Negotiating visible and hidden agendas VICTOR KReMeNYUK
Since the ancient times, terrorism was a policy of opposition to the authorities, who used threats to life, health, and property of individuals as the main method of achieving their goals. In this capacity terrorism continues to exist in the present and its magnitude has only significantly increased due to the increase of the destructive capabilities of the human race. When we speak of terrorism, one major consideration should be kept in mind. It is one thing when terrorism appears in a society which gives all the chances to those who oppose the official policy or the policy supported by the majority – that is, in a democratic society. Democracy opens all the possibilities for the opposition to struggle in a constitutional and legal way against the policy it does not accept: creation of an opposition party, mass demonstrations and rallies, election campaigns, etc. It gives legal substance to these “anti-governmental” activities. And when in these conditions the opposition still prefers to use illegal and violent means it puts itself into the position of an outlaw with all the relevant consequences: police action, special units operations, military tribunals, and states of emergency. A totally different thing is when the authorities push the opposition into the extremes by refusing to give it a chance of a legitimate and legal means to protest against the existing order. In this case the use of violence by the opposition, though it meets the understandable criticism and disapproval of society, can be labeled as “illegal but legitimate.” The authority, through its inability (or unwillingness) to speak with the opposition, makes it violent and inclined to use terror. The history of nineteenth-century Russia testifies to this completely. It is important to emphasize this aspect because of its consequences for the state of authority and law. In one case, when terrorism develops in the conditions of democracy it is treated, and with good grounds, as an illegal and criminal activity, and, understandably, as a subject of a resolute suppression. In another case, under the conditions of non-democracy or weak democracy when the opposition is forced into “marginal” status it may receive sympathy and even compassion. Yes, it uses unacceptable means taking hostages, killing dignitaries and ordinary people, destroying public facilities (with the people inside or without), but it is forced into it by the conduct of the authority.