At 10 am on August 1, 2001 70 Chechen refugees living in tent camps in Ingushetia and who are have been on an indefinite hunger strike since June 14, 2001 will begin the Grozny-Moscow Peace March. It will begin in Ordzhonikidzovskaya (Sleptsovskaya), Ingushetia, on the border with the Chechen Republic.
This March is 2000 km long and will stop in Sleptsovskaya, Nazran, Nalchik, Mineralnye Vody, Nevinnomyssk, Tikhoretsk, Rostov-na-Donu, Novocherkassk, Kamenetsk-Shakhtinski, Millerovo, Pavlovsk, Voronezh, Liptesk, Ryazan, Kolomna, Moscow.
This March will last 70 days.
70 women, old men, and children will participate in the first day of the March.
Inhabitants of Chechnya will go from Grozny to Sleptsovskaya without banners so as not to irritate servicemen and not risk their lives. It is a done deal that this March will begin at the time indicated. The hunger strike participants decided so and to stop the war in Chechnya.
This March is supported by the Chechen National Salvation Committee, the Russo-Chechen Friendship Society, Echo of the War, and other organizations.
A Peace March Support Group has been created. The All-national Russian Committee for Ending War and Creating Peace in the Chechen Republic, the Moscow Helsinki Group, Memorial, the All-Russian Movement for Human Rights, Civil Assistance, the Movement Against Violence, the Russian magazine In Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms, and others.
On Thursday July 26th at 1pm in the Institute for the Development of the Press a press conference will take place. Alexander Luboslavski, chair of the Peace March, will speak.
The seven-year Russo-Chechen War has taken the lives of tens of thousands of people. Cities and villages have been levelled. The
population has been executed, robbed, frightened to death, and fated to be destroyed. There is no place for Chechens, neither in Chechnya nor beyond its borders. They have been essentially robbed of state, political, social, and international protection. They have been robbed of the right to live. Only one right remains: to die in a hunger strike or during the Peace March at the Kremlin Walls.
We, Chechen refugees who are on a hunger strike intend to fully use this right.
In this letter, as a hunger strike participant and the elected Chair of the Peace March Steering Committee, I have been charged to appeal to citizens of the world, to Russian peace organizations, to the international peace community to collaborate in creating peace in the
Chechen Republic, through negotiations between the President of Russia Putin and the President of the Chechen Republic Maskhadov, to cease all hosilities, provide security to the civilians living in Chechnya.
In the course of our long and difficult journey we count on your active participation in helping the marchers. We would be happy to see you in the Peace March. May the Chechen tragedy unite us all forever in the struggle against war and violence-for Peace, Freedom, and Human Rights.
It would be only fair to note that the participants in the initial phase of the march will be refugees from Chechnya who are impoverished and semi-famished. Here we count on your help and understanding.
You can get in touch with us in Moscow via human rights organizations that are assisting the March and that have permanent contact with the organizing committee:
The Moscow Helsinki Group, Bolshoj Golovin Pereulok 22, str. 1. Tel. 207-60-69 Daniil Alexandrovich Meshcheryakov
The All-Russian Movement for Human Rights, Maly Kislovskij Pereulok 7. Tel. 291-62-33 Lev Alexandrovich Ponomarev
The Russian magazine, Human Rights and Freedom, Nizhegorodskaya ul. 21a. Tel. 271-07-59. Liubov Afrikanovna Bashinova.
Respectfully and looking forward to our collaboration,
Alexander Liuboslavski, the Russian magazine, Human Rights and Freedom
P.S. The organizers estimate that altogether $20,000 would be needed forthis whole march. If you can help in *any* way, including raising money, please let me or the organizers know. Thank you!