Persoverzicht Tsjetsjenië - december 2013

5 december 2013

United Russia lawmakers in fistfight: Media report on a fistfight in the Duma on Tuesday between United Russia Duma deputies Alexei Zhuravlyov and Adam Delimkhanov. Reportedly, the brawl broke out over Zhuravlyov's earlier comments about Chechnya. The fistfight ended when a golden gun reportedly fell from Delimkhanov. Duma speaker Naryshkin said that participation in the brawl is unworthy of Duma deputy's status. According to latest reports, Zhuravlyov and Delimkhanov have settled the conflict. Press recalls that in the past, Delimkhanov had been wanted by Dubai police on suspicion of involvement in the 2009 killing of former commander of the Russian Defense Ministry's Vostok battalion Sulim Yamadayev. (Gazeta.ru, MT, NG, RBK daily, RG; Ekho Moskvy)

11 december 2013

Chechnya, Dagestan most corrupt regions in procurement sector: (i) RBK daily reports that Chechnya and Dagestan top the 'anti-rating' of Russian regions most prone to corruption in the public procurement sector. (ii) In an operation in Dagestan, law enforcement officers have detained 52 people suspected of involvement in activities of the banned Islamic organization Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami. (RBK daily, RG)

16 december 2013

Detentions of Cherkess public activists: (i) Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on detentions by law enforcement officers of Cherkess activists on Friday in Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachayevo-Cherkessia and Adygeya on suspicion of links to adherents of Wahhabism. Head of a Cherkess (Adyg) public organization Mukhamed Cherkesov, contacted by the daily, views the detentions as an act of 'intimidation' ahead of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. In his view, law enforcement agencies suspect activists of planning protests in Sochi. (ii) In an editorial, Vedomosti argues that the upcoming Olympic Games in Sochi could open new opportunities for "the fight for political influence and financial flows in the North Caucasus." (iii) The press cites French Foreign Minister Fabius, who announced that French President Hollande will not attend the Sochi Olympics. (NG, Vedomosti; Ekho Moskvy)

17 december 2013

Four law enforcement officers, four militants killed in North Caucasus: Four militants, including the leader of a militant cell, have been killed in an operation in Kabardino-Balkaria. In a clash with militants on Monday, three policemen and one border guard were killed in Dagestan. (Gazeta.ru, MT, RIAN)

24 december 2013

Rights activists propose to strengthen monitoring of human rights situation in North Caucasus: Izvestia reports on human rights activists' proposal to strengthen monitoring of the human rights situation in the North Caucasus. (Izvestia)

25 december 2013

Experts assess threats to Sochi Olympics: In a report on 'levels of security and risks during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi', experts of the Centre for Political Information called the 'Imarat Kavkaz' ('Caucasus Emirate') terrorist organization led by North Caucasus militant leader Doku Umarov the major threat to the Sochi Olympics. (Izvestia)

National Antiterrorism Committee: 12 terrorist attacks prevented in Russia in 2013: Head of the National Antiterrorism Committee, FSB chief Bortnikov announced on Tuesday that more than 260 militants, including 42 militant leaders, have been killed in the North Caucasus in 2013. He also said that 12 terrorist attacks have been prevented this year. (RG)

No direct governor elections in Kabardino-Balkaria?: The legislature of the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria has passed a first reading of a draft bill cancelling direct gubernatorial elections in the republic. Therefore, Kabardino-Balkaria could become the fourth North Caucasus republic (after Dagestan, Ingushetia and North Ossetia) where the head of the region will be elected by regional deputies. (Gazeta.ru)

30 december 2013

Three killed in car blast in Pyatigorsk: (i) Three people were killed in a car explosion outside the building of a traffic police station on Friday evening in Pyatigorsk (Stavropol territory). Meanwhile, Gazeta.ru reports that prosecutors do not consider the explosion a terrorist attack. A case has been opened under several articles of the Criminal Code, including murder, attempt on the life of a law enforcement officer and others. (ii) The National Antiterrorism Committee said that a militant from Doku Umarov's gang was killed in an operation on Saturday in Dagestan. (Gazeta.ru, Ekho Moskvy)

At least 17 killed in Volgograd train station bombing; explosion on Volgograd trolleybus kills at least 14: At least 17 people were killed and up to 50 were injured in an explosion at a train station in Volgograd on Sunday. The attack was perpetrated near the metal detectors at the entrance to the station packed with passengers before the New Year's holiday. Initially, the National Antiterrorism Committee said that the attack might have been carried out by a female suicide bomber. The latter has been identified as Oksana Aslanova (or Arslanova), who had been married to two militants killed by law enforcement officers. Aslanova was reported to be a friend of Naida Asiyalova who blew herself up in a Volgograd bus in October. However, a spokesman for the Investigative Committee later did not rule out that a man and a woman might have been involved in the bombing. According to some reports, the suspected male suicide bomber has been identified as a man with the last name Pavlov. The attack has been condemned by leaders and organizations around the world, including the EU, the US, the NATO SG and many others. At least 14 people were killed and more than 20 injured in a blast that hit a trolleybus in Volgograd on Monday morning in the second deadly attack in the city in less than 24 hours. Preliminary reports indicate that the blast on the trolleybus could have been carried out by a suicide bomber. Sunday's bombing at the train station and Monday's explosion may be linked. The attacks were perpetrated two months after the female suicide bomber blew up a bus in Volgograd in October, killing seven people and injuring 36. The latest attacks came just several weeks ahead of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, raising security concerns. North Caucasus militant leader Doku Umarov earlier this year called on his supporters to disrupt the Olympic Games in Sochi. Volgograd, the site of the Battle of Stalingrad during WWII, has a population of about one million. Volgograd is a large transportation hub in southern Russia. (Gazeta.ru, Interfax, Izvestia, Lenta.ru, MK, MT, Newsru.com, RG, RIAN; Ekho Moskvy)

31 december 2013

Ongoing violence in North Caucasus: The National Antiterrorism Committee said Monday that three suspected militants were killed in an operation in Kabardino-Balkaria. Two militants were killed in Dagestan. In a separate incident on Monday, a police officer and one militant were killed in Dagestan. A passerby was killed and two policemen were injured after an explosive device went off near a traffic police car in Khasavyurt (Dagestan). (Gazeta.ru, ITAR-TASS, Kommersant.ru, RIAN)

Death toll in Volgograd bombings reaches 33 as Russia steps up security: The death toll in two bomb attacks in Volgograd has grown to 33. According to latest reports, 18 people died after Sunday's suicide bombing at Volgograd's main train station and 15 people died as a result of Monday's attack on a trolleybus. More than 100 people were injured in the two attacks. Five days of mourning have been declared in the Volgograd region. According to some reports, the bomb at the Volgograd train station has been set off by Pavel Pechyonkin, a member of a gang operating in Dagestan who was born in the Republic of Mari El. Reportedly, Pechyonkin had converted to Islam and joined Dagestani militants in 2012. Investigators said the attack on the trolleybus might have been carried out also by a suicide bomber. President Putin has ordered to tighten security across the country in the wake of the bombings in Volgograd. Press reports that regional governors, alongside with security and law enforcement agencies, are made responsible for anti-terrorism measures. Commentators, meanwhile, speak of the special services' failure to prevent the attacks. Gazeta.ru finds it strange that President Putin remained silent after the two attacks in Volgograd which claimed the lives of dozens of people. Gazeta.ru also remarks that "security is perceived by the authorities, who consist primarily of former and current representatives of the special services, as the security of the regime and not ordinary citizens." (Gazeta.ru, Lenta.ru, MT, RIAN)

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