"Russian artists condemn war in Chechnya," Agence France Presse, International News Section (Monday, March 17, 2003):
Nearly 50 prominent figures of Russia's artistic elite joined in an appeal to Russia's authorities to halt the war in Chechnya and launch peace talks to end the longstanding conflict.
"The government must make the first step to reconciliation and begin talks. Rational, legal and humane reasons demand this, and Russian culture's humanist traditions must be the basis for state policy," said the appeal's signatories, who include chess master Garry Kasparov and writers Viktor Yerofeyev and Vladimir Voinovich among others.
Meanwhile, "though its condemnation of guerrillas' cruelty is just, Russia must renounce barbaric 'cleansing sweeps', torture, summary executions and other senseless acts that only add to extremist ranks," the statement added.