Persoverzicht Tsjetsjenië - februari 2010

3 februari 2010

Chechnya President sues Novaya Gazeta: On 15 February, a Moscow court is due to consider Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov’s libel lawsuit against Novaya Gazeta over a series of articles published in the newspaper that accused him of involvement in murders and violence in Chechnya. On Tuesday, the sides failed to reach an out-of-court settlement over the lawsuit. Meanwhile, Interfax reports that Kadyrov’s lawyer Andrey Krasnenkov said that Chechen law enforcement agencies have submitted documents to the Moscow city police department in connection with statements at a press conference in 2008 by the head of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alekseyeva who claimed that “Kadyrov’s gangs travel around Chechnya and kill and abduct people”. (Interfax, ITAR-TASS, MT)

Russia’s Muslim organisations discuss prospects for unifying: Observers comment on consultations yesterday in Moscow between representatives of several Russian Muslim organisations to discuss prospects for the unification. In a special supplement, called ‘NG-Religions’, Nezavisimaya Gazeta says that Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has repeatedly spoken in favour of the creation of a single Muslim organisation. (Izvestia, Kommersant, NG)

Rosneft promises to build oil refinery in Chechnya: Head of the largest Russian oil company Rosneft, Sergey Bogdanchikov, said that the company would start building an oil refinery in Grozny, Chechnya, next year. The refinery will have a capacity to produce 1 million tonnes of petroleum products per year. The plant would become operational in 2013 and the decision to construct the plant has been approved by the Rosneft board, Bogdanchikov said at a meeting with Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov. (Vedomosti)

5 februari 2010

Five Interior Troops servicemen killed in Chechnya: According to media reports, five Interior Troops servicemen were killed and six others wounded in a clash with a group of militants on Thursday in Chechnya. In the meantime, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov yesterday stated that six militants were killed in an operation in southern Chechnya, adding that one of the killed militants may have been an Arab mercenary. (Interfax, NG)

8 februari 2010

Chechnya, Dagestan: (i) Five Interior Troops servicemen were killed and at least six others wounded in a clash with militants last Thursday in Chechnya. Also on Thursday, six militants were killed in Chechnya in an operation led by Duma member Adam Delimkhanov. (ii) Senior police officer Gapiz Isayev was killed on Friday in Dagestan. Local police said the killing could have been revenge by illegal armed groups for Isayev’s role in operations against militants. In a separate attack also on Friday in Makhachkala, city police chief Akhmed Magomedov was killed along with his driver and two bodyguards. (iii) Kommersant (Saturday’s issue) reports on appointments made by Deputy PM and Presidential envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District Alexander Khloponin. (Gazeta, Kommersant, MT, NG, Novaya Gazeta, VN)

9 februari 2010

Medvedev nominates governors of four regions: President Dmitry Medvedev has nominated local lawmaker Magomedsalam Magomedov for the post of President of the volatile republic of Dagestan to replace the incumbent President Mukhu Aliyev. Magomedov is the son of the former head of Dagestan Magomedali Magomedov. Medvedev has also nominated Lev Kuznetsov for the post of new Krasnoyarsk governor to replace Alexander Khloponin who was appointed as Deputy PM and Presidential envoy to the new North Caucasus Federal District. In the past, Kuznetsov was deputy Krasnoyarsk governor. Medvedev has nominated Alexander Vinnikov for the post of governor of the Jewish autonomous region (Russia’s Far East). Medvedev has also nominated Natalia Komarova for the post of governor of the Khanty-Mansiysk autonomous district. Komarova, who may become the second female governor in Russia after St. Petersburg’s Valentina Matviyenko, is expected to replace Alexander Filipenko, called by some experts “one of the best governors” (Kommersant). Commentators do not rule out further reshuffles in the gubernatorial corps. (Gazeta, Izvestia, Kommersant, MT, RBK daily, RG, Vedomosti, VN)

Court outlaws ‘Caucasus Emirate’ as terrorist: The Russian Supreme Court has banned activity of the ‘Imarat Kavkaz’ (‘Caucasus Emirate’) and qualified it as a terrorist organisation. The organisation, which is co-led by Chechen warlord Doku Umarov, has claimed responsibility for a number of high-profile crimes in Russia. (Gazeta, Interfax, Kommersant)

Human rights activists detained, released in Chechnya: Activists of human rights groups – Dmitry Yegoshin, Roman Veretennikov and Vladislav Sadykov – have been detained by police in Chechnya’s Shali district and held for 15 hours with no explanation. On Monday, they were released. The activists had been investigating abductions and killings in Chechnya and were detained after they met with a person who promised to provide information on the abduction of a local resident. Kommersant cites Chechen Human Rights Ombudsman Nurdi Nukhazhiyev as saying that rights activists from other Russian regions should “work in close interaction with local NGOs” and should not use in their work “methods of espionage”. (Interfax, Kommersant, MT)

12 februari 2010

Kadyrovseesno threat of separatism in North Caucasus: In his interview to Rossiskaya Gazeta, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov dismissed the existence of separatist moods in the North Caucasus, but said that small groups of militants are still active in the volatile region. He said that some forces were still seeking to destabilize Northern Caucasus, knowing its strategic and political importance for Russia. Kadyrov, who often faces accusations of human rights abuses, reiterated his willingness to cooperate with human rights organizations. Kadyrov also said that there is no sufficient coordination between Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan regarding the fight against terrorism in the region. (Rossiakaya Gazeta, Interfax)

Ingush Militants killed:Federal security forces killed 10 militants in Ingushetia on Thursday. The gun battle occurred near the border with Chechnya early Thursday. An anti –terrorist operation was launched and Ingush militants were killed. No information on federal loses was received. (Kommersant, Interfax)

15 februari 2010

Ingushetia operation against militants:At least 20 insurgents and 4 civilians have been killed in an operation by Russian security forces in Ingushetia. Fighting erupted after troops surrounded a group of militants in a mountain forest near Chechnya's border. (All media)

17 februari 2010

Cherckizov market owner back in Russia:Telman Ismailov, a Chechen businessman, the owner of the huge Cherkizovsky market place in Moscow, which was closed for selling smuggled and health hazard goods, returned to Grozny from Turkey and discussed with the Chechen President Kadyrov his investing of RUR1bn in various projects in Chechnya. Sources from the Chechen Government say that Ismailov is allowed returning to Russia on the condition of his investing in Chechnya. A source from public prosecution bodies now says that no criminal case has been filed against Ismailov in the Cherkizov market case. (Vedomosti)

19 februari 2010

British lawmakers visit Chechnya: (i) A delegation of British Parliamentarians, led by Lord Frank Judd, visited Chechnya. Lord Judd is quoted as having described as “very impressive” the reconstruction of Grozny. He also stressed that British lawmakers “have raised [Chechen rights activist] Natalia Estemirova’s case very strongly with authorities”. Kommersant recalls that Lord Judd, while serving in the past as the PACE’s rapporteur for Chechnya, harshly criticised the human rights situation in the Northern Caucasus. (ii) The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Russia should pay more than €120,000 to relatives of two Chechen residents, who disappeared in 2002. (Interfax, Kommersant, MT)

Medvedev launches Interior Ministry reform, fires high-ranking police officials: The press reports widely on the announcement by President Dmitry Medvedev of a massive police reform in a bid to improve the police force criticised for corruption and other abuses. Speaking at a session of the Interior Ministry board on Thursday in Moscow, Medvedev said that police personnel numbers would be cut by 20% by 1 January 2012 and that starting from 2012 public security police would be funded exclusively from the federal budget. He also pledged to take personal control of the reforms and added that had instructed Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev to submit a plan for improving police work within a month. Medvedev also stressed that the police force will be freed of certain duties. E.g. he ordered that sobering-up stations be managed by the Health and Social Development Ministry, and not by the Interior Ministry. The Interior Ministry will also no longer be in charge of deporting foreign citizens out of Russia. Medvedev has dismissed 17 high-ranking police officials, including Deputy Interior Ministers Nikolai Ovchinnikov and Arkady Yedelev. Presidential Administration officials Sergey Gerasimov and Sergey Bulavin have been appointed new Deputy Interior Ministers. Some observers do not rule out that Yedelev may get a job at the office of the Presidential Envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District. Experts, contacted by Nezavisimaya Gazeta, expressed the view that Medvedev’s resoluteness to reform the Interior Ministry indicates the strengthening of his positions. In the meantime, Russian human rights activists plan to hold a rally on 28 February in Moscow to demand inter alia that Interior Minister Nurgaliyev be dismissed. (All media)

26 februari 2010

Crime situation in Northern Caucasus discussed: (i) Representatives of the Prosecutor General’s Office, the FSB, the Interior Ministry and the Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) discussed the crime situation in the North Caucasus Federal District at a meeting on Thursday in Yessentuki (the Stavropol territory). Prosecutor General Yury Chaika, who chaired the meeting, criticised law enforcement agencies’ work in the region. (ii) Kommersant reports on “sensational” details of an investigation into the killing in June 2009 of Dagestani Interior MinisterAdilgerei Magomedtagirov. The daily writes that five suspects in the killing are former and acting servicemen of law enforcement agencies. (iii) Dagestan’s legislature yesterday confirmed Magomed Abdulayev as Dagestan’s PM. (Kommersant, RG)

Chechen rights activist Estemirova murder case solved?: An unnamed law enforcement official told the press on Thursday that investigators have identified the suspected killer of Chechen human rights activist Natalia Estemirova who was killed in July 2009 in the Northern Caucasus. The official added that investigators were now searching for the suspect. (MT, RIAN)

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