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  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Gadzhi Abashilov, the head of GTRK Dagestan, the Dagestani affiliate of Russia's state television and radio company, was killed in a drive-by shooting as he traveled home from work in Dagestan's capital, Makhachkala, on March 21. His driver was seriously injured in the attack. Just hours earlier, Ilyas Shurpaev, a Dagestan-born journalist who covered the North Caucasus for state television's Channel One, was found stabbed and strangled in his Moscow apartment after a neighbor reported a fire in the apartment. Russian news reports quoted investigators as saying that the perpetrators had set fire to the apartment in an attempt to conceal the crime.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Development
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, North Caucasus
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: The campaign to gather signatures on a petition calling for the return of Ruslan Aushev as Ingushetia's president has been completed. According to the opposition Ingushetiya.ru website, leaders of the opposition to Ingushestia's current president, Murat Zyazikov, said during a press conference in Moscow on July 10 that a total of 105,000 signatures had been gathered, out of which 80,000 had been forwarded to the federal authorities in Moscow. According to the opposition leaders, an additional 25,000 signatures were seized by members of the anti-organized crime directorate (UBOP) of Ingushetia's Interior Ministry during a raid.
  • Political Geography: Moscow, North Caucasus, Ingushetia
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Unidentified attackers wounded a policeman in a drive-by shooting in the Chechen town of Vedeno on July 16, Kavkazky Uzel reported. The gunmen shot the policeman, who was guarding a building housing a branch of the Russian Pension Fund, from a Zhiguli automobile and managed to get away, a Chechen police source told the website. Also on July 16, militants ambushed local police in the Shatoi district settlement of Musolt-Yurt, killing one policeman and wounding three, Itar-Tass reported, quoting a Chechen law-enforcement source. A group of Defense Ministry servicemen conducting a reconnaissance-engineering mission near the town of Shali hit a landmine on the roadside of the Agishty-Shali highway on July 15. One of the servicemen was injured. On July 14, unidentified gunmen driving in a Lada car fired automatic weapons at a car carrying two federal Interior Ministry officers in the Tersk Mountains in Chechnya's Groznensky district. The two officers—a colonel and a warrant officer—were severely wounded in the attack. On July 11, militants detonated a powerful explosive device in the path of a column of military vehicles in Chechnya's Shali district. The blast killed an officer from a unit of Interior Ministry Internal troops and wounded two contract servicemen.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Chechnya, North Caucasus
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Speaking during a government meeting in Grozny on July 19, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov demanded that the heads of power and law-enforcement organs strictly follow the law in using land and installations in Chechnya. “The Chechen Republic is a full-fledged subject of the Russian Federation; the constitution and other laws of Russia and the Chechen Republic function here,” Newsru.com quoted him as saying. “And I am firmly convinced that not only the civilian authorities, but also the military command of units and sub-units deployed in the republic are also strictly obligated to observe them.”
  • Political Geography: Russia, Chechnya, North Caucasus
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov on July 30 denied reports that he had been the target of an assassination attempt. “Those rumors are being generated either by the Wahhabis themselves or provocateurs straining for cheap sensationalism,” Gazeta.ru quoted Kadyrov as saying during a meeting with Chechnya's education and science minister, Anzor Muzaev. The Chechen president insisted that the situation in the republic is peaceful and stable. “Naturally, there is a circle of persons whom this [situation] doesn't suit,” he said. “This sort of verbiage has only one goal—to destabilize the situation in the region. These provocative fantasies are engendered by ideologists of the extremists and their henchmen. Jackals who don't have the guts to go into the woods themselves.” The Chechen president's press service also denied that there had been an attempt on Kadyrov's life, calling the reports “provocations aimed against the Chechen Republic and its president.”
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, North Caucasus
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Ruslan Yamadaev, the older brother of Vostok (East) battalion commander Sulim Yamadaev and former State Duma deputy who received a Hero of Russia award in August 2004 from then President Vladimir Putin, was shot to death in central Moscow on September 24. As is typically the case with high-profile murders in Russia, Yamadaev's killing has sparked a flurry of competing theories as to who was behind the deed.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Moscow, North Caucasus
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliev removed Musa Medov as Ingushetia's interior minister on November 24. Medov, along with Murat Zyazikov, who was removed as Ingushetia's president late last month (North Caucasus Weekly, October 30), were accused by the republic's opposition party of involvement in the August 31 murder of Magomed Yevloev, founder of the independent Ingushetiya.ru website (North Caucasus Weekly, September 5). Ingushetiya.ru's successor website, Ingushetia.org, reported on November 25 that Medov has been replaced by Colonel Ruslan Meiriev, a former employee of the police department in the Siberian town of Nizhnevartovsk. Newsru.com on November 25 quoted sources in the federal Interior Ministry as saying that Medov had been given a job in the ministry's apparatus in Moscow—which is in effect a promotion. The website reported that Meiriev had been introduced to the staff of Ingush President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov and Deputy Russian Interior Minister Colonel-General Arkady Yedelev.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Moscow, North Caucasus, Ingushetia
  • Author: Andrew McGregor
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: The Kremlin on September 18 asked the State Duma to approve an amnesty plan for militants in Chechnya and other republics of the North Caucasus. The Associated Press, citing Itar-Tass, quoted the chairman of the Duma committee on criminal legislation, Pavel Krasheninnikov, as saying that the Kremlin's amnesty would remain in effect for six months after its approval by parliament and would also apply to Russian servicemen suspected of committing crimes while serving in Chechnya and other republics in the North Caucasus. Interfax quoted Krasheninnikov as saying that the amnesty would not apply to “recidivists, foreigners or persons without citizenship,” or to Russian servicemen who sold weapons, ammunition or other military equipment while serving in the “counter-terrorist” operation in the North Caucasus. The Duma is scheduled to take up the Kremlin's amnesty plan on September 22.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Chechnya, North Caucasus
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Russian and Chechen officials alike continued to discuss the offer of amnesty that the federal authorities offered to the rebels in Chechnya and the North Caucasus in the wake of the death of Chechen rebel warlord Shamil Basaev. On August 1, Interfax reported that President Vladimir Putin praised the initiative during a meeting with members of his cabinet. “By all appearances, the decision to possibly grant amnesty to the people who were members of illegal armed groups was right,” Putin said. He added, however, in a comment directed to Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliev that “the work against those who continue their illegal activities should be stepped up.” Putin said that he had instructed Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Nikolai Patrushev, who also heads the National Anti-Terrorism Committee (NAK) and first floated the amnesty offer on July 15 (Chechnya Weekly, July 20), “to listen to proposals from the ministries and the other agencies at the next major Anti-Terrorism Committee meeting regarding plans to provide security in both the Chechen Republic and the North Caucasus as a whole.” According to Interfax, Putin asked how many people had laid down their arms since the amnesty was offered, and Nurgaliev responded that over 70 people had done so during the previous few days, with 12 people surrendering on July 29, seven on July 30 and ten on July 31. “This is happening not only in Chechnya and Dagestan, but also in other regions and republics in the Southern Federal District,” Nurgaliev said.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Chechnya, North Caucasus
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: The death of Chechen rebel warlord Shamil Basaev (Chechnya Weekly, July 14) and Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Nikolai Patrushev's offer of amnesty to Chechnya's rebels (Chechnya Weekly, July 20) have been followed by a number of optimistic statements from federal and Chechen officials about the progress made against insurgents in Chechnya and the North Caucasus. On July 24, Interfax quoted Chechnya's chief prosecutor, Valery Kuznetsov, as claiming that 46 rebels had surrendered since the start of July. On July 26, Caucasus Times quoted Chechen law-enforcement agencies as saying that 50 members of “illegal armed formations” had given themselves up since the start of July, with the largest group of these fighters personally surrendering to Chechen Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov in Gudermes. Federal Deputy Interior Minister Arkady Yedelev said on July 26 that the total number of “illegal armed formation” members in the Southern Federal District today does not exceed 800, down from the earlier number of 1,200-1,800. On July 18, Kadyrov told the board of the Chechen Interior Ministry that only 50 active rebels remain in Chechnya, with part-time rebels and rebel sympathizers numbering only 200-300. Kadyrov said that he believed that there would be “good results” by August 1, the deadline for Patrushev's amnesty offer. “There was a den of the enemy in the republic; there were many visiting militants—Turks, Arabs, Azerbaijanis, Ingush, Dagestanis,” Itar-Tass quoted him as saying. “I think those remaining will come to us.” If not, Kadyrov added, they would face heavy sentences or “liquidation.”
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Law
  • Political Geography: Russia, Chechnya, North Caucasus
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: The circumstances surrounding the July 10 death in Ingushetia of Shamil Basaev, the Chechen rebel military commander and recently appointed vice president of the separatist Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (ChRI), remain murky. At 9:45 AM (Moscow time) that day, Interfax quoted “a source in Ingushetia's law enforcement services” as saying that four militants had been killed in a “self-induced blast” during “a sweep operation” in the village of Ekazhevo, located in Ingushetia's Nazran district. The source told the news agency that the rebels “were in two cars parked nearby” a KamAz truck that blew up, while Ingushetia's Security Department told Interfax that the militants were inside the truck itself when it exploded. “The incident occurred at about midnight,” the news agency quoted the department as saying. “The bodies of four militants were discovered at the scene of the explosion.” A Security Department spokesman said that two bodies were identified as those of rebel “warlords” Tarkhan Ganizhev and Isa Kushtov. According to the department, the truck had been filled with weapons, ammunition and explosive substances that Basaev and his associates had intended to use for “high-impact subversive and terror attacks in the North Caucasus.” The Interfax report concluded: “The blast is believed to have been caused by careless handling of ammunition and explosive substances.” Likewise, the Regnum news agency, citing Itar-Tass, quoted Ingushetia's Federal Security Service (FSB) branch as saying that the massive blast, which had the force of 100 kilograms of TNT, was the result of “careless handling of ammunition and explosive substances.”
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Chechnya, North Caucasus, Ingushetia
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: The situation in Chechnya and the North Caucasus was among the subjects that President Vladimir Putin addressed during his January 31 Kremlin press conference. "I think that it is possible to talk about the end of the counter-terrorist operation since Chechnya's law enforcement agencies will, in practice, take upon themselves the basic responsibility for law enforcement in the Republic," the Kremlin's website quoted Putin as saying in answer to a question from a Chechen newspaper reporter about whether the military operation in Chechnya could be considered over. "All bodies of state power have been created in the Chechen Republic; I have already spoken about this and you are well aware of it. This means that the law enforcement agencies can and will get stronger—the office of the public prosecutor, courts, lawyers, notaries and, of course, the Interior Ministry of the Chechen Republic. In the aggregate, I hope, I am confident, that all of this together will result in further stabilization."
  • Topic: Security, Civil War, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya, North Caucasus
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Russian media have been reporting over the past week that large-scale security operations are continuing in Kabardino-Balkaria and elsewhere in the North Caucasus following the October 13 rebel attacks in Nalchik. Gazeta reported on October 26 that Ramazan Tembotov, a local legislator from the village of Khasnya in Nalchik's suburbs and a member of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, was arrested without explanation on October 23 and taken to the headquarters of RUBOP, the anti-organized crime directorate, in Nalchik. "People in masks came flying in, they [treated me] like a criminal, with obscene language. It is a disgrace for me—after all, the treatment of a deputy is special, like [the treatment of] an attorney; everyone knows me in the village," Tembotov told the newspaper. "I, unlike others, was not beaten: they lead me around the rooms, the cellars, and showed what they were doing to other detainees: they were torturing people like the Gestapo. No lawyers, no interrogations—simply beating to death, until they confessed or pointed to others." Tembotov said that the police personnel displayed particular animosity toward anything connected to Islam. He was released on October 24, the day after his detention, and told Gazeta that he thought the only thing that saved him was a telephone call he had managed to make to an acquaintance who works for the Federal Security Service.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Islam
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya, North Caucasus
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: President Vladimir Putin's special adviser on the North Caucasus region, Aslambek Aslakhanov, told a news conference in Moscow on April 4 that neither the Chechen authorities nor the law-enforcement bodies nor human rights activists know how many people have been kidnapped in Chechnya. “It is a mystery because all those who are involved in kidnappings behave in the same way,” Itar-Tass quoted him as saying. “They wear the same uniforms, they act in the same way, [and] some of them have armored vehicles.” According to the news agency, Aslakhanov did not rule out that members of federal structures operating in the republic and of local power-wielding forces might be involved in kidnappings, and added that ransom might be one of the motives for the abductions. Still, he ins isted that the number of kidnappings has been dropping.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Chechnya, Moscow, North Caucasus
  • Author: Mayrbek Vachagaev, Paul Tumelty, Lawrence Uzzell
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Press reports and official statements concerning the circumstances of Aslan Maskhadov's death, far from clearing things up, made them even murkier. In his May 8, Ilya Shabalkin, spokesman for the federal forces in the North Caucasus, said the rebel leader had been killed when security forces used explosives to penetrate the bunker beneath a house in the village of Tolstoi-Yurt in which Maskhadov was hiding with three associates. Chechen First Deputy Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov, meanwhile, claimed that Maskhadov was killed when a bodyguard who was next to him in the cramped bunker “carelessly handled his gun.” Kadyrov also claimed that those who took part in the operation against Maskhadov had planned to take him prisoner, not to kill him. The following day, however, Kommersant quoted Chechen Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov as saying that Maskahdov was killed when commandos tossed grenades into the bunker after Maskhadov refused to surrender. On March 10, Izvestia quoted Kadyrov as saying that he had been “joking” when he said that Maskhadov was accidentally shot and killed by his own bodyguard. Kadyrov, however, refused to discuss exactly how Maskhadov was killed. Meanwhile, the Rossia state television on March 13 broadcast an interview with a Federal Security Service (FSB) commando who participated in the operation against Maskhadov, who said that commandos did not negotiate with the rebel leader before blowing up his bunker because he was wearing a suicide bomber's belt and they assumed he would not surrender.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya, Georgia, North Caucasus
  • 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