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  • Author: Lawrence Uzzell, Zaindi Choltaev
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: We left Sunzhensky district early in the morning, heading for Grozny from the west of Chechnya. After the turn to Assinovskaya, still not far from the Ingush border, we came upon engineering reconnaissance troops: Several tanks and military trucks, soldiers walking along the sides of the road. Civilian cars started to pile up behind us. Suddenly the soldiers stopped, squatted down, and aimed their machine guns and rifles at a spot in the field. So did the large caliber gun on the armed troop carrier. We heard an explosion. When the dust settled, our driver commented: “Those are just games. They put the explosives there themselves, and then they set them off.” I frequently heard similar talk. Many people in Chechnya have observed how the soldiers, in order to receive money and decorations, plant explosives and set up fake “battle situations.”
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Elections
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Chechnya
  • Author: Lawrence Uzzell
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: In a remarkably under reported statement, Russian President Vladimir Putin has apparently accused lower echelon U.S. government officials of meeting with known Chechen terrorists. On September 20, a few days before flying to the United States for his summit meeting with President George W. Bush, Putin met with several U.S. television journalists. Asked about Chechnya, the Russian president gave a long answer that mostly repeated points that he and his spokesmen have made before. But toward the end of his response he said the following (as translated by Chechnya Weekly from the text placed on the official website Kremlin.ru): “The United States has now voted in the Security Council in favor of recognizing several individuals as international terrorists. The State Department has announced that it has included several figures in its list of international terrorists. But unfortunately we know that on the executive level there are continuing attempts at contacts with some people under the pretense that what's happening is only work with the opposition. Even with people who are included on the United Nations list. These people come, say that they are 'political activists' and present them- selves in all sorts of guises. But I assure you, I know about this precisely—they are maintaining connections with their allies in Afghanistan, including those who have gone there from the Northern Caucasus of Russia and who are fighting with arms in their hands against American soldiers. Such absurdities on the working level must be stopped, the sooner the better.”
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, United States, Europe, Asia, Chechnya, North Caucasus
  • Author: Lawrence Uzzell
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Have Chechen separatist guerrillas been fighting against the United States and its allies in places such as Iraq or Afghanistan—and if so, how many have been captured or killed? The U.S. government has been strikingly passive in seeking to learn (or, at least, in publicly disclosing) the answer to that question. Chechnya Weekly began pressing for a precise, concrete answer months ago, but we have yet to get one from the White House, Pentagon, or State Department.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, United States, Iraq, Europe, Asia, Chechnya
  • Author: Lawrence Uzzell
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: In a surprising announcement, Khusein Dzhabrailov has with drawn his candidacy for the presidency of Chechnya. The Moscow businessman, who had managed to win such potent endorsements as those of Bislan Gantemirov and Ruslan Khasbulatov, failed to give any substantive explanation for his decision. As reported on September 2 by the Lenta.ru website, his office merely announced that he had “come to the conclusion that he can provide significantly greater service to society in his present role.”
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya, Moscow
  • Author: Lawrence Uzzell
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Pressure against Chechen refugees in Ingushetia has intensified further in recent days, Aleksandr Podrabinek of the newspaper Russky kurier reported on August 18. Hooligans are throwing rocks at the tents during the night, he wrote, and the tents are also being besieged at night by cars that honk their horns so that the refugees cannot sleep. The Kadyrov administration's prime minister, Anatoly Popov, who is now serving formally as “acting president” while Kadyrov pursues his own candidacy, told the news agency Interfax on August 13 that all of the tent camps for Chechen refugees in Ingushetia must be closed by October 1. That is just four days before the election.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya, Ingushetia
  • Author: Lawrence Uzzell
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Are the Russian authorities lying about the number of casualties caused by the August 1 bombing of the military hospital in Mozdok? According to the official figures, widely disseminated in the Russian and western media, fifty occupants of the hospital complex died and eighty-two were wounded. But the Moscow daily Kommersant has received conflicting versions regarding those figures from a source connected to the criminal-investigative team on the scene. According to this source, the hospital was filled to more than its planned capacity of 150 patients. Also, several tents had been deployed on its grounds, each containing an additional eight to sixteen people. The truck bomb that destroyed the hospital was so powerful that only one wall of the building was left standing and nearby buildings were also damaged.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya, Moscow
  • Author: Lawrence Uzzell
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: About 20 percent of the Kadyrov administration's gunmen are secretly loyal to the secessionist government of President Aslan Maskhadov, a key Maskhadov representative claimed during a visit to Washington last week. Salambek Maigov, Maskhadov's emissary in Moscow, told Chechnya Weekly that former rebel guerrillas constitute the majority of Kadyrov's ostensibly “pro-Moscow” militia. Many of those not now in contact with the rebels, he insisted, “would fight for us if we were to attack Grozny again,” as in 1996.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Washington, Asia, Chechnya, Moscow
  • Author: Lawrence Uzzell
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Russian President Vladimir Putin's amnesty proposal, which last week received preliminary approval from the federal Duma, is intended in large part to serve the same purpose as his March constitutional referendum. That is to create the impression that peace, reconciliation and the rule of law are returning to Chechnya, with the support of all but a few separatist fanatics. But compared to the referendum, the amnesty has a key disadvantage: Most (though not all) of the key issues involve the proposed legislation's formal text, not the largely hidden process by which that text will be put into practice. Ever since the president formally presented his proposal to the Russian parliament on May 12, skeptics have subjected it to withering criticism—most of the specific points of which Putin and his circle have not even seriously tried to address.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya
  • Author: Lawrence Uzzell
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: In some few respects—indeed, fewer even than a year ago— Shamil Basaev remains a traditional Chechen rebel rather than a postmodern global terrorist. For one, he takes full, public and personal responsibility for his atrocities. That fact alone casts doubt on the Kremlin's attempts to create the impression that the Chechen separatist movement (of which Basaev in any case represents only a part) is simply an arm of al Qaeda. Another difference is that Basaev has not followed al Qaeda's recent switch to soft targets. A pair of mid-May attacks, which Basaev publicly claimed as his own on May 19, were directed against two of the most heavily defended entities in hyper-militarized Chechnya—a key regional headquarters of the Federal Security Service (FSB) secret police, and the person of the head of the republic's Moscow- appointed administration.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Moscow
  • Author: Lawrence Uzzell
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Reversal on voting rights for Chechen refugees? In an apparent reversal, the head of the Moscow-appointed Chechen government told a Grozny press conference on February 25 that only voters physically present in Chechnya will be allowed to cast ballots in next month's constitutional referendum. Akhmad Kadyrov said that no polling stations would be open outside Chechnya's boundaries. He thus seemed to be indicating that tens of thousands of Chechen refugees in neighboring Ingushetia will be able to vote only if they return to war torn Chechnya. A report by the Russian news agency Novosti said that “according to Mr. Kadyrov, all wishing to vote can come to Chechnya and vote there.” If the Novosti report is accurate, it means that Kadyrov has broken his recent pledge to the visiting human rights commissioner of the Council of Europe. He had announced his support of the March referendum after Kadyrov assured him that the refugees in Ingushetia would be allowed to take part.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe