrorism on its behalf, it carried it out by itself using its own military resources, so shooting down the MH-17 flight qualifies it as a “terrorist state”. Since then, Russia has given many more reasons to be labeled a state sponsor of terrorism.

During the aggression against Ukraine, Russia convincingly deserved this “title”. Its military action in Ukraine, apart from being illegal, provides daily evidence of terrorist activity, primarily through continuous attacks on civilians, with the intention of achieving a political goal, which is one of the basic definitions of terrorism. The Russian army in Ukraine has committed numerous war crimes against civilians, and an army of 50,000 local investigators (Washington Post) is working to prove them, and in this work, they have increasing international legal support.

The Russian state treats its aggression against Ukraine as a decisive battle against the West, and its top officials threaten Europe and America with the “judgement day”. The former President of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, threatened the West with those very words, if there was an attempt to return Crimea to Ukraine by using weapons. The rhetoric is overwhelmingly reminiscent of ISIS leaders’ shouts to the West if it continues to prevent them from establishing a Caliphate. We don’t even need an analogy with ISIS here, the Russian state already has people and units in its regular military composition, who consider the operation in Ukraine to be a “jihad” and a war against “Satan”. Recently, Apti Alaudinov, the commander of the Chechen units in Ukraine, explained on Russian state television that they are participating in a “holy war” under the command of Vladimir Putin, against the “Antichrist”.

From joining Cuba, North Korea, Iran and Syria in state sponsors of terrorism status, Russia is only separated by the signature of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. On July 11, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed an amended resolution asking the Secretary of State to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. The list of reasons is impressive and they go back long before the aggression against Ukraine. For example, the brutal use of force against civilians in the Second Chechen War, support for the violent actions of separatists in Donbass, the suffering of innocent civilians in Syria during attacks on markets, medical facilities and schools, the spread of terror in many parts of the world through private military structures, under the control of the Ministry of Defense (Wagner group). In all these places, as well as today in Ukraine, Russia has committed and continues to commit war crimes in which countless civilians, men, women and children suffer.

While the decision is being made in Washington whether Russia will be declared a terrorist state, there is no doubt that it has already earned the name “rogue state”, which also exists in the American nomenclature of enemies of world peace. Madeleine Albright defined them precisely and briefly as – states that do not participate in the international system and strive to sabotage it. In 2002, George W. Bush referred to them as the “axis of evil”, referring specifically to North Korea, Iraq and Iran.

Today’s Russia deserves to be in this company. It has already been expelled from a large number of important international organizations, and it no longer shows a desire to participate in global affairs, within the framework of traditional multilateral institutions. It is only following its mythical path of rebuilding the empire and subjugating all those who oppose it, if necessary, with military force, as is the case with Ukraine, even with nuclear weapons, which Putin’s propagandists call for with fervor in their eyes.

There are no fundamental obstacles to declaring Russia a terrorist state, there are more than enough reasons. Given that this “title” is awarded only by the USA, the only obstacle mentioned is that this measure would be only symbolic, since almost all possible sanctions have already been imposed on Russia, which would otherwise be introduced against a country if it was declared a sponsor of terrorism. However, even a symbolic designation of Russia as a terrorist state would have a huge global effect, especially in anticipation of future international trials related to war crimes committed in Ukraine.

The impact would also be great on Western public opinion, especially in Europe, where attention to the Ukrainian tragedy is increasingly “cooling down”, and the price of gas, heating, gasoline and food supply emerge as much bigger concerns. Some of the governments of major European countries should explain to their citizens why they do business with a “terrorist state” and comply with its blackmailing demands.

Russia and Putin will not be too concerned about whether they will be called terrorists in the West or not. Their aggressive plans and actions have long ignored everyone, except their own mystical ideas about the realization of the great “Russian world”. Russia should be labeled as a state sponsor of terrorism in order to preserve the civilized consciousness of the rest of the world, which must no longer have a dilemma as to the true nature of today’s Russia.

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