Persoverzicht Tsjetsjenië – januari 2010

12 januari 2010

Chechnya President orders to form group to detain separatist leader : (i) Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has ordered Chechen Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov to set up a special group to look for and detain Chechen separatist leader Doku Umarov. (ii) Kommersant recalls that last month, a militant group claimed responsibility for the killing in November of Orthodox priest Daniil Sysoyev over his criticism of Islam. The group said that Sysoyev was killed by “one of our brothers who took up the oath of [Doku Umarov]”. ( Izvestia, Kommersant )

13 januari 2010

Additional probe to be conducted in Kadyrov suit vs. Novaya Gazeta : The Moscow prosecutor’s office has annulled a decision by the Moscow police department (GUVD) to turn down Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov’s lawsuit against Novaya Gazeta chief editor Dmitry Muratov and three other journalists and ordered an additional investigation in connection with the lawsuit. ( Interfax , Kommersant )

14 januari 2010

Reshuffles in the Defence Ministry : Reshuffles in the Defence Ministry are high in the news. Alexander Postnikov has been appointed the new commander of Russia’s Ground Forces to replace Vladimir Boldyrev. Vladimir Chirkin has been appointed the commander of the Siberian Military District (SibVO) to replace Postnikov, and Alexander Galkin has been appointed the commander of the North Caucasus Military District (SKVO) to replace Sergey Makarov. The relevant decrees have been signed by President Medvedev. Vremya novostei remarks that both Makarov and Boldyrev were the key participants of the August 2008 “operation to force Georgia to peace”. Several other senior military officials have also been dismissed. Some experts, cited by Vedomosti, express the view that the reshuffles were initiated by the Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov and backed by Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, adding that the appointees support military reform, launched by Serdyukov and Makarov. ( Gazeta, Izvestia, Kommersant, NG, RG, Vedomosti, VN )

20 januari 2010

Medvedev sets up North Caucasus Federal District, appoints Krasnoyarsk governor as envoy : President Medvedev on Tuesday announced the establishment of the North Caucasus Federal District and appointed Krasnoyarsk governor Alexander Khloponin, 44, as Deputy PM and Presidential envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District. Medvedev also submitted a draft bill to the Duma allowing Khloponin to jointly serve as a Government member and an official with the Presidential Administration. Edkham Akbulatov has been appointed acting Krasnoyarsk governor. The North Caucasus Federal District, which will be an eighth Federal District, will comprise the Republics of Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachayevo-Cherkessia and North Ossetia and the Stavropol territory and have the capital in the Stavropol territory’s resort of Pyatigorsk. Khloponin, whose appointment is viewed as unexpected, is expected to focus on the socio-economic development. The heads of the North Caucasus regions in public remarks welcomed Medvedev’s decision. Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov expressed hope that the setting up of the North Caucasus Federal District and Khloponin’s appointment could boost the region’s economic growth and create new jobs. In the view of Ingush President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, Khloponin would focus on the economic development and the fight against corruption. Political scientist Stanislav Belkovsky said in a comment that President Medvedev intends to solve the problems in the Northern Caucasus with the help of financial and economic levers. According to media reports, there were initial proposals to nominate a military for the new post. Some commentators view Khloponin as a “compromise figure”. Some other experts, however, expressed doubts that Khloponin would be able to do much in the Northern Caucasus, hit by the rising violence. Ingush opposition leader Magomed Khazbiyev is quoted by Gazeta as saying that “nothing will change” in the wake of Khloponin’s appointment. ( All media )

Special group created in Chechnya to detain warlord Doku Umarov : (i) A special group has been set up in Chechnya with the aim to find and detain Chechen separatist leader Doku Umarov on the orders from Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov. Kadyrov yesterday announced that four militants were killed in an operation in Chechnya, including Chingiskhan Gishayev who is considered as a close ally to Doku Umarov. (ii) Electronic media report that four suspected militants were killed early on Wednesday in Dagestan. (iii) In a special supplement, ‘NG-Religions’, Nezavisimaya Gazeta analyses a threat of Wahhabism in the Northern Caucasus and entire Russia. The daily says that the authorities are losing the war against extremists in the Northern Caucasus, and adds that militants, “squeezed out from Chechnya by Akhmat Kadyrov and his son, Ramzan Kadyrov, have consolidated in the neighbouring regions and are now strong enough to launch counterattacks on Chechen territory”. ( Kommersant, NG, VN, RIAN )

21 januari 2010

Envoy promises to solve North Caucasus problems : Deputy PM and Presidential envoy to the newly created North Caucasus Federal District Alexander Khloponin was introduced to North Caucasus leaders by the head of the Presidential Administration Sergey Naryshkin yesterday in the Stavropol territory. Khloponin stressed that he does not see any problem in the Northern Caucasus that could not be solved and announced his intention to visit all the regions of the new District, i.e. Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachayevo-Cherkessia, North Ossetia and the Stavropol territory. Chechen and Ingush Presidents, Ramzan Kadyrov and Yunus-Bek Yevkuorv, welcomed the federal authorities’ decision to focus on the socio-economic development of the region. ( Gazeta, Izvestia, Kommersant, MT, RG, Vedomosti, VN )

Medvedev to meet Council of Europe’s Hammarberg : President Dmitry Medvedev meets Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg today in Moscow. Observers say the recent ratification by the Duma of Protocol 14 to the European Convention on Human Rights is expected to be on the agenda. Hammarberg is likely to raise the issue of investigations of the murders of rights activists Natalia Estemirova and Zarema Sadulayeva last year in the Northern Caucasus. The investigation into the death in prison of Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergey Magnitsky may also be addressed. The press, in the meantime, cites an annual report by Human Rights Watch which said that the human rights situation in Russia has deteriorated. ( Interfax, ITAR-TASS, Ekho Moskvy )

22 januari 2010

Medvedev meets Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner : (i) Following meeting with President Medvedev yesterday in Moscow, Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg said that reforming the Russian justice system and the situation in the Northern Caucasus were high on the agenda. He voiced concern over abductions and murders in Chechnya and Ingushetia, and expressed hope that the establishment of the new North Caucasus Federal District and the appointment of Alexander Khloponin as Presidential Envoy and Deputy PM would help improve the situation in the region. (ii) In an interview with Izvestia, the first deputy head of the Presidential Administration Vladislav Surkov addresses the upcoming meeting of the Russian-US working group on civil society on 27 January in Washington. Surkov mentions inter alia the issues of immigration, the fight against corruption and crimes against children and the situation of convicts on the agenda. (iii) Novye Izvestia cites separate statements by Amnesty International accusing Russia and the US of human rights abuses. While Amnesty International called on Russia to stop persecuting human rights activists and bring to justice those responsible for the murders of lawyer Markelov and Novaya Gazeta journalist Baburova and rights activist Estemirova, President Obama’s Administration is criticised over non-fulfilment of its commitment to close the Guantanamo detention facility. ( Interfax, Izvestia, Novye Izvestia, RBK daily, VN )

Court rejects Memorial appeal : The Moscow City Court yesterday upheld a lower court’s ruling that the Memorial human rights centre should pay a total of RUR 70,000 to Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov for defamatory statements linking him to the death of rights activist Natalia Estemirova. ( MT, Novye Izvestia )

25 januari 2010

Putin calls to improve socio-economic situation in the Northern Caucasus : (i) On Saturday in Pyatigorsk, PM Putin held a meeting with his new Deputy and Presidential envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District, Alexander Khloponin, at which he outlined several priorities for the development of the region, focusing on the task to improve the socio-economic situation in the Northern Caucasus. Saying that peace has returned to the Northern Caucasus, he called for the region’s economy to be rebuilt. Putin ordered Khloponin to “seriously improve people’s quality of life”, “create new jobs, stimulate the development of SMEs, local industry, agriculture and infrastructure”. On Friday, the Duma approved in all three readings a draft bill that allows Khloponin to serve as a Cabinet member and an official with the Presidential Administration. (ii) In an interview with Gazeta, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov welcomes the President’s decision to establish the new North Caucasus Federal District and pledged to help Khloponin if needed. At the same time, Kadyrov noted that the specific character of relations in the Caucasus and Siberia differs. In an interview with Izvestia, Kadyrov comments on the upcoming opening of the customs office in Chechnya. (iii) The press reports that the Chechen Government has compiled a list of jurors for jury trials. Chechnya is the last Russian region where jury trials have not been held. ( Gazeta, Izvestia, MT, NG, RG, RIAN, VN )

26 januari 2010

Kadyrov wants creation of single Council of Muftis in Russia : Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov says Russia needs to create a single Council of Muftis comprising all spiritual directorates of Russian Muslims. Kadyrov believes that Russia needs a Council of Muftis led by a man with a lot of experience in politics, and in-depth knowledge of Islam. Speaking about his participation in 2012 presidential elections in Russia, Kadyrov called setting a website backing his nomination a provocation. ( Interfax )

28 januari 2010

Public Chamber sets up working group on Northern Caucasus : (i) A working group on the Northern Caucasus has been set up within the Public Chamber. The group will be headed by Channel One anchorman Maxim Shevchenko. Shevchenko stressed that he intends to conduct dialogue with Deputy PM and Presidential Envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District Alexander Khloponin. (ii) RBK daily cites Rosstat data on unemployment in Russia, which revealed the highest level of unemployment in 2009 in Ingushetia (56.1%). ( Izvestia, RBK daily )

Chechen suspect cleared in Paul Klebnikov’s murder case : Investigators have dropped charges against Magomed Edilsultanov, a Chechen suspect in the 2004 killing of the former editor of Forbes Russian edition Paul Klebnikov. In the meantime, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov accused businessman Boris Berezovsky, who is residing in the UK, of being behind the murder of Chechen human rights activist Natalia Estemirova. ( Interfax, MT )

29 januari 2010

Medvedev tasks FSB to fight against terrorism, budget embezzlement : Addressing a meeting of the Federal Security Service (FSB) yesterday in Moscow, President Dmitry Medvedev outlined the tasks of the fight against terrorism and prevention of budget embezzlement as priorities for the FSB. He said inter alia that the FSB had prevented more than 80 terrorist attacks and killed more than 500 gunmen last year, and emphasized that the attacks in Ingushetia, Dagestan and Chechnya showed that “terrorism remains the most serious threat to society”. Medvedev described “weak economy and lack of prospects” as “the roots of the majority of problems in the Northern Caucasus” and called on the FSB to control budgetary spending in the new North Caucasus Federal District. He also pledged that Russia “will continue helping to strengthen the borders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia”. Kommersant writes that Medvedev spoke of the need to modernise the national security system as he said that the FSB should be provided with the most modern equipment. ( Interfax, ITAR-TASS, Izvestia, Kommersant, RG, VN )

Abbas invites Chechnya’s Kadyrov to visit Palestinian Authority : (i) Palestinian National Authority (PNA) leader Mahmoud Abbas has invited Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov to visit the PNA. The invitation was conveyed during a meeting between Abbas and Chechen PM Odes Baisultanov on Wednesday in Moscow. (ii) In a radio interview on Thursday, businessman Boris Berezovsky, who is residing in the UK, dismissed Ramzan Kadyrov’s claims that he was allegedly behind the murder of Chechen human rights activist Natalia Etsemirova in July 2009. ( ITAR-TASS; Ekho Moskvy )

Adyg public figures concerned over Adygeya’s non-inclusion in North Caucasus Federal District : In a front-page article, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on concerns expressed by Adygeya (Circassian) public figures that the Republic of Adygeya was not included in the new North Caucasus Federal District and remains part of the Southern Federal District. They pointed out in this context that the creation of the North Caucasus Federal District has separated the Adygs from Circassian communities in Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachayevo-Cherkessia and Adygeya. ( NG )

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