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  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Kommersant reported on October 25 that investigators believe former officers of an Interior Ministry unit from Siberia's Khanty-Mansiisk Autonomous Okrug, which had been deployed in Chechnya, were involved in the October 7 murder of Novaya gazeta correspondent Anna Politkovskaya (Chechnya Weekly, October 12). Politkovskaya published an article in September 2001 accusing officers from the regional Department of Internal Affairs (UVD) in the city of Nizhnevartovsk of committing various human rights abuses while stationed in Chechnya. In particular, she accused Sergei Lapin, a senior lieutenant from the Nizhnevartovsk UVD's criminal investigation department, known by his nickname “Kadet,” along with two of his superiors, Major Aleksandr Prilepin and Colonel Valery Minin, of complicity in the January 2001 abduction and murder of Grozny resident Zelimkhan Murdalov. In subsequent articles, she accused these and other members of the Nizhnevartovsk unit of murdering a number of other Chechen civilians. Novaya gazeta subsequently received an email death threat signed by “Kadet” and Politkovskaya fled to Austria for a time (The Monitor, October 18, 2001).
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Chechnya
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: As was the case with the dozens of other murders of journalists in Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union, the murder of Anna Politkovskaya on October 7 has been followed by much speculation about the identity of those who ordered the investigative journalist's murder and their motives for doing so. Sadly, given how few of these cases have been solved, the theories are likely to remain unconfirmed indefinitely.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Soviet Union, Chechnya
  • 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: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: A shootout on September 13 between a group of armed Chechen OMON police commandos and Ingush police manning a traffic police post on the Chechen-Ingush administrative border resulted in the deaths of seven people–one Ingush police and six Chechen OMON. Among the victims was the Chechen OMON's chief of staff, Buvadi Dukhiev, who was shot and severely wounded after he arrived on the scene of the battle and tried to convince both sides to stand down. Dukhiev died later in the hospital. Ten Ingush and 11 Chechen policemen were wounded in the battle, Interfax reported.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Chechnya
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Many observers have been predicting that Ramzan Kadyrov will assume the Chechen Republic's presidency soon, after he reaches the constitutionally-mandated minimum age of 30 on October 5. On August 10, for example, Kommersant quoted Frants Klintsevich, deputy chairman of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party's faction in the State Duma, as saying he had no doubts that Kadyrov, who is currently Chechnya's prime minister, would become Chechnya's president this fall. Other observers, however, have begun to express doubts about whether Kadyrov will become Chechnya's president, at least in the near term.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Chechnya
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: On August 10, an attempt was made on the life of Ingushetia's Nazran district prosecutor, Girkhan Khazbiev. According to Newsru.com, a bomb went off at Khazbiev's house in Nazran's Oltievo municipal district at about 1 AM, Moscow time, after which he and members of his family went outside to see what had happened. At that moment, a second blast occurred. Khazbiev was not hurt in the attack, but his 27-year-old younger brother, Adam Khazbiev, was killed, and 13 other people, including other relatives of Khazbiev and people from neighboring homes, were injured. According to investigators, following the detonation of the two improvised explosive devices unidentified attackers tossed four hand grenades that exploded in and around the yard of Khazbiev's house. Those injured in the attack had shrapnel wounds, and four of the 13 people injured were reported to be in grave condition.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Chechnya
  • 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: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: On June 27, the Chechen separatist Daymohk published two decrees by Dokku Umarov, the new leader of the separatist movement and president of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (ChRI). One decree removed Abdallakh Shamil Abu-Idris, a.k.a. Shamil Basaev, from the post of first deputy chairman of the ChRI Cabinet of Ministers (i.e., ChRI first deputy prime minister), while the other appointed him ChRI Vice-President, the same post Umarov held up until the death of the previous separatist leader and ChRI president, Abdul-Khalim Sadulaev, on June 17 (Chechnya Weekly, June 22).
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Chechnya
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: The death of Chechen separatist leader Abdul-Khalim Sadulaev was first announced by Chechen government officials on June 17. Interfax quoted Chechen government minister Muslim Khuchiev as saying that Sadulaev was killed in a special operation in the city of Argun—Sadulaev's hometown— when members of the Chechen Interior Ministry's Akhmad Kadyrov special task regiment and the Argun police, acting on "operational information," established Sadulaev's location and killed him when he put up armed resistance. "At the moment we have no doubts about the fact that Saidulaev has really been liquidated," Interfax quoted Argun Police Chief Ali Tagirov as saying. "We are located next to his body; it has been identified by people who knew him very well." (The rebel leader was referred to as "Saidulaev" rather than "Sadulaev" in most reports about his death by Chechen government officials and Russian news agencies.) Tagirov added that a hostage was freed during the operation. "Two militants from among Saidulaev's bodyguards took a hostage with them and tried to use him as cover, however during the course of the armed clash police managed to liberate him." He said that a policeman and a Federal Security Service (FSB) officer were killed in the shoot-out, but that the hostage was unharmed. Tagirov refused to identify the hostage, but gave a few other details about the operation. "The operation was carried out in the residential area on Ulitsa Svobody," where Sadulaev and his associates were discovered in a private home, he said. That part of Argun is known as the "Indian Hamlet." Tagirov said that a search was underway for the two rebel bodyguards.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Chechnya
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: The violence in Ingushetia spiraled upward another notch on June 9, when gunmen fired on an SUV carrying Musa Nalgiev, the commander of the republic's OMON special police, killing him along with three of his children, a bodyguard, and a driver. Russian and Western news agencies reported that the attack occurred in the town of Karabulak when gunmen first blocked Nalgiev's car with their own car and then opened fire with automatic weapons. Nalgiev was reportedly taking his children, who ranged in age from 2 to 6, to kindergarten. Kommersant reported on June 12 that Nalgiev's wife and teenage son were also in the car at the time of the attack, and that a moment before his death, a mortally-wounded Nalgiev yelled at the three attackers: "I am here! Don't fire on the car, scum, there are children there!" According to the newspaper, the gunmen fired until they were out of ammunition, reloaded their weapons, after which one of them opened the door of the car next to where the three children were sitting and shot at them until he ran out of ammo. Kommersant reported that investigators found 120 shell casings at the murder scene, but after running forensic tests on them found that the assault rifles from which they were fired had not been used in other crimes. In addition, the attackers left no cigarette butts, hair, or pieces of clothing at the scene that could be used track them down.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Chechnya, Ingushetia
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Memorial has published a report about a secret Interior Ministry prison in Grozny where, according to the human rights group, people were tortured and killed. According to the report, which was posted on Memorial's website (Memo.ru) on June 5, at the end May Memorial staffers were able to enter a now-empty building in the center of the Chechen capital that had until recently housed an operational group of the federal Interior Ministry in Grozny's Oktyabrsky district. From 2000 to 2003, the building had housed the Temporary Department of Internal Affairs (VOVD) of the Oktyabrsky district. Based on abundant evidence found there by Memorial staffers, the report stated: "Detained and arrested people were tortured in the Oktyabrsky district VOVD. Many of the people taken there disappeared without a trace."
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Russia, Chechnya
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Four federal Interior Ministry troops were killed and three wounded in an ambush by rebel fighters in Chechnya's Vedeno on May 24, Russian and Western news agencies reported. According to the online journal Gazeta, a Russian Interior Ministry unit was ambushed near the settlement of Eshilkhatoi in central Vedeno district at around 11:30 PM local time on May 23 (Gazeta, May 25). The unit was reportedly searching for a group of 15-20 suspected militants spotted in the region earlier that day. The three wounded servicemen, including one major, were first treated at the Khankala base outside Grozny and later at the Russian military base at Mozdok, North Ossetia, from where they were flown to the Internal Troops' Central Military Clinical Hospital in the city of Balashikha outside Moscow. Additional units were deployed to block off the area where the ambush occurred, with troops actively searching for the attackers. As Gazeta noted, however, past experience shows that the perpetrators of such attacks are apprehended "extremely rarely." "They often simply dissolve among the inhabitants of local villages," the website observed. "Furthermore, the extremists are better familiarized with the locality and know all of the forest and mountain trails. We would also note that the Vedeno district is considered to be Shamil Basaev's ancestral lands."
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Chechnya, Moscow
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: A roadside bomb detonated on the outskirts of Nazran, Ingushetia, on May 17, killing Ingushetian Deputy Interior Minister Dzhabrail Kostoev, his two bodyguards and four civilians. Kavkazky Uzel and the Associated Press reported on May 17 that the incident took place in the Nasyr-Kortovsky municipal district when a parked car exploded next to a passing convoy that included Kostoev's vehicle. Kommersant reported on May 18 that Kostoev was on his way to work from his home in the village Ekazhevo in Nazran's suburbs and that the bomb in the parked VAZ-2109 detonated just after the convoy, which included Kostoev's armored Chevrolet jeep and two accompanying Volgas, crossed a bridge over a small river known locally as Nazranovka. According to the newspaper, the blast took place at the precise moment that Kostoev's jeep was passing the VAZ-2109. "The blast hurled the jeep forward and to the left, onto the median strip, around 25 meters, and at that time a Zhiguli… with four construction workers inside who were driving to work, came toward it. The jeep flew into the Zhiguli, the [collision] was very strong, the gas tank caught fire and both cars blew up," Ingushetian Interior Ministry press secretary Nazir Yevloev told the newspaper, adding that the passengers in both cars died immediately. According to Kommersant, virtually nothing remained of the VAZ-2109 that contained the explosives or the Zhiguli that was hit by Kostoev's jeep. The explosion left the jeep a burned-out shell. Ingushetia's chief prosecutor, Makhmud-Ali Kalimatov, told Kommersant that the force of the blast equaled roughly 100 kilograms of TNT.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya, Ingushetia
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: The speaker of Chechnya's parliament has called for the unification of Chechnya and Ingushetia—and, possibly, Dagestan. In an interview with Interfax on April 24, Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov called the liquidation of the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Republic in June 1992 a historical mistake. "I am firmly convinced that it was a gross historical mistake made for the sake of the ambitious mercenary interests of individual politicians of Checheno-Ingushetia and the then-ruling elite of Moscow," he told the news agency. Reunification, he said, would "forever extirpate possible centers of tension" and effectively resolve the lingering dispute over the administrative border between Chechnya and Ingushetia and jurisdiction over the Sunzhensky district, through which that administrative border passes.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya, Moscow, Ingushetia, Dagestan
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Chechen President Alu Alkhanov said on April 10 that 14 people have been abducted since the beginning of the year, Interfax reported. "Unfortunately, the problem of kidnappings has not been fully resolved but the rate of registered abductions has shrunk," Alkhanov said at a meeting with a visiting United Nations delegation headed by UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. "Seventy people were kidnapped over the same period last year. The entire human rights community recognizes the positive trend in matters related to human rights and abductions. Statistically the crime rate in Chechnya is below the Russian average."
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: The Chechen separatist Daymohk website on April 3 published an address by Abdul-Khalim Sadulaev. The Chechen rebel president claimed his forces had destroyed "dozens of pieces of enemy equipment" on "all fronts of the war" this winter. "The most odious figures in the camp of the national traitors, who were decorated with medals and crosses by their bosses, have also been liquidated," Sadulaev said. "God has helped us to defeat them. The greatest successes have been achieved in Dagestan where the traitors' leaders have been wiped out. Successful combat operations are also being waged in Karachaevo-Cherkessia, although not so actively as in the main areas of the mujahideen's attacks in Ingushetia, Chechnya, Kabardino-Balkaria and Adygeya."
  • Topic: Security, Civil War, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Chechnya, Ingushetia, Kabardino
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Leonid Roshal, the Moscow pediatrician sought out by the Beslan hostage-takers as a negotiator and who was awarded by the Russian government for his assistance during the October 2002 Dubrovka theater hostage crisis, said on March 27 that he disagrees with the official explanation for the mass illness of children in Chechnya during the last several months—a nervous disorder—and believes instead that it was caused by poisoning.
  • Topic: Security, Civil War, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya, Moscow
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Chechen Labor and Social Development Minister Magomed Vakhaev on March 22 called for a series of amendments to the republic's constitution, including changing the age requirement for the Chechen president. "In the Constitution of the Chechen Republic there are quite a few norms, provisions, which require substantial editorial correcting," Vakhaev said at a ceremony marking the third anniversary of the constitution's adoption, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on March 23. "According to the constitution in force, a person who has reached the age of 30 can become president. It seems to us that this requirement is not based on anything and needs to be repealed." Many "contradictions" that "slipped into" the constitution need to be "eliminated," Vakhaev said.
  • Topic: Security, Civil War, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Chechnya's parliament unanimously confirmed Ramzan Kadyrov as the republic's prime minister on March 4, two days after Chechen President Alu Alkhanov nominated him to replace Sergei Abramov, who resigned in late February. Kadyrov had been serving as acting prime minister since Abramov was in a car accident last November (see Chechnya Weekly, March 6).
  • Topic: Security, Civil War, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Chechen President Alu Alkhanov said on March 1 that he had accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Sergei Abramov and would name his successor later in the week, the Associated Press reported. Alkhanov first announced Abramov's resignation in a Moscow press conference on February 28, saying that Abramov, who was injured in a car accident in November, was stepping down for health reasons. Abramov, however, denied he was quitting due to poor health, saying instead that he was stepping down to make way for Ramzan Kadyrov, who has been serving as acting prime minister since Abramov's accident. Moreove, while Alkhanov said a successor would be named later in the week, the speaker of the lower house of Chechnya's parliament, Dukuvakha Abdurakhmanov, was all but unequivocal that Kadyrov would become the new prime minister. "I can responsibly state that at the moment there is no more suitable a candidate for the post of Chechen prime minister than Ramzan Kadyrov," gazeta.ru on February 28 quoted Abdurakhmanov as saying. "The People's Assembly [the lower house of Chechnya's parliament] unconditionally supports this candidacy upon its submission by the Chechen president for consideration." According to gazeta.ru, Abdurakhmanov indicated he had no doubt Alkhanov would nominate Kadyrov, who, he said, "has proved that he is not only a warrior but a quickly growing politician capable of solving the most difficult tasks."
  • Topic: Security, Civil War, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya, Moscow
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Responding to the controversy surrounding a Danish newspaper's publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammed, acting Chechen Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov announced to journalists in Moscow that Chechnya would not admit "anything that comes out of Denmark"—including non-governmental organizations.
  • Topic: Security, Civil War, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya, Moscow, Denmark
  • 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: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: On January 25, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) passed a resolution on the human rights situation in Chechnya. According to PACE's website (assembly.coe.int), the resolution, which passed by a vote of 117 to 24, stated that the Strasbourg-based assembly "is deeply concerned that a fair number of governments, member states and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe have failed to address the ongoing serious human rights violations in a regular, serious and intensive manner, despite the fact that such violations still occur on a massive scale in the Chechen Republic and, in some cases, neighboring regions in a climate of impunity." The assembly also reiterated its "unambiguous condemnation of all acts of terrorism" and expressed "its understanding of the difficulties the Russian Federation faces in combating terrorism."
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Government, Human Rights, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya
  • 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: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Rebels in Kabardino-Balkaria on October 13 tried to seize all of the buildings of the republic's power structures in the capital, Nalchik. The attack was carried out by large group of what the authorities called "religious extremist-Wahhabis." According to official estimates, 150-300 rebels were involved the attack. Kavkazky Uzel website reported, however, that up to 600 were involved in the raid. The separatist Daymohk website reported that the raid was carried out by "mujahideen" of the "Caucasus Front." As newsru.com noted, the "Caucasus Front" was established along with five others_the Dagestani, Eastern, Western, Northern, and Grozny fronts_on the orders of Chechen separatist leader Abdul- Khalim Sadulaev.
  • Topic: Security, Civil War, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Caucasus, Chechnya, Kabardino
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: President Vladimir Putin took several questions from residents of Chechnya in a live link-up from Grozny during his nationally televised three-hour call-in show on September 27. As the Moscow Times reported the following day, a woman told Putin her son had disappeared without a trace after being abducted four years ago and that thousands of people in Chechnya were in a similar situation. "We will continue work to search for both disappeared people and those who are guilty of these crimes," newsru.com quoted Putin as saying. The problem, he said, is linked to the fact that the problem of security has not been resolved fully, adding that it is sometimes impossible to determine whether abductions have been carried by disguised "bandits" or are "abuses by official law-enforcement organs." Dozens of criminal cases, including those targeting officials and federal servicemen, have been launched in connection with kidnappings in Chechnya, Putin said. "The main solution to the problem is political regularization in Chechnya, bringing in the largest number of people in the process of this regularization," he said, adding: "I attach very great importance to the upcoming parliamentary elections in Chechnya…It seems to me that people with the most varied political convictions should appear there [in parliament], so that all divisive issues are resolved openly, in a civilized manner, in a political process, and not through the use of force."
  • Topic: Security, Civil War, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: An officer in Chechnya's Anti-Terrorist Center was killed and three Chechen policemen were wounded on September 20 when rebels fired on three police vehicles outside the Shelkovsky district village of Krasny Voskhod, Interfax and Kavkazky Uzel reported on September 21. Rebels also severely wounded a policeman in Grozny's Staropromyslovsky district. "The attack was carried out near the district court by three unidentified assailants," a source told Interfax. "The policeman was hospitalized." RIA Novosti reported on September 20 that two policemen and a Federal Security Service (FSB) officer had been injured the previous day when the UAZ vehicle in which they were traveling hit a land mine near the town of Shali. According to the news agency, the mine exploded with a force equivalent to one kilogram of TNT. Separately, unidentified attackers fired shots at police officers on patrol in Borozdinovskaya on September 19, injuring one police officer. A Chechen law-enforcement source told Interfax that one policeman was wounded and hospitalized. Borozdinovskaya is the village from which eleven residents disappeared during a June raid allegedly carried out by Russian military intelligence's Vostok battalion. Also on September 19, a remand prison belonging to the Chechen narcotics control directorate in Grozny's Leninsky district came under fire from assault rifles and grenade launchers. According to Interfax, no one was injured in the attack and law-enforcers returned fire. Meanwhile, law-enforcers detained four militants in the Shali district village of Novye Atagi in connection with an August attack on a car carrying district police officers, which killed one policeman and wounded another.
  • Topic: Security, Civil War, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Chechen State Council Chairman Taus Dzhabrailov raised eyebrows on August 15, when he told journalists that the two wars in Chechnya have killed about 160,000 combatants and civilians, 30,000-40,000 of them Chechen fighters and civilians. He said that the remaining victims were "representatives of various ethnic groups," but that the vast majority of these were Russians, Novye izvestia reported on August 16. Agence France-Presse noted that a large portion of the 400,000-450,000 people who lived in Grozny before the first war were ethnic Russian and that the city was devastated by Russian air and artillery bombardments in 1995 that caused massive civilian casualties. "They never thought they would have bombs dropped on their heads or be shot at by heavy weapons," the news agency quoted Dzhabrailov as saying. Izvestia, meanwhile, reported him as saying that "the figures I have quoted are compiled by collecting together information about all the losses in the republic in the last fifteen years. We obtained information from all those involved: the military, the Interior Ministry, and the districts. Our data for the Ichkeria period are based on official documents that I obtained from the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria Ministry of Internal Affairs when I was an employee of the republican mufti's press service. The losses at that time were no smaller than they are now or were during the counter-terrorist operation."
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, France, Chechnya
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: The Council of Muftis of the Chechen Republic on August 4 officially declared a jihad against "Wahhabism." Interfax quoted Chechen Mufti Sultan Mirzaev as telling journalists that the decision had been announced during a meeting between representatives of the clergy and law-enforcement agencies in the village of Tsentoroi, which is the home village of the Kadyrov clan. Mirzaev said it was the largest such meeting since the death of Akhmad Kadyrov in May 2004. "Wahhabism is the plague of the 20th and the 21st centuries," he said. "All Arabic scholars have come to be unanimous that those fighting against Wahhabism are on the path of jihad, following the way of Allah." Wahhabis and terrorists, he said, "are bringing evil into the world and the entire world must oppose them. We adopted an official fatwa (a religious ruling in Islam – Interfax), so that those fighting terrorism and Wahhabism have no doubt that their cause is just. We have declared war on these phenomena. Those killing innocent people must be either stopped or put behind bars or exterminated. This has to be done by whatever method. Our fatwa is that those who have shed blood, those who do not want to stop must be killed by any method." Mirzaev said rebels had killed sixteen district imams in Chechnya and that he himself had been "seriously wounded" in a rebel attack. "Should I remain silent about this?" he said. "If it becomes necessary, I will take up arms and I am ready to fight against them."
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: The airing by ABC News' "Nightline" of excerpts of journalist Andrei Babitsky's interview with Chechen rebel warlord Shamil Basaev caused an uproar in Russia that has yet to subside. In the excerpts, which "Nightline" broadcast on July 28, Basaev refused to take responsibility for the death of more than 150 children at Beslan's School No. 1 in September 2004. Asked by Babitsky whether he felt responsibility for their deaths, "perhaps sharing this responsibility with Putin," Basaev responded: "Why should I share it with Putin? Officially, over 40,000 of our children have been killed and tens of thousands mutilated. Is anyone saying anything about that?" Pressed by Babitsky about whether he really held the Beslan children responsible for that, Basaev continued: "It's not the children who are responsible. Responsibility is with the whole Russian nation, which with silent approval gives a yes. A nation that feeds their grasses who ravaged Chechnya. They collect food...for them, they supply them. They pay taxes. They give approval in word and in deed. They are all responsible. And in Beslan, to be honest, I didn't expect this. But in Beslan, the issue was either stop the war in Chechnya or have Putin resign. Just one of those two things. Carry out one, and all people are released, no questions asked."
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Interfax reported on July 26 that an explosion targeting a police van in the Dagestani city of Khasavyurt wounded six members of a federal Interior Ministry mobile unit. Sources in Dagestan's Interior Ministry told the news agency that the incident took place 500 meters from the Interior Ministry building in Khasavyurt. Interfax reported that two of the wounded Interior Ministry officers were in grave condition while the other four were hospitalized with less serious injuries. According to Dagestani Interior Ministry sources, shortly after the police van was bombed, a large radio-controlled explosive device was found near the Khasavyurt Interior Ministry building and defused. That device consisted of a metal container filled with a mixture of aluminum powder and ammonium nitrate, pieces of metal and an electric detonator.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: The Chechen rebels on July 19 capped an upsurge in activity with an attack in the village of Znameskoe in Chechnya's Nadterechny district that killed 14 people, eleven of them police and security personnel. According to the Associated Press, the attackers opened fire on a UAZ minibus and then detonated a bomb when a second vehicle came to help. Vremya novostei reported on July 20 that ten policemen and a Federal Security Service (FSB) officer died in the attack. On July 19, Interfax quoted Akhmed Dakaev of the Chechen Interior Ministry as saying that three civilians, including teenagers aged 13 and 14, were among those killed, and that 19 civilians and five policemen were wounded. One of the youths was reportedly killed while riding a bicycle past the scene of the attack. The head of Grozny's Center for Disaster Medicine, Umar Akhyadov, later told Interfax that 34 people had been injured in the attack, 20 of them seriously, with shrapnel wounds in vital organs and severed limbs. Kommersant on July 20 quoted an official with Nadterechny district Interior Ministry directorate as saying that the head of directorate's criminal investigation department, Aslanbek Elmurzaev, and the head of its passport office Khazir Meitsaev, were killed in the bombing.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: The Sharia Jamaat on July 12 officially confirmed the death of its leader Rasul Makasharipov. “Praise Allah, on July 6 in the city of Shamilkal (formerly Makhachkala), during the defense of a mujahideen base in the course of a violent battle, the Emir of the Islamic Jamaat of Dagestan 'Sharia' Rasul Makasharipov (call sign 'Muslim'), Shamil Korodinsky (call sign 'Vakkas') and Zeid Korodinsky became shahids [martyrs-CW],” the group said in a statement posted on the separatist Kavkazcenter website. “The two remaining mujahideen broke the encirclement by the infidels and are alive and unharmed and are safely located at an operational base. No one was taken prisoner. During the course of the battle four infidels were annihilated and three wounded. Allahu Akbar!”
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Islam
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: The level of terrorist violence in Dagestan, which was already high, increased precipitously over the last week with a series of large-scale bombings and assassinations. The authorities, however, scored an apparent success on July 6, when security forces reportedly killed the leader of the republic's armed Islamist insurgency.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya
  • Author: Andrei Smirnov
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Chechen President Alu Alkhanov announced on June 26 that he would personally take over responsibility for the situation in the Shelkovskoi district village Borozdinovskaya, from which several hundred villagers fled after a June 4 zachistka, or cleansing operation, in which several homes were burned and eleven male inhabitants "disappeared." The head of the village's administration, Natalya Zelinskaya, told Interfax that 241 families, totaling 1,184 people, lived in the village before June 4, and that 166 families fled to the nearby Kizlyar district of Dagestan following the raid. She did not indicate the exact number of people who fled to Dagestan, but some observers have put the number at around 1,000, most of them ethnic Avars. As the Associated Press reported on June 21, the fleeing Borozdinovskaya residents left the village with their belongings loaded onto dump trucks and other vehicles and set up a makeshift tent camp in a field several hundred meters across Chechnya's administrative border with Dagestan.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Chechnya
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Chechen rebel president Abdul-Khalim Sadulaev raised his profile somewhat over the past week, naming his vice-president and making several public statements. On June 17, the rebel leadership's State Defense Committee (GKO) of Ichkeria confirmed field commander Doku Umarov as vice-president. Sadulaev had named Umarov to the post by presidential decree the previous day. Umarov replaces Vakha Arsanov, who was elected to the post of vice-president in Chechnya's January 1997 presidential election but was removed from the post in 2001 by then rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov for failing to participate in military actions against federal forces. Arsanov was reportedly killed in a security operation in Grozny's Staropromyslovsky district on May 15 (see Chechnya Weekly, May 18). Kommersant on June 18 quoted the acting chairman of the separatist Ichkerian parliament, Selim Beshaev, as saying that all of the members of the GKO, which includes all of the members of the government along with some parliamentary deputies and field commanders, approved Umarov's nomination as vice-president. "Umarov is one of the most influential field commanders and, in addition, has good experience in government work, therefore there were no objections against his candidacy," Beshaev said. He said there were other candidates and that the decision on who to nominate as vice-president had taken three months to reach. Beshaev also said that Shamil Basaev was not among the possible candidates because he "immediately announced that he was not aspiring to state office."
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Chechnya
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Chechnya's State Council held a session on June 15 devoted to the issue of combating kidnappings and searching for missing citizens during which it was stated that 63 criminal cases arising from 70 abductions have been opened in the republic since the beginning of the year and that the number of kidnappings sharply increased in May. "Abductions remain a factor that can seriously destabilize the situation in the Chechen Republic," Interfax quoted Abu Aliev, deputy chairman of the State Council, as saying. He added that "impunity" is the prime cause of the continued abductions. According to Aliev, as of May 1, 2005, a total of 1,845 criminal investigations into the abduction or disappearance of 2,845 people had been launched since the start of the second Chechen military campaign in 1999, but only 366 people had been freed. He also said that 2,086 cases of people being forcibly abducted by members of unidentified security forces have been registered since the start of the "counter-terrorist operation."
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Chechnya
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Pro-Kremlin Chechen President Alu Alkhanov said during a June 6 press conference in Moscow that abductions in Chechnya were declining, with only 23 people kidnapped since the beginning of the year, compared with 168 people abducted during the same period last year. Alkhanov said that while 58 people were initially reported missing during the first five months of 2005, investigations revealed that some of those were in fact in custody as part of criminal investigations. He also said that federal forces were involved in only 5 to 10 percent of all the kidnappings in Chechnya. "Unfortunately kidnapping happens in this region," Reuters quoted Alkhanov as telling reporters. "Nevertheless, these crimes have decreased 10-fold, if not 100-fold."
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Chechnya, Moscow
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Thousands of people gathered in the Chechen capital Friday of Grozny on May 20 to protest the acquittal of GRU Captain Eduard Ulman and three subordinates on charges of murdering six Chechen civilians in January 2002. According to Agence France-Presse, some 3,000 people, including young people and members of Chechnya's pro-Russian administration, took part in the demonstration. Some protesters carried signs saying "Ulman – murderer," and "Ulman – fascist."
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Chechnya
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: President Vladimir Putin discussed Chechnya in two interviews with European media in the lead-up to the May 9 celebrations in Moscow marking the 60th anniversary of Victory Day. One of the interviews, on May 5, was with Germany's ARD and ZDF television channels, while the other, on May 7, with France 3 television. Transcripts of the interviews were posted on the Kremlin's website.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Chechnya, Germany
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Kavkazky Uzel reported on May 2 that a large-scale battle took place between a group of rebel fighters and a federal military unit in Chechnya's Nozhai-Yurt district, which is located in the southeastern part of the republic. A source in the federal command told the website there were casualties on both sides: “During a short engagement, two members of the illegal armed formations were killed,” the source said. “From our side, a contract serviceman was killed, and several other soldiers received wounds of various levels of severity. All of the wounded were hospitalized.” Military sources said the dead rebels were members of the group headed by rebel field commander Akhmed Avdorkhanov, who once headed the late Aslan Maskhadov's personal bodyguard detail.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Chechnya
  • 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
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Chechen President Alu Alkhanov on March 28 praised a roundtable on Chechnya held in Strasbourg on March 21 under the auspices of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Alkhanov called the meeting “constructive and productive” and said that the European community now understands that the political situation in Chechnya has entered a new stage, Itar-Tass reported. “We did not stand on totally different positions, as it used to be before; indeed, we had a dialogue,” said Alkhanov, who was attending a meeting of the council of the heads of the Southern Federal District's constituent republics in Kislovodsk. The people of Chechnya, Alkhanov said, have unambiguously declared their wish to build a peaceful future as part of the Russian Federation, adding that the “doors are open for those who want to take part in this peaceful, constructive process.” He also said that former members of the pro-separatist parliament of the mid-1990s will participate in the Chechen parliamentary elections scheduled for this autumn. “The fact that so many of the former members of [the late separatist leader Aslan] Maskhadov's government are working in the Chechen government shows that we are adherents of peaceful policies, which have been decided by the people,” Alkhanov said. “If we agree that the people's wish is the determining factor, one has to take this into account. We are ready to accept anybody who adheres to this policy.”
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Chechnya
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: A roundtable on Chechnya was held in Strasbourg under the auspices of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on March 21. The meeting, which was organized by Swiss parliamentarian Andreas Gross—with, according to Kommersant, “active help” from Russia's State Duma and presidential administration—went off “according to the Russian scenario,” Kommersant correspondent Alla Barakhova reported in the newspaper's March 22 edition.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya
  • 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: John B. Dunlop, Lawrence Uzzell
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Aslan Maskhadov was killed on March 8. Ilya Shabalkin, spokesman for the federal forces in the North Caucasus, reported that members of the Alfa and Vympel special force units of the Federal Security Service (FSB) had killed the rebel leader during a special operation in the village of Tolstoi-Yurt. FSB Chairman Nikolai Patrushev was shown on Russian television informing President Vladimir Putin about Maskhadov's death. The Russian president said that those involved in the special operation should be decorated. Footage of Maskhadov's body was shown on NTV television.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya
  • Author: Lawrence Uzzell
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: According to an Interfax report on March 17, the federal, Chechen and Ingush authorities are continuing with their plans to dismantle the remaining refugee camps in Ingushetia, and human rights activists are continuing to protest that this is a tactic to force refugees to return to Chechnya against their will. Mompash Machuev, deputy head of the Kadyrov administration's committee for refugees, told the news agency that the Sputnik camp in Ingushetia--one of only two that remain in that republic--is to be closed by the end of March, and all its tents dismantled. Lyudmila Alekseeva, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, commented “I continue to insist that the refugees are returning to Chechnya not voluntarily but because they are being forced to. Those who truly wanted to return have long since done so.”
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya, Moscow, Ingushetia
  • Author: Lawrence Uzzell
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Pro-Moscow security agencies in Chechnya won a major victory on March 7 with the surrender of Magomed Khambiev, minister of defense in the underground separatist government of Aslan Maskhadov. Many, though not all, reports of this event in the Russian media have failed to mention the key tactical method by which this victory was apparently achieved: The systematic targeting, kidnapping and torture of the Khambiev family's relatives.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya, Moscow