Persoverzicht december 2002

1 december
Search for rebels continues, harassment of Chechens increases: Yesterday a member of Basayev’s rebel unit was detained in Moscow carrying eight kilograms of mercury in a champagne bottle. 15 Chechens, who were detained on 28 October in a minibus, where TNT traces had allegedly been found, were released due to absence of any crime. Yesterday the Chechen administration voiced its concern over the violation of ethnic
Chechens’ rights in a number of Russian regions in the past few days. The administration pointed to the fact that thousands of Chechen families residing in Russian regions have to keep their children out of schools and universities due to fear of acts of ethnic hatred (Interfax, Nezavisimaya gazeta, Vremya novostei, Izvestia, Rossiyskaya gazeta).

MID steps up efforts to end foreign support to Chechen rebels: Media report that the Russian Foreign Ministry has stepped up pressure on its foreign partners demanding offices of Chechen rebels in foreign countries are closed. Following the hostage crisis, such offices have been shut down in Azerbaijan and Georgia. On Wednesday Ankara was asked to close such an office in Turkey. Vremya novostei comments in a front-page article today that “from now on Russia’s bilateral relations with a foreign country will be largely determined by the way it reacts to Moscow’s demands to stop support to persons and organizations involved in terrorist activities” (Kommersant, Vremya novostei, Izvestia, Vremya MN, Vedomosti).

2 december
Chechnya: pressure on refugees criticised; Chechen women protest against disappearances of people: (i) On Friday human rights organizations circulated statements in Moscow saying that the Ingush authorities are putting pressure on refugees to make them leave tent camps located in the republic. Vremya novostei informs about “a demonstration of force” near the tent camps. According to the daily, the tent camp in Aki-Yurt, which was the first to be eliminated, will continue to exist for at least several days. (Interfax, The Moscow Times, Vremya novostei). (ii) On Friday several dozen women from the Chechen villages of Gordali and Verkat-Yurt organized two unauthorized rallies to demand assistance in tracing missing relatives (Interfax).
3 december
PM Kasyanov comments on Chechnya: Speaking at a conference in Berlin, Prime Minister Kasyanov expressed his views on a number of political issues, which, according to Kommersant and Izvestia, is unusual, as Kasyanov usually voices his opinion only on economic issues. On Chechnya, the Prime Minister said that it is necessary to distinguish between separatism and terrorism, stressing that Russia is facing the same problems as people in Spain or Northern Ireland, and in the Russian case the conflict has ties to international terrorism. (Interfax, Kommersant, Izvestia).
Chechnya: diverging attitudes to upcoming Moscow Chechen congress; alarming reports on return of refugees; OSCE warned: (i) Kommersant reports that some 20,000 Chechnya’s residents signed an appeal to President Putin opposing the upcoming Chechen congress to be held in Moscow on 16 December. The daily informs that head of Chechen Administration Kadyrov is among the main opponents to the congress allegedly for the reason that it might reveal a new national leader. The Chechen authorities decided to hold an alternative Chechen congress in Grozny on 11 December (Interfax, Kommersant). (ii) Yesterday an UNHCR official called for the postponement of the closure of a refugee camp in Ingushetia’s Aki-yurt decided by the Russian authorities. Novye izvestia carries a front-page article “Deadly deportation” on the issue (Interfax, Novye izvestia, Kommersant). (iii) Yesterday Deputy FM Chizhov warned the OSCE against making any attempt “to mediate an end to the war in Chechnya”. According to Chizhov, “there is a need to bring the mandate of the OSCE Assistance Group to Chechnya into line with the mission the group fulfils” (Interfax, The Moscow Times).
4 december
Refugee tent camp dismantled in Ingushetia; 700 mln roubles misappropriated in Chechnya: (i) Yesterday authorities dismantled the first of five tent camps for Chechen refugees near the Ingush village of Aki-Yurt. The Moscow Times underlines that “the closure came despite pressure from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for a postponement (The Moscow Times, Interfax, Kommersant, Izvestia, Novye izvestia). (ii) An audit conducted by the FSB and the Audit Chamber has found that more than 700 million roubles were misappropriated in Chechnya. According to Gazeta, the misappropriated funds were at the disposal of the Chechen government (Interfax, Gazeta).
5 december
Draft Chechen constitution completed: Chechen Administration head Akhmad Kadyrov officially announced yesterday that work on the draft Chechen constitution had been completed. According to Kadyrov, the draft document had been examined and amended by experts. In was reported earlier that a referendum on the Chechen constitution might take place in spring 2003 (Interfax, The Moscow Times, Izvestia).
Officials denounce Denmark’s refusal to extradite Zakayev: The media continue to comment on Denmark’s refusal to extradite Chechen rebel representative Zakayev to Russia. Interfax quotes presidential aide Yastrzhembsky as saying that “Copenhagen’s decision is unlawful, superficial and predetermined”. He stressed that “the Danish side’s negative decision has not put an end to the issue” adding that Russia would “seek Zakayev’s extradition regardless of his location”. Kommersant criticises the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office, stressing that there were inconsistencies in the documentation it prepared supporting the extradition. The newspaper also publishes an interview today with Zakayev (All media).
6 december
Chechen official comments on return of refugees: Yesterday Rudnik Dudayev, Secretary of Chechnya’s Security Council, said that “there is no forced resettlement of refugees from Ingushetia to Chechnya”, stressing that the theme of forced resettlement is being “stoked” by the followers of Chechen separatist leader Maskhadov and criminal structures, which “make money on humanitarian aid”. According to the official, many humanitarian organizations acting in the tent camps in Ingushetia “have come under the influence of criminal elements” (Interfax, The Moscow Times).
9 december
FM hopes UK’s decision on Zakayev “will help joint efforts against international terrorism”: All media report that Maskhadov’s representative Zakayev arrived in London on Friday following Denmark’s refusal to extradite him to Russia. The Moscow Times stresses that “Zakayev’s case will be the first major test of the close relationship forged between the two countries after the terror attacks of 11 September”. Kommersant comments that a refusal to extradite Zakayev can seriously spoil Blair’s relations with Putin. Some dailies report about the impact of the Zakayev case on Russia’s relations with Denmark, which denied an extradition request. Nezavisimaya gazeta believes that a normalization of relations between Moscow and Copenhagen cannot be expected soon. The daily publishes an interview with Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller entitled “Terrorists must not get asylum anywhere”. Interfax quotes Foreign Minister Ivanov as saying that “Danish actions, carried out on the pretext of upholding Chechen interests do not contribute to better relations with Russia” (All media).
On 11 December the congress of Chechnya’s peoples will be held in the Chechen capital (Kommersant). (iv) On 11 December the State Duma will consider the 2003 budget in the fourth, final reading (Kommersant
10 december
Commander of armed forces in Chechnya to be replaced?: Nezavisimaya gazeta reports in a front-page article today that commander of armed forces in Chechnya Troshev is likely to be replaced soon. According to the daily, Troshev would be appointed to command the troops in the Siberian military district, which could not be a promotion (Nezavisimaya gazeta).
On 11 December the congress of Chechnya’s peoples will be held in the Chechen capital (Kommersant
2,500 orphans in Chechnya: According to the Russian Interior Ministry reports, there are 2,500 orphans and 24,000 children of single parents in Chechnya. 3,500 Chechen children of school age do not attend school for various reasons (Izvestia, Interfax).
11 december
Putin: “big gap” between human rights laws and practice; voluntary return of Chechen refugees: Yesterday President Putin met with the members of the presidential human rights commission. He acknowledged that there is “a big gap” between “constitutional guarantees” of human rights and “people’s real opportunities” to benefit from those guarantees. He also stressed that people often “face irresponsibility on the part of government of all levels”. Chairwoman of the Moscow Helsinki Group Alexeyeva said that the President had mentioned twice during the meeting that the return of refugees from Ingushetia to Chechnya must be voluntary (Interfax, Kommersant, The Moscow Times, Nezavisimaya gazeta, Vremya novostei).
Russian officials, Red Cross representative on return of refugees to Chechnya: (i) Interfax reports that Federal Migration Service Director Chernenko said yesterday that refugees are not being pressured to return to Chechnya from Ingushetia. According to Chernenko, “certain representatives of humanitarian NGOs are over-politicising the situation”. (ii) Interfax quotes Red Cross representative Megevand-Roggo as saying that the refugees are being pressured. She also stressed that Chechen refugees should be provided with safety guarantees and material assistance upon their return to Chechnya (Interfax).
16 december
Congress of peoples of Chechnya to be held in Grozny today: A congress of peoples of Chechnya initiated by the Chechen administration is to be held in Grozny today. Nezavisimaya gazeta reports in a front-page article “Kadyrov forever” that today’s congress signifies the beginning of a presidential race in the republic and analyses the list of potential candidates, which includes head of Chechen Administration Kadyrov (Nezavisimaya gazeta, Vremya MN, Novye izvestia).
Imprisoned Chechen terrorist dies of internal bleeding: natural death or not?: All media report that convicted Chechen warlord Salman Raduev who had led a raid on a hospital in 1996, died in Perm while serving a life sentence in prison. Deputy Justice Minister Kalinin is quoted by Interfax as saying that Raduyev died a natural death, and no signs of a violent death were found on his body. Kommersant doubts the official version and presents evidence given by Raduyev’s fellow inmates, according to which he had been beaten and died in prison and not in a hospital. As Raduyev had testified against Zakayev, the daily believes that this death weakens the position of the Prosecutor General’s Office in the Zakayev case. Vremya novostei recalls another famous Chechen convict Atgeriyev who had also died a mysterious death last August. According to the daily, both warlords were well informed about “the secrets” of the first Chechen campaign. Interfax quotes a Justice Ministry source as saying that Raduyev’s body will not be handed over to relatives, as “there are no legal grounds” for doing so (All media).
Moscow Congress of Chechen Peoples postponed: Interfax reports that a Congress of Chechen Peoples, which was originally scheduled for 16 December in Moscow, has been postponed until 27 February next year. According to initiator Duma deputy Aslakhanov, the decision was made taking into account the recent holding of the Chechen congress in Gudermes (Interfax).
FSB chief talks to media on Chechnya, spying: FSB chief Patrushev held a meeting with head of news agencies and two major TV stations yesterday trying to convince the media that his subordinates worked hard during the year, as Rossiyskaya gazeta has it. He said, in particular, that investigators have gained access to information alleging the involvement of some Chechen separatist leaders, including Maskhadov, in the Moscow hostage crisis. He also noted that about a thousand rebels were killed in Chechnya in 2002. On spying, Partushev accused U.S. Peace Corps volunteers of attempting to gather information about Russian officials (Interfax, Rossiyskaya gazeta, The Moscow Times).
Budanov’s trial resumes: The high profile trial of colonel Budanov, who is charged with murdering a Chechen girl, resumes in Rostov-on-Don today. According to Interfax, psychiatric experts have found Budanov insane and he will have to undergo mandatory treatment (Interfax, Vremya novostei).
17 december
Minister for Chechnya suggests foreign ambassadors visit refugee camps: Interfax reports that Federal Minister for Chechnya Ilyasov has proposed during his talks with UN officials that foreign ambassadors in Russia and representatives of international humanitarian organizations visit Ingushetia and Chechnya to monitor the observation of refugees’ human rights (Interfax).
Various interpretations of psychiatric evaluation results in Budanov case; sharp reaction in Chechnya: As announced yesterday, the fourth psychiatric evaluation of colonel Budanov, who is accused of murdering a Chechen girl, has found him insane and compulsory treatment was prescribed. Vremya novostei reports in a front-page article, that it is now up to the court to decide how to proceed. In the meantime, the experts’ decision was sharply criticised in Chechnya: deputy head of Chechnya’s Administration Dzhabrailov is quoted by Interfax as saying that the decision had angered the region’s leadership and it will be difficult to explain to the population why Budanov, if he was really ill, was appointed a regiment commander (All media).
Kadyrov ready to ask Putin for a more lenient sentence on Maskhadov: Chechen Administration head Kadyrov said yesterday that he is ready to ask President Putin for a more lenient sentence on separatist leader Maskhadov if the latter voluntarily turns himself to law enforcement agencies. Kadyrov once again ruled out the possibility of talks with Maskhadov (Rossiyskaya gazeta, Interfax).
Chechen PM: “symbolic Chechen cabinet” to become a full-fledged government: Vremya novostei publishes a front-page interview with recently appointed Chechen Prime Minister Babich. According to Babich, within one year the “symbolic Chechen cabinet” is to become a full-fledged government. The interview also deals with financing of Chechnya’s restoration and the upcoming constitutional referendum in the republic (Vremya novostei).
Raduyev to be buried in prison cemetery?: The Moscow Times quotes prison officials as saying that Chechen terrorist Raduyev, who died serving a life sentence, would likely be buried in a prison cemetery plot rather than turned over to relatives. According to the same report, the relatives had not reclaimed Raduev’s body. However, according to Rossiyskaya gazeta, officials in the penitentiary department of the Justice Ministry did not exclude the possibility of turning over Raduyev’s body to his relatives, as a legal ban on turning over bodies only concerns terrorists who died during an anti-terrorist operation (The Moscow Times, Rossiyakaya gazeta).
18 december
4,705 servicemen killed in ongoing campaign in Chechnya: According to official reports quoted by Interfax, Russia has lost 4,705 soldiers, officers and policemen in Chechnya during the ongoing military campaign between 1 October 1999 and 15 December this year. 13,040 other military and police representatives were wounded, 28 went missing. 14,113 rebels were killed over the same period. The Moscow Times reports that according to the estimates of the Soldiers’ Mothers Committee, the actual casualty figures are more than double the official estimates (Interfax, The Moscow Times).
General Troshev publicly turns down new appointment: Yesterday commander of the Northern Caucasian military district Troshev publicly turned down the offer made by Defence Minister Ivanov to head the Siberian Military District saying that he cannot betray “the district’s servicemen and the people of Chechnya”. Kommersant comments that certain officials in the Defence Ministry have long been unhappy with “the public popularity and political strength” of the general. According to the daily, by refusing publicly to take up a new post, Troshev has put an end to his military career but has made a good basis for his future political career (Kommersant, Interfax, Rossiyskaya gazeta, Vremya novostei).
Action committee for constitutional referendum in Chechnya registered: Yesterday Chechnya’s elections commission registered the action committee for organising the constitutional referendum in Chechnya. The Committee is to organise the collection of 12,000 signatures from Chechen voters needed for the referendum to take place. Kommersant reports that some Chechen rebel groups have taken a decision “to punish” the initiators of the referendum (Interfax, Kommersant).
19 december
Putin dismisses General Troshev: Yesterday President Putin signed a decree dismissing well-known General Troshev as North Caucasus Military District commander. The decree came a day after Troshev publicly turned down a new appointment offered by the Defence Ministry. According to the presidential press service, quoted by Interfax, “Putin is highly appreciative of Troshev’s achievements at the post, but criticised the general for discussing the Armed Forces command in public”. Media speculate on the future of the fired General. Duma deputy Aslakhanov, quoted by Interfax, thinks that that the Grozny-born general “will most likely run for President of Chechnya”, while Gazeta believes that Troshev may become “a flag of the Communists” (All media).
In a front-page article today that Paratroopers’ Commander Shpak is another top military commander to be dismissed soon. According to the daily, Shpak has made too many “straightforward” public statements. For example, he stated that the losses among paratroopers, who assumed the main burden in the ongoing operation in Chechnya, were only 300 people, while the total losses in the federal forces in Chechnya amount to 5000 servicemen.
Kommersant reports about the imminent resignation of general Fyodorov, head of Russia’s traffic police. According to the daily, the general will soon be appointed a Federation Council member. The paper does not exclude that Fyodorov is “another victim of Interior Ministry’s reform” (Kommersant, Vremya novostei).
Interior Minister visits Chechnya: Interior Minister Gryzlov arrived in North Caucasus yesterday. Kommersant informs that today he will introduce to the Chechen police its new leader Ruslan Tsakayev and will personally visit a number of checking points in Chechnya. According to Kommersant, the Minister acknowledged that there are a lot of “signals” about extortions at checking points in Chechnya (Interfax, Kommersant).
Chechen PM displeased with slow return of refugees; Head of Southern District criticises humanitarian organizations: (i) Chechen Prime Minister Babich expressed dissatisfaction with the slow return of refugees from Ingushetia to 2nya. He believes it is a result of inefficient information among refugees and of the fact that buildings for the resettlement of refugees were not commissioned in time. (Interfax). (ii) Kommersant quotes President’s representative in the Southern Federal District Kazantsev as saying that the problem of refugees may be resolved in the near future. He also criticised the activities of humanitarian organizations in the North Caucasus describing workers of Red Cross as “little spies”.
20 december
Several questions on Chechnya were asked. Putin denied any need for the introduction of the state of emergency in Chechnya. He admitted that the situation in the republic remains difficult saying at the same time that he had no doubt that it is necessary to gradually transfer power to the Chechen people. Putin said that the talks with bandits and terrorists are absolutely impossible. The President also commented on attempts to create a global Islamic state and called for new approaches in fight against terrorism.
Rogozin advocates amending Convention on extradition; measures against Denmark: (i) Chairman of Duma’s International Affairs Committee Rogozin said that the Russian delegation at PACE session in January will put forward an initiative “to considerably adjust international law” in order “to exclude the possibility of political motivation behind a refusal to extradite this or that person charged with committing a terrorism-related crime”. (ii) Rogozin also said that the Duma would insist that the Russian Foreign Ministry develop a set of measures to toughen the stance towards Denmark due to its failure to extradite Chechen emissary Zakayev to Russia (Interfax, The Moscow Times).
Raduyev’s belongings returned to his relatives: Interfax reports that the personal belongings of Chechen terrorist Salman Raduyev, who had died in prison a week ago and had been buried in the Perm region, were given to his relatives. (Interfax, Rossiyskaya gazeta).
24 december
Chechnya: (i) Meeting with President Putin in the Kremlin yesterday to discuss preparations for a constitutional referendum in Chechnya, President’s human rights envoy to Chechnya Sultygov stressed that the Chechen population was “inspired” by the chance to elect its own government. He also added that “there are no normal conditions, no elected authorities or self-government” and that terrorism in Chechnya is not diminishing. (ii) The draft Chechen Constitution and draft laws on parliamentary and presidential elections were published yesterday in a local Chechen newspaper. (iii) Interior Minister of Chechnya Tsakayev said yesterday that the archives of former acting President Yandarbiyev Ichkeria (the name for Chechnya used by separatists) containing documents of the Ichkerian parliament, banknote samples that Chechen separatists intended to introduce in the republic, blank passports printed abroad and a large amount of Wahhabi literature, were found in the Chechen village of Starye Atagi. (Rossia, First Channel, Interfax, RIAN, Izvestia, Vremya novostei, MT)
25 december
Chechnya: (i) Yesterday, the Duma adopted a statement on measures aimed at normalizing the situation in Chechnya. The statement reads that actions of the combined federal forces in the North Caucasus “are no longer an effective instrument of counter-terrorism operation” and that “large-scale military special operations have become inefficient”. Considering the fact that President Putin signed a decree for the preparation of a referendum on a draft Chechen Constitution and for the preparation of presidential and parliamentary elections in the republic, the State Duma reconsidered its previous decision to suggest a state of emergency be declared in Chechnya. (ii) Head of the Chechen Civil Administration Akhmad Kadyrov signed a decree appointing Andrey Yarin as the 1st Deputy Chairman of the Chechen Government in charge of finance and economics. (iii) Yesterday, Nikolay Kravchenko was introduced as the new Chechen Prosecutor. (Interfax, RIAN, Izvestia, Kommersant)
26 december
Chechnya: (i) Media report that 28 Chechen rebel commanders put down their arms in Grozny yesterday. Chechen PM Babich is quoted as saying that this event is an outcome of “long and consistent efforts and talks conducted with militant commanders who were not involved in bloodshed and expressed a desire to cease military actions”. (ii) According to a Chechen police officer, Chechen militants attacked a convoy of the federal forces in Grozny yesterday, killing one interior ministry officer and wounding another. (iii) Also yesterday, Said-Amin Adizov, Head of Grozny’s office of the United Russia political party, was murdered in Grozny. (Ekho Moskvy, Interfax, RIAN, Kommersant, Nezavisimaya gazeta)
27 december
North Caucasus: Special commission to monitor conditions for Chechen refugees: (i) A special commission including migration officials and members of the presidential human rights commission, departed for Chechnya and Ingushetia yesterday to inspect the return of Chechen refugees to their homes. The commission is scheduled to visit temporary settlement centres in Chechnya, refugee camps in Ingushetia and check whether refugees have returned from Ingushetia voluntary. Head of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alexeeva is quoted as saying that “there is evidence that refugees are being forced to leave” and that people “are afraid to return to their homeland”. (ii) Head of the Central Election Commission Alexander Vechnyakov did not rule out that the Chechen presidential elections could be held next year if “Chechnya’s people vote for the republic’s constitution and election legislation at a referendum”. (iii) Head of the North Caucasus regional department of the Federal Border Service Evgeny Bolkhovitin was relieved of his duties. A Federal Border Service official objected media reports that Bolkhovitin was released due to an attempt by Chechen militants led by field commander Ruslan Gelayev to cross the Russian-Georgian border from Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge last August. (Ekho Moskvy, Interfax, RIAN, Lenta.Ru, Rossiiskaya gazeta, Nezavisimaya gazeta, Izvestia)
30 december
Sixty one killed by terrorist attack in Grozny: (i) Last Friday, the building of Chechnya’s Government in Grozny was attacked by suicide bombers. The attackers, travelling in a large KAMAZ truck and a UAZ vehicle, blew up the building, barrelling through the barrier surrounding the government HQ. According to Chechen PM Babich, 61 people have been killed and over 150 injured in two powerful blasts. Babich is quoted as saying that the death toll was expected to rise since some victims were not included in general lists because their bodies were taken away by their relatives immediately after the incident. The most heavily injured people were brought to Moscow for treatment. Head of the Chechen Security Council Rudnik Dudayev is among those heavily injured. (ii) Chechen Interior Minister Tsakayev is quoted as saying that 3 suicide bombers used Russian military uniforms and licence plates to drive the vehicles through security checkpoints in Grozny and that “all of them were of Slavic appearance and spoke Russian without an accent”. (iii) Head of the Chechen Civilian Administration Akhmad Kadyrov implicated separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov in the Grozny terrorist attack. Kadyrov pointed out that the Grozny blasts would not affect the date for a referendum in Chechnya. According to a representative of the combined federal forces in North Caucasus, the attack was ordered by Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev and Arab militant Abu al-Walid. In a special statement issued late Saturday, the Russian Foreign Ministry (MID) stressed that Friday explosions in Grozny “were a reaction by international terrorism to the consistent policy by President Putin to achieve a political solution to the Chechen conflict”, adding that the Grozny attack “demonstrates convincingly that terrorist activity in Chechnya is a continuation of the global terrorist challenge”. (iv) On Saturday, President Putin met Director of the Federal Security Service (FSB) Patrushev, Interior Minister Gryzlov, Defence Minister S.Ivanov to discuss the situation in Chechnya and measures to investigate the Grozny terrorist attack. (v) In a televised interview, Deputy Prosecutor General Fridinsky said that he recommended the military command in Chechnya dismiss the city’s commandant and the commandant responsible for guarding the government HQ. (vi) Media report condolences extended by leaders of foreign countries and international organisations in connection with the terrorist attack in Grozny. The Danish Presidency issued a statement on behalf of the EU. (vii) Today, the Russian Government will discuss measures to help victims of the Grozny terrorist explosions. (All media)
North Caucasus: (ii) Last Friday, Ella Pamfilova, Head of the Presidential Human Rights Commission, and Stanislav Ilyasov, federal Minister responsible for Chechnya, visited refugee camps in Ingushetia. Pamfilova is quoted as saying that results of the inspection “will be included in a special report on the situation concerning forced migrants that will be submitted to President Putin”. She pointed out that “no factual evidence had been obtained yet proving that migrants were forced to return to Chechnya”. According to Ilyasov, refugees are returning in line with their written applications and procedures and terms for their return from Ingushetia to Chechnya can be changed only in line with court rulings. (ii) Referring to diplomatic sources, Interfax reports that the OSCE Assistance Group to Chechnya will leave Chechnya after 31 December if its mandate is not renewed. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yakovenko said that FM I.Ivanov and British FM Straw discussed the issue of the OSCE mandate in a telephone talk, adding that Moscow expects the activities of the OSCE AG “to be consistent with Russia’s lawful interests”. (www.mid.ru; Interfax, RIAN)
31 december
Grozny death toll rises past 80; Putin says terrorists not to disrupt political settlement in Chechnya: (i) The unofficial death toll of Friday’s terrorist attack in Grozny reached yesterday 83. Media report that 15 people remain in critical condition. The State Emergencies Ministry placed the official death toll at 63 dead. Head of the Chechen Civilian Administration declared 3 days of national mourning in Chechnya for those killed in the Grozny blasts. (ii) Meeting with members of the Russian Government yesterday, President Putin stressed that the Grozny terrorist attack “was another attempt to derail the process of political settlement in Chechnya”, adding that “terrorists are trying to do so by using more violent methods, but they will not succeed in holding up the process of finding a solution to the conflict”. Putin noted that law enforcement departments “must analyse reasons for the terrorist attack and how it was perpetrated”. (iii) In a televised interview yesterday, Chechen PM Babich said that three officers of the Kurgan OMON special militia assigned to guard the government HQ in Grozny would be charged with negligence. (iv) Representative of the Chechen Civil Administration to the Federation Council Akhmar Zavgayev emphasized that the involvement of Ichkerian separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov in the Grozny terrorist attack “was obvious”. (v) A representative of the federal forces in the North Caucasus said that documents of Ichkerian leader Maskhadov in which he ordered to prepare and commit large terrorist attacks in the republic, primarily against pro-Russian Chechen officials and the law enforcement agencies”, were found in the Chechen village Gansolchu in the Nozhi-Yurt district. (vi) According to a decision made by the Russian Government yesterday, families of the Grozny terrorist attack victims will receive financial support. Families who lost their relatives will receive 100,000 roubles each. (All media)

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