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  • 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: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Anna Politkovskaya has indicated to a friendly human rights journalist that her newspaper has additional information about the involvement of Russia's secret services in the terrorist raid on Moscow's Dubrovka theater last October—enough information to confirm that involvement even apart from her dramatic interview with an apparent double agent. “The next chunk of information on this topic will be published later,” she said, “depending on what actions our authorities take.”
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Moscow
  • Author: Lawrence Uzzell
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Was last October's attack by Chechen terrorists on a Moscow theater actually a provocation organized by elements of the Russian security services—or at least known to them in advance, so that they could easily have prevented it? In the opinion of Novaya gazeta correspondent Anna Politkovskaya, the answer is yes, and the key figure in this shadowy operation was a Chechen serving as an agent for Russia's special services—one Khanpash Terkibaev. This mysterious figure unaccountably agreed to let Politkovskaya interview him. And although he has since denied the most sensational parts of her April 28 account of their conversation, he and the administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin have failed to provide any convincing alternative explanation.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Lawrence Uzzell
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: An overconfident and overbearing Russian delegation lost the first major international test of Moscow's Chechnya policy to occur since the March 23 constitutional referendum. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) voted unexpectedly on April 2 to recommend creation of an international tribunal to try both Russians and Chechens accused of war crimes. The lopsided vote (97-27) stood in dramatic contrast to the victory celebrated by the Russians in January, when they succeeded in blocking a challenge to the referendum led by the Parliamentary Assembly's own rapporteur on Chechnya. Their action, in effect, forced his resignation (see Chechnya Weekly, February 6).
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Lawrence Uzzell
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Add one more to the list of independent eyewitnesses who flatly deny Russian claims of a huge turnout for Chechnya's March 23 constitutional referendum. Nathalie Nougayrede of Le Monde told Radio Radicale on March 25 that she saw no long lines at polling stations in Grozny, where she spent referendum day. She said that Grozny was “practically deserted” that day: “At one or two polling stations I saw a few people, maybe four or five. Twenty or twenty-five during the whole day....Everyone I spoke to in the days leading up to the referendum said they had no intention of voting.” She added that at one particular polling station she knew that only several dozen people turned out, but “at the end of the day the chief electoral officer declared that around 3,000 people had voted there.”
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia