Persoverzicht Tsjetsjenië - december 2014

4 december 2014

At least five policemen, nine militants killed in Chechnya: At least five policemen were killed and several others were wounded in a shootout with militants early on Thursday in Grozny (capital of Chechnya). Reportedly, a group of gunmen attacked a traffic police checkpoint in Grozny and then broke into the House of Press in the Chechen capital. Some militants reportedly have been blocked in a school building. According to Chechen head Ramzan Kadyrov, nine militants have been killed in an operation. Kadyrov said that the militants had planned to stage terrorist attacks in Grozny. According to a source in law enforcement agencies, ten law enforcement officers were killed and up to 20 were wounded during the operation in Grozny. (Gazeta.ru, Interfax, TASS)

5 december 2014

Ten policemen killed in Grozny fighting: President Putin's state-of-the-nation address on Thursday was overshadowed by an attack staged early Thursday in Grozny (capital of Chechnya) by militants who attacked a traffic police checkpoint and seized the Press House and a school. Some reports claim that up to 100 militants participated in the raid. The National Antiterrorism Committee (NAK) said that ten police officers have been killed and 28 others wounded in an operation in Grozny, adding that firearms, grenades and more than 20 homemade explosive devices were found in the buildings. Up to ten militants were killed. One civilian has suffocated to death in a fire in the Press House building. Moskovsky Komsomolets reports that the 'Imarat Kavkaz' ('Caucasus Emirate') terrorist organisation claimed responsibility for the raid. Dailies do not rule out that the militant attack on Grozny could have been organised by Aslan Byutukayev (aka 'emir Khamzat'), a native of Chechnya's Achkhoi-Martan district. Byutukayev is known as commander of the 'Riyadus Salikhiin' suicide battalion and is wanted over his role in organising the 2011 suicide bombing at Moscow's Domodedovo airport. Chairman of Russia's Islamic Committee Geidar Dzhemal suggested that the terrorist attack in Grozny has been connected to Putin's address to the Federal Assembly. The media also note that this was the second terrorist attack in Grozny in the past several months: in October, a suicide bomber blew himself up, killing five policemen and wounding 12 others. Some commentators recall that Islamic State militants had threatened to unleash a war in the North Caucasus. Chechen Parliament speaker Abdurakhmanov was quoted as saying that the attackers in Grozny might have acted on orders from Western special services. In his state-of-the-nation address, Putin expressed confidence that the local law enforcement authorities are capable to deal with the 'rebels'. Chechen head Ramzan Kadyrov told reporters in the Kremlin that he had personally led the security operation in Grozny. Later on Thursday, Putin met with Kadyrov. RBK daily calls the attack in Grozny a challenge to the Kremlin. (Gazeta.ru, Izvestia, Kommersant, MK, NG, RBK daily, RG, TASS; NTV, Rossiya 1, Ekho Moskvy)

8 december 2014

Chechnya's Kadyrov says militants' families to be evicted from Chechnya: According to updated reports, 14 police officers have been killed in an operation against militants in Grozny on 4 December. Chechen head Ramzan Kadyrov said Friday that 11 militants had been killed in the operation. According to Kadyrov, Akhmat Umarov, the brother of late militant leader Doku Umarov, could have been behind the terrorist attack in Grozny. The Chechen leader said on his Instagram account that "if a militant kills a policeman or someone else, the militant's family will be evicted from Chechnya."(Gazeta.ru, RBK daily, RG, TASS; Ekho Moskvy)

10 december 2014

Blog

Ivan Dovidov draws parallels between Donetsk and Grozny. He expresses the opinion that the situation in Chechnya, and its transformation into a full-fledged state should be used as an example for Novorossiya and the rest of Russia.

11 december 2014

Prospects for Minsk-3 unclear: Kommersant speaks of unclear perspectives for holding a new round of Minsk talks on the settlement in Donbass. Representatives of the self-proclaimed 'Donetsk People's Republic' and 'Lugansk People's Republic' earlier rejected a proposal to hold the Contact Group meeting on 9 December, while a video conference at which the conflicting sides were supposed to set the new date for the talks was cancelled on Wednesday. Representatives of DPR and LPR have blamed Kiev for disrupting the video conference. (ii) According to some reports, up to 300 Chechens could be fighting on the side of pro-Russian rebels in Donbass. Media earlier reported about natives of Chechnya who are fighting on the side of the Ukrainian government forces. (iii) On a visit to Australia, Ukrainian President Poroshenko again blamed Russia for the conflict in Ukraine's south-east. "Please stop the fire. Please release the hostages. Please withdraw your troops from my territory," he said addressing Russia. (iv) The ninth Russian humanitarian convoy is expected to deliver humanitarian aid to eastern Ukraine by the end of this week. Izvestia reports that member of Russia's Public Chamber Georgy Fyodorov and the association 'Law Against Fascism' have prepared about 200 lawsuits from victims of the military conflict in Ukraine. The lawsuits will be submitted to the European Court of Human Rights. (v) Dailies report on a wave of criticism in the West towards prominent opera singer Anna Netrebko over her donation of RUR1 million to the Donetsk Opera and Ballet Theatre and her photo with 'parliament speaker of Novorossiya' Oleg Tsarev holding a flag of 'Novorossiya'. (Gazeta.ru, Izvestia, Kommersant, KP, MK, RG, RIAN)

Human rights activists concerned over burning of homes of militants' relatives in Chechnya: Reportedly, several homes of relatives of the militants who had been involved in the 4 December assault on Grozny have been burned in Chechnya. Human rights activists have voiced concern over the reports. Last week, Chechen head Ramzan Kadyrov warned that relatives of terrorists would be evicted from Chechnya and their homes destroyed. Meanwhile, Kadyrov wrote on his Instagram page that the authorities have information that "the Western special services' money from Akhmad Umarov was transferred to gunmen by a man named Kalyapin." (Gazeta.ru, Kommersant, MK, Novye Izvestia)

12 december 2014

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Anton Orekh comments on the relations between President Putin and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov in light of the recent terrorist attack in Grozny. The blogger reports that the houses of terrorists' relatives have been destroyed on Ramzan Kadyrov's order. While human rights activist Igor Kalyapin has stated that the destruction of the houses was against the law, Kadyrov called Kalapin a "terrorist" or a "Western agent". The blogger argues that Kadyrov has numerously broken the law and showed nonconformity with the Russian Constitution with Putin's silence.

15 december 2014

Human rights office set on fire in Grozny: The office of the Committee Against Torture was set on fire on Saturday in Grozny. Reportedly, two lawyers of the Committee Against Torture were detained for several hours. Media recall that last week, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov accused the head of the Committee Against Torture Igor Kalyapin of supporting terrorism. Novye Izvestia publishes an interview with Kalyapin. Meanwhile, up to 50,000 people took part in a government-organised rally against terrorism on Saturday in Grozny. (Gazeta.ru, Kommersant, MT, Novye Izvestia, Vedomosti)

17 december 2014

One-man pickets held in Moscow in support of human rights activists in Chechnya: Representatives of Amnesty International staged a series of one-man pickets on Tuesday in Moscow to protest against the persecution of human rights activists and the burning down of homes in Chechnya. (Novye Izvestia)

19 december 2014

Putin's major press conference: In his annual press conference on Thursday, which lasted for more than three hours, President Putin answered 53 questions on a wide range of issues with an emphasis on the economic situation in Russia and the rouble crisis. The situation in Ukraine, Western sanctions against Russia, state companies, Chechnya, the 'fifth column' and the opposition, pardoning of Khodorkovsky, NATO, plans for 2018 were among the themes. Judging on Putin's answers, Nezavisimaya Gazeta speaks of Putin's optimism that the country is on the right path under his leadership, his tough anti-American rhetoric and confidence in his own popularity. Vedomosti says that Putin's press conference went with no surprise, adding that it was to a large extent a repetition of the President's recent speeches such as the state-of-the nation-address, speech at the All-Russia People's Front forum and statements at the Valdai Club in Sochi. Putin's position on Ukraine did not change. He again compared Russia to a bear, whom 'malign forces' want to chain up, to rip out his teeth and claws, notes Vedomosti. In the view of expert Mikhail Vingogradov, Putin made clear that foreign policy is more important for him than the economy. At the same time, analyst Fyodor Lukyanov found no new signals in Putin's statements on foreign policy issues. (All media; transcript of Putin's press conference in Russian is available on the website: http://kremlin.ru/news/47250; in English: http://eng.kremlin.ru/news/23406)

22 december 2014

North Caucasus: In a lengthy interview with Izvestia, Chechen head Ramzan Kadyrov addresses the security situation in Chechnya and the fight against terrorism. Meanwhile, newspapers report that last Friday, the house of relatives of a suspected militant was destroyed in Chechnya. RBK daily remarks that this happened after President Putin, at his major press conference, called such actions illegitimate. (ii) Reportedly, in a video, the leaders of the Caucasus Emirate's Dagestan network have pledged their loyalty to the Islamic State. (Izvestia, MT, Novaya Gazeta, RBK daily; Kadyrov's interview is available on the website: http://izvestia.ru/news/580923)

25 december 2014

Blog

Victor Levanov comments on the question raised by Ksenia Sobchak at President Putin's recent press conference. The blogger argues that Sobchak's criticism of Chechen leader Kadyrov's actions was not grounded, and that she had personal reasons for asking the provocative question.

29 december 2014

Three militants killed in Ingushetia: (i) Three militants, including a gang leader, were killed in an operation in Ingushetia's Sunzha district on Sunday, the National Antiterrorism Committee said. (ii) Chechen head Ramzan Kadyrov on Sunday declared support to President Putin and emphasized that Chechen volunteers are ready to defend Russia, its stability and borders. (Izvestia, RIAN)

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