Persoverzicht februari 2003

3 februari 2003

Rogozin resigns from Duma-PACE group on Chechnya; Lord Judd misinterpreted about resignation?: Media report that following the announcement by Lord Judd to resign from his post as co-chairman of Duma-PACE group on Chechnya, his counterpart from the Duma side Rogozin also announced his resignation. Izvestia (Saturday issue) comments in an article “There is no more Duma-PACE group” that Rogozin did so in order to prevent Lord Judd from reconsidering his announced resignation. However, today’s Kommersant carries an interview with Lord Judd claiming that he was misinterpreted, as he had never announced his resignation, but had rather said that he would resign if the Chechen referendum takes place on 23 March. (Izvestia, Kommersant, Interfax).

PACE not to send representatives to Chechen referendum: Interfax reports that PACE Bureau decided on Friday not to send its representatives to the March 23 Chechen referendum. Interfax quotes PACE deputy chairman Margelov as saying that this decision is not final and will depend on whether OSCE observers will be sent for the referendum (Interfax).

4 februari 2003

Chechnya: FSB presents proof of Maskadov’s involvement in hostage seizure; Maskhadov appears on Chechen TV: (i) Yesterday the FSB presented a videotape filmed by rebels to prove the connection of Chechen rebel leader Maskhadov to the Moscow hostage seizure. The tape shows Maskhadov discussing preparations of the seizure with head of terrorist group Barayev although there is no sound (Rossiyskaya gazeta, The Moscow Times). (ii) Kommersant reports that on Monday Maskhadov appeared on TV screens of two Chechen districts sharply criticising the upcoming Chechen referendum and threatening the federal forces and their supporters with “a decisive blow”.
Chechen PM to resign?: Izvestia reports that today is the last day of the short leave taken by Chechen Prime Minister Babich. The daily claims that he will not return to Grozny, and head of Chechen Administration Kadyrov is already looking for a new candidate to the post.

OSCE to send observers to Chechen referendum: Vremya novostei reports that yesterday Duma Chairman Seleznyov met with visiting OSCE PA Chairman Bruce George. According to the daily, Bruce George confirmed the intention of OSCE to send its observers to the upcoming Chechen referendum.

5 februari 2003

Chechen referendum: observers, preparations: (i) Dutch Foreign Minister de Hoop Scheffer said yesterday that OSCE officials would go to Chechnya to determine whether conditions were right for the Chechen referendum (Interfax, The Moscow Times). (ii) Chairman of Duma’s International Affairs Committee Rogozin wrote in a letter to Chairman of PACE’s Political Affairs Commission Jakic that only the personal presence of PACE representatives will “provide objective information on the observance of the PACE resolution on the terms of the referendum” (Interfax, Vremya MN). (iii) Yesterday head of Central Elections Commission Veshnyakov and U.S. ambassador to Russia Vershbow discussed preparations for the Chechen referendum. Izvestia reports in an article “American sceptic” that Vershbow expressed some scepticism over the possibility of creating necessary conditions for a successful and legitimate referendum (Izvestia).

Experts, Federation Council members criticise draft Chechen constitution: Nezavisimaya gazeta reports about some flaws in the draft Chechen constitution submitted for 23 March referendum. The daily quotes an expert conclusion as saying that its adoption could renew separatist tendencies in Russia and can give way to new frictions between the federal centre and the Chechen republic. The paper also informs about criticism voiced by some Federation Council members over certain provisions of the draft constitution (Nezavisimaya gazeta).

SPS presents plan of Chechen settlement: Yesterday the Union of Right Forces (SPS) presented a plan of Chechen settlement largely reminding a two-year old plan authored by its leader Nemtsov. According to SPS, the planned Chechen referendum is not a panacea from war. Finding ways to cut off financing sources of extremist groups is seen in the plan as a major prerequisite of Chechen settlement (Kommersant, Nezavisimaya gazeta).

New Chechen PM selected?: Media report that Chechen Prime Minister Babich is likely to resign soon. According to Kommersant, Nikolay Aidinov, representative of the Chechen government in the Russian Council of Ministers, is a likely candidate to the post (Kommersant, The Moscow Times, Nezavisimaya gazeta).

6 februari 2003

Resignation of Chechen PM decided?: Vremya novostei reports that the rumours about the imminent resignation of Chechen Prime Minister Babich were yesterday confirmed by his major opponent, head of Chechen Administration Kadyrov. Although the successor of Babich is not yet formally announced, Vremya novostei and Kommersant believe that the most likely candidate is Nikolay Aidinov, representative of the Chechen government in the Russian Council of Ministers. Izvestia, however, mentions another name – Alexander Korobeinikov, first deputy presidential representative in the Southern Federal District. Vremya novostei comments that even if Babich eventually resigns, this will not bring any benefit to Kadyrov, as the Audit Chamber will continue its financial audit initiated by Babich, and the financial control from the federal centre will increase further (Kommersant, Izvestia, Vremya novostei, The Moscow Times).

Vremya novostei publishes an interview with head of Duma’s International Affairs Committee Rogozin titled “Lord Judd is my friend but truth is dearer”. The interview focuses on the Kaliningrad issue and activities of Duma-PACE group in Chechnya. On Kaliningrad transit, Rogozin informs about the trilateral meeting in Brussels, which began yesterday, and comments on new agreements with Lithuania on border control rules. Rogozin notes that agreement was reached with Lithuania over all major concerns of the Russian side but for the recognition of Russian military certificates as valid transit documents. Speaking on Duma-PACE group on Chechnya, Rogozin voices scepticism over Judd’s familiarity with the situation in Chechnya. According to Rogozin, last year he spent only two days in the republic.

7 februari 2003

Powell’s report on Iraq not convincing: Today’s media continue to comment on the evidence provided by U.S. Secretary of State Powell on Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction. Nezavisimaya gazeta reports that Powell did not convince the sceptics; however, it believes that adjustments in Russia’s position are possible. Vedomosti comments that Powell’s evidence did not put an end to doubts over the necessity of military action against Iraq. Interfax quotes head of Duma’s International Affairs Committee Rogozin as saying that the new evidence has engendered more questions than answers. Izvestia comments that “Powell deliberately mentioned Russia several times, describing Arab fighters in Chechnya and Pankisi as ‘terrorists” but “Powell’s psychological ploy did not work”. Kommersant notes that although Powell’s report did not change the positions of supporters and opponents of military action against Iraq, it however proved something more important: military action is inevitable. Izvestia publishes a front-page interview with Iraqi Vice-Premier Aziz titled “Iraq will become second Stalingrad for Americans” (All media).

Putin criticises Interior Ministry, but promises no revolutions in its modernization: Yesterday President Putin addressed the expanded Collegium of Interior Ministry. He began by praising the Ministry’s efforts in the creation of the Chechen Interior Ministry but went on criticising the federal Ministry for low public rating of police work. Putin, however, promised no revolution in the modernization of the Interior Ministry and urged it “to stay away from corporate wars and property disputes”. Interfax also reports about criticism voiced by Interior Minister Gryzlov over the new Criminal Proceedings Code. He claimed that the rights of suspects and accused are expanded, while “the hands of investigators are tied” (Kommersant, Nezavisimaya gazeta, Interfax, The Moscow Times, Rossiyskaya gazeta, Vremya novostei).

CE, OSCE to send joint mission to Chechnya; PACE chairman comments on discussions over Chechnya: (i) RIAN reports that the Council of Europe and the OSCE will send a joint mission to Chechnya before the 23 March Chechen referendum. The decision was taken at a meeting at the Hague where the two organizations stressed that close consultations are needed on the Chechen issue (RIAN Agency). (ii) Rossiyskaya gazeta publishes an interview with PACE Chairman Schieder commenting on the recent discussion at a PACE session of the situation in Chechnya. Schieder says PACE is interested in sending its delegation to Chechnya both before and during the Chechen referendum.

Use of Chechnya reconstruction funds discussed in Duma: Yesterday federal Minister for Chechnya Ilyasov reported to Duma’s Commission on Chechen settlement about the use of funds allocated for Chechen reconstruction. Ilyasov denied allegations about any misappropriations of funds in Chechnya. However, according to Kommersant, he refused to comment on a statement claiming that members of Chechen government channel some funds to rebels (Kommersant, Interfax, Izvestia).

10 februari 2003

Chechen PM resigns; his successor to be confirmed today: All media report that Chechen Prime Minister Babich announced his resignation claiming that he had “no financial or economic leverages to influence the situation in the republic”. Kommersant, Vremya novostei and Izvestia inform that his successor to be formally announced today is Anatoly Popov, head of federal Directorate on restoration of Chechnya. Kommersant comments that his appointment was supported by law enforcement and defence agencies. Vremya novostei stresses that the candidacy of Popov was a total surprise for head of Chechen Administration Kadyrov. Izvestia reports that the conflict in the Chechen government was resolved only due to direct participation of President Putin (All media).

DM Ivanov: international chemical terrorists trained in Chechen rebel camps: Speaking at an international conference on eradicating international terrorism in Munich, Defence Minister Ivanov claimed that international terrorists located in Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge are involved in producing chemicals and are trained in Chechen rebel camps. (Interfax, Kommersant, Rossiyskaya gazeta).

Upcoming events: (i) Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Gil-Robles arrives in Moscow today. After talks in Moscow, he will visit Chechnya (Kommersant). (ii) On 12 February Prime Minister Kasyanov will report to Duma deputies on government measures to overcome the heating crisis in many Russian regions (Kommersant). (iii) On 16 February head of regional Administration is to be elected in Mordovia; second round of gubernatorial elections is to be held in Magadan.

11 februari 2003

North Caucasus: new Chechen PM appointed: (i) Akhmad Kadyrov, Head of the Chechen Civil Administration, signed a decree yesterday appointing Anatoly Popov as Chechen PM. Federal Minister responsible for Chechnya Ilyasov noted that a possible reshuffling of the Chechen Government was not discussed in the context of the new appointment, adding that Finance Minister Isayev will keep his post. (ii) In an interview yesterday, leader of the Yabloko political party Yavlinsky said that “it is unreal to hold a successful constitutional referendum in Chechnya within such a short period and under current circumstances in Chechnya”, notably in absence of security. (iii) Before departure to Grozny today, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Gil-Robles is scheduled to meet Presidential envoy for human rights in Chechnya Sultygov and Head of the Duma International Affairs Committee Rogozin. (iv) Interfax reports that branches of the UNHCR office opened in Vladikavkaz (North Osetia) and Nazran (Ingushetia). (Rossia, NTV, Kommersant, Izvestia, Vremya novoste, Vremya MN).

12 februari 2003

Moscow to welcome international monitoring of Chechen Constitution referendum: Commenting on international monitoring of a referendum on a draft Chechen Constitution yesterday, Russia’s FM Spokesman Yakovenko stressed that Moscow “would welcome international monitoring of the referendum and following elections in Chechnya”, adding that the draft Chechen Constitution “is currently being examined by the Council of Europe”. (RIAN, Interfax, www.mid.ru).

North Caucasus: (i) Media today report that Ichkerian/Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov appointed Salambek Maigov, Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Eurasian political party, “a representative of the Chechen Republic Ichkeria in the Russian Federation”. Referring to Kremlin officials, Izvestia suggests that Russian officials “are likely to maintain contacts with Maigov if he intends to discuss issues set by President Putin in September 2001, notably immediate disarmament of Chechen illegal military formations”. (ii) Following talks with Chairman of the Duma International Affairs Committee Rogozin yesterday in Moscow, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Gil-Robles declined to comment on whether representatives of the Council of Europe would be sent to monitor the constitutional referendum in Chechnya to be held on 23 March. He noted that it is up to the Council of Europe Secretary General to decide whether the Council will send observers to Chechnya for the referendum. (iii) In an address yesterday, a group of Russian human rights activists called for postponing the constitutional referendum in Chechnya, adding no referendum can be held before an agreement is signed by all major factions of Chechen society, including supporters of Aslan Maskhadov. Among the signatories of the address are Duma Members Rybakov and Yushenkov, Civil Aid Committee Chairwoman Gannushkina, Chairman of the All-Russian Movement for Human Rights Ponomaryov and others. (iv) According to OCHA Russian office, 673 refugees returned to Chechnya in January, while 98 Chechens left for Ingushetia last month. (Interfax, Kommersant, Izvestia).

13 februari 2003

Kadyrov introduces new Prime Minister to Chechen government: Yesterday head of Chechen Administration Kadyrov formally introduced recently appointed Chechen Prime Minister Popov to the government of the republic. Media stress Kadyrov’s statement that “this was exclusively his choice” and there was no pressure from security authorities in the appointment (Interfax, The Moscow Times).

IDPs in Ingushetia to participate in referendum?: Head of Central Elections Commission Veshnyakov is quoted by Interfax as saying that IDPs in Ingushetia will be given the possibility to participate in the Chechen 23 March referendum but they will have to register with territorial electoral commissions formed in Chechnya. Vremya novostei reports that head of Chechen Administration Kadyrov supported the idea of IDPs’ participation in the referendum (Interfax, Vremya novostei).

CoE Commissioner visits Chechnya: Media report about the visit of Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Gil-Robles to Chechnya. Kommersant quotes Gil-Robles as saying that his visit is not connected to the upcoming Chechen referendum and is rather aimed at monitoring the human rights situation in the republic. According to the daily, yesterday the visitor focused on the activities of Chechen Prosecutor’s office; and he will visit refugee camps in Ingushetia today (Kommersant, Interfax, Vremya novostei).

Ella Pamfilova: no more complaints on forced return of refugees: Nezavisimaya gazeta publishes a front-page interview with Ella Pamfilova, head of presidential human rights commission, reporting about the results of her recent visit to Chechnya. According to Pamfilova, following her December meeting with President Putin, there are no more complaints about forced return of refugees from Ingushetia to Chechnya (Nezavisimaya gazeta).

14 februari 2003

CoE HR Commissioner supports Chechen referendum: All leading dailies report about the visit to the North Caucasus by Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Gil-Robles. Izvestia comments that the position on the Chechen referendum voiced by Gil-Robles practically coincides with that of the Russian side: the referendum should be treated as the beginning of a political process. Rossiyskaya gazeta carries a full-page interview with the Commissioner. Gil-Robles singles out three major tasks for the Chechen reconstruction: promotion of a political solution with the referendum as a first step; higher security for people; and material restoration of Chechnya and its capital (All media).

Unemployment goes up: At yesterday’s Cabinet meeting devoted to the development of Russian labour market, Labour Minister Pochinok said that the number of registered unemployed adults in Russia grew by 200,000 to 1.5 million last year. Pochinok believes that the unemployment rate increased notably “because 190,000 people in Chechnya were added”. The Minister also said that 21.6% of Russians earned less than the minimal wage (€60 a month). The Moscow Times points to a significant gap between official government and ILO statistics, which set the number of unemployed in Russia at 5 million (Kommersant, The Moscow Times, Interfax, Vremya novostei, Vremya MN).

New emissary of Maskhadov calls for talks with Maskhadov; political settlement prior to referendum: Yesterday Salambek Maigov, who claims to be a new emissary of Chechen rebel leader Maskhadov, called at a press conference in Moscow for talks of federal authorities with Maskhadov and insisted that a referendum and elections should be held only after a political settlement in the republic (Kommersant, Interfax, Vremya novostei, Vremya MN).

Mobile operator launches services in Chechnya: Media report that on Saturday the first national mobile operator, Megafon, will launch services in Chechnya, “a move the company hopes will help to end hostilities” in the region. Organizations and businesses will need to get permission from the FSB to use Megafon’s services (The Moscow Times).

18 februari 2003

Defence Ministry on servicemen casualties in Chechnya: The Russian Defence Ministry said yesterday that “from 1 October 1999 to 23 December 2002 all Russian security agencies suffered a total of 4,572 personnel casualties while another 15,549 were injured” (Interfax, The Moscow Times, Kommersant).

19 feburari 2003

Annual allocations for rehabilitation of Chechnya cut: Yesterday Prime Minister Kasyanov signed the programme for the rehabilitation of Chechnya in 2003. According to the programme, 3.5 billion roubles will be allocated, one billion less than last year. According to Kommersant, the reduction could be due to the misappropriation of 711 million roubles in Chechnya in 2002 (Kommersant, Interfax, Vremya novostei).

FM Ivanov confirms invitation to foreign observers to monitor Chechen referendum: After his talks with Spanish Foreign Minister Palacio yesterday, Foreign Minister Ivanov confirmed Russia’s invitation for international observers to monitor the Chechen referendum stressing that Russia “is interested in making the Chechen political settlement as transparent as possible” (Interfax).

Chechen Elections commission sets up procedure for voting of IDPs at referendum: Kommersant reports that yesterday the Chechen Elections commission determined the procedure for IDPs voting in the forthcoming referendum on the Chechen constitution. According to the daily, mobile voting stations will be set up on the Chechen-Ingush border. According to Kommersant, 20,000 copies of the draft Chechen constitution have already been delivered to tent camps (Kommersant).

General Troshev to leave the military for administrative post?: All media comment on yesterday’s statement by chief of ground forces Kormiltsev that General Troshev, well-known former commander of the North Caucasus military district, is leaving the armed forces for an administrative post. Almost immediately Defence Minister Ivanov denied the news. However, it did not prevent today’s dailies from speculating on Troshev’s new appointment. According to Kommersant, Troshev may be appointed presidential aide on North Caucasus. Izvestia believes that Troshev, who used to live in Grozny, might contest presidential elections in Chechnya (All media).

20 februari 2003

Three Chechen organizations added to U.S. terrorist list: Interfax quotes visiting U.S. congressman Lantos as saying that the U.S. has put three Chechen organizations on its list of terrorist organizations. Lantos also noted that the U.S. plans to add other terrorist organizations active in the North Caucasus to its list soon. Replying to a question on violations of human rights in Chechnya, he said that the U.S. sees Russia as an ally and partner, who “like us”, is not ideal (Interfax, Vremya novostei).

CoE, OSCE to monitor preparations for Chechen referendum: Interfax reports that the CoE and the OSCE plan to send their officers to observe the preparations for the referendum in Chechnya. Their representatives will arrive in Russia at the end of February (Interfax).

General Troshev to coordinate activities of law enforcement and defence agencies in Chechnya?: Nezavisimaya gazeta rejects yesterday’s media speculations about a possible new appointment for General Troshev, former commander of the North Caucasus military district, and claims that he will be appointed coordinator of law enforcement and defence agencies in Chechnya. According to the daily, this post did not exist before. The article is titled “General Troshev – super commander of Chechnya” (Nezavisimaya gazeta).

21 februari 2003

New TV channel starts broadcasting in Chechnya: A new regional TV channel started broadcasting in Chechnya yesterday. Kommersant reports that the new company was created under the Chechen Ministry of Press and will broadcast 12 hours a day covering the whole territory of the Chechen Republic (Kommersant).

Budanov case to be considered by Supreme Court on 28 February: On 28 February the Supreme Court’s military board will hold proceedings for the Budanov case. On 31 December 2002 a district military court in Rostov found Budanov temporarily insane at the time of the murder of a Chechen girl. However, both the prosecutor and the lawyer of the victim’s family appealed this decision in the Supreme Court (Interfax).

24 feburari 2003

Defenders of Fatherland Day celebrated; rallies in Moscow: Yesterday the Day of the Defenders of Fatherland, a national holiday, was celebrated in Russia. According to an opinion poll quoted by Interfax, 63% of Russians consider it an important holiday. President Putin visited the Moscow military hospital and talked to officers wounded in Chechnya. Both leftist and rightist forces used the holiday to hold rallies. Some 3,000 representatives of the left opposition marched along central Moscow streets with their slogans ranging from calls to defend the Russian army to political demands and calls to resist the threat of war in Iraq. On the same day about 200 members of the Union of Right Forces gathered in front of the Defence Ministry to support military reform (Interfax, TVS, NTV).

59th anniversary since deportation of Chechens by Stalin: Yesterday the 59th anniversary of forced deportation of Chechens to Kazakhstan was marked. TVS reports about enhanced security measures in major cities of Chechnya stressing that rebels traditionally use this day for resistance appeals. NTV informs that the anniversary was marked by a meeting of some 400 representatives of the Chechen public and clergy in Gudermes. Head of Chechen Administration Kadyrov attended the meeting (TVS, NTV).
25 februari 2003

North Caucasus: (i) Following a meeting with Chechen imams to discuss preparations for the 23 March referendum on the draft Chechen constitution, Head of the Chechen Administration Akhmad Kadyrov stressed that Chechen religious leaders “resolutely support” the referendum. Speaking on the security situation at the preparations for the referendum, Kadyrov said a set of measures have been devised to prevent serious provocations by illegal armed formations. (ii) Yesterday, Salambek Maigov, Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Eurasian Party and “representative of Ichkerian/Chechen President Maskhadov in the Russian Federation”, was excluded from the Party’s political council and his membership in the Party was suspended. According to Chairman of the Eurasian Party Niyazov, “Maigov’s public statements concerning the referendum in Chechnya are not quite consistent with the Party’s position on this issue”. (iii) Media report that former Interior Minister of Ingushetia Daud Korigov was killed by unidentified gunmen in Kazan (Republic of Tatarstan) last Friday. (Interfax, Ekho Moskvy, Izvestia, Kommersant, Vremya novostei).

26 februari 2003

Putin: too many checkpoints in Chechnya: Speaking at a Security Council meeting yesterday, President Putin stressed that checkpoints and command posts in Chechnya should be removed where there is no need for them, adding that anti-terrorist operations in Chechnya should be carried out in strict compliance with laws, in the mandatory presence of prosecutors. (All media).

IDPs able to vote in refugee camps?: Head of Chechen Civilian Administration Kadyrov said that the election commission did not intend to set up polling stations outside Chechnya in refugee camps for the constitutional referendum because under Russian legislation, only people with permanent registration can vote. IDPs “would be able to vote in the place where they are registered”. However, in an interview with Parlamentskaya gazeta, Kadyrov stressed that refugees living in camps in Ingushetia “would participate” in the referendum. Chairman of the Central Election Commission Veshnyakov said that he would visit Chechnya ahead of the constitutional referendum, adding that some 537,000 people are expected to vote at the referendum. (Interfax, Kommersant, Izvestia, Vremya novostei).

Military in Chechnya claims NGOs destabilize situation and sell aid: RIAN reports that according to the HQs of the counter-terror operation in the Northern Caucasus, some international human rights organisations are trying to destabilize the situation in Chechnya and in Chechen refugee camps in neighbouring Ingushetia, and that NGOs officials sell humanitarian aid through local retailers. (RIAN).

Basayev behind terrorist attack in Grozny?: Kommersant today publishes a front-page article called “Shamil Basayev took Grozny under its responsibility”, which reports that a video-tape presenting evidence of Chechen war-lord Basayev’s responsibility for the terrorist attack in Grozny on 27 December was published on Chechen separatists’ web yesterday. 72 people were killed in this terrorist attack on the building of Chechen Government. (Kommersant, Vremya novostei)

27 feburari 2003

Checkpoints to be removed in Grozny; DM says Russia may cut troops in Chechnya: (i) An Interior Ministry delegation departed for Chechnya yesterday to consider reducing the number of checkpoints in line with recent instruction by President Putin. (ii) Chechnya’s Military Commandant Lt.Gen. Abrashin said all checkpoints would be removed from the centre of Grozny early next month, adding that the current 60 checkpoints in Chechnya would be reduced by 20%. He also noted that federal troops had fully abandoned mopping-up operations. (iii) Visiting Baku yesterday, Defence Minister S.Ivanov pointed out that Russia might reduce its troops in Chechnya, adding, however, that there will be no “sharp reduction”. (First Channel, Interfax, RIAN, Kommersant, Vremya novostei).

Chechnya: preparation of referendum; 1,660 people missing: (i) According to Deputy Head of Chechen Civilian Administration Dzhabrailov, the final draft Chechen constitution will be considered by a republican Constitutional Assembly shortly before the 23 March referendum. Dzhabrailov noted that some members of the Chechen election committee resigned in response to physical threats, adding that about 5,000 people are currently working in 414 commissions. (ii) Chechnya’s Prosecutor Kravchenko said that since the beginning of the counter-terrorism operation in Chechnya in October 1999, some 1,660 people were missing, including civilians, law enforcement officials and servicemen. (Interfax, Vremya novostei, MT).

Nationalist newspaper reprimanded for publishing interview with Zakayev: The Press Ministry issued a warning to newspaper Zavtra after it published an interview with Chechen separatist envoy Zakayev, saying that the publication “incites ethnic enmity and justifies extremist activity in violation of the Laws on Mass Media and on Combating Terrorism”. (Ekho Moskvy, Kommersant).

28 februari 2003

Chechens to start receiving compensations for loss of property and housing?: Yesterday Finance Minister Kudrin announced that in March Chechen residents would start receiving compensations for loss of property and housing. Kommersant reports that in Grozny some 100,000 people were left homeless after the two wars. According to the daily, Chechen residents are sceptical about compensation promises qualifying them as “pre-referendum propaganda” (Kommersant, Nezavisimaya gazeta).

NGO against referendum; increase in disappearances in Chechnya: According to The Moscow Times, human rights organization Memorial claimed that the upcoming Chechen referendum will not reflect the will of the people, saying also that “it has documented an increase in kidnappings and disappearances linked to federal forces” (The Moscow Times).

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