Persoverzicht Tsjetsjenië - januari 2011

11 januari 2011

Special operations in Dagestan: (i) More than ten militants have been killed in a series of special operations against militants in Dagestan in the past two weeks, Kommersant reports. (ii) One serviceman was killed and several others were wounded in an exchange of fire with militants on 9 January in Chechnya. (Kommersant, ITAR-TASS)

12 januari 2011

Chechen commander attacked in Grozny: Kommersant analyses the possible theories behind an attempt on the life of the former commander of the Zapad ('West') battalion of the Russian Defence Ministry's Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) Bislan Elimkhanov, who was wounded in an attack on 9 January near the Khankala military base on the outskirts of Grozny. (Kommersant)

14 januari 2011

Security to be beefed up in Moscow over rally to commemorate slain football fan: The Moscow city authorities have sanctioned a rally on 15 January to commemorate Spartak Moscow football fan Yegor Sviridov, who was killed last month in a clash with natives of the Northern Caucasus. Law enforcement agencies will step up security in Moscow in connection with the rally. The media report on the detention of the fifth man suspected of involvement in the fight in which Sviridov was killed. (Gazeta.ru, Izvestia, Kommersant, RIAN)

Georgia's Russian-language TV channel to resume broadcasting: Kommersant reports that Georgia's Russian-language First Informational Caucasus (PIK) TV channel is expected to resume broadcasting on 25 January. The channel, called First Caucasian , was launched in January 2010, but was suspended after the two-week run after Eutelsat satellite stopped transmitting the channel. Experts, contacted by Kommesrant, said that the resumption of broadcasts could further deteriorate Russian-Georgian relations. (Kommersant)

Freedom House report: Russia's democracy fell: In a report, Freedom House ranked Russia among countries that showed significant declines in democracy in 2010. The report surveyed 194 countries and 14 territories around the world. Vedomosti cites head of the Presidential Human Rights Council Mikhail Fedotov, who has disagreed with Freedom House's conclusions. (MT, Vedomosti)

Up to 800 militants active in Northern Caucasus – Interior Troops: (i) Interior Troops Commander Nikolai Rogozhkin said on Thursday that between 500 and 800 militants are still active in the Northern Caucasus. (ii) One police officer was killed and another one was wounded in an attack on Thursday in Makhachkala. Two militants were killed in an operation in Makhachkala also on Thursday. The head of a village administration in Dagestan's Levashi district was shot dead on Thursday evening in Dagestan. (Lenta.ru, Interfax)

17 januari 2011

Northern Caucasus: (i) Four people were killed and several others injured after an explosive-laden car blew up near a café in the Dagestani town of Khasavyurt on Friday. Investigators have qualified the blast as a terrorist act. Earlier on Friday, two suspected militants and their female accomplice were killed in an operation in Dagestan's capital Makhachkala. In attacks in Kabardino-Balkaria on Saturday, a policeman and a cattle-breeder were killed. (ii) The press cites rumours that Chechen militant leader Doku Umarov, who claimed responsibility for the 29 March 2010 Moscow metro bombings, might be dead. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov is quoted as saying that the search for Umarov will go on despite the rumours of his death. (iii) In a front-page article, Kommersant reports on initiatives for the implementation of the Strategy for the development of the North Caucasus Federal District until 2025. (Interfax, Kommersant, MT; Ekho Moskvy)

Police detain 19 people at rally in Moscow: Up to 1,000 people (Kommersant) took part in a rally on Saturday in Moscow to commemorate Spartak Moscow football fan Yegor Sviridov, who was killed in a clash with natives of the Northern Caucasus last month. The leader of the Yabloko liberal party Sergey Mitrokhin was among participants. Police detained 19 people at the rally for a check into whether they had participated in the 11 December race-hate riots on Moscow's Manezhnaya square. Kommersant reports that rallies to commemorate Sviridov were also held in St. Petersburg, Samara and Yaroslavl. Investigators announced on Saturday that that the clash in which Sviridov was killed had been provoked by North Caucasus natives. Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes that President Medvedev is due to meet with the leadership of both chambers of the Russian Parliament today to discuss national policy and interethnic relations. The daily speaks of different opinions about the matter expressed by Medvedev and PM Putin, and mentions Putin's statement on the Soviet Union's achievements in dealing with ethnic issues. (Izvestia, Kommersant, MT, NG, Novaya Gazeta, RG, RIAN, Vedomosti)

19 januari 2011

Envoy pledges investment in Northern Caucasus:(i) In a lengthy interview with Izvestia, Presidential envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District Alexander Khloponin announced plans to implement 37 investment projects, worth more than RUR400 billion, in the North Caucasus Federal District in 2011. (ii) Chechen Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov said on Tuesday that 93 militants were killed in Chechnya last year. (iii) Izvestia reports that Finland's police refused to recognise the Kavkazcenter as "a terrorist website" and shut it down. (iv) Famous Dutch football player Ruud Gullithas been appointed the coach of Russia's Terek Grozny football club. Kommersant writes that Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has made a final decision on the appointment. (v) Vedomosti reports on a decision to sell Anzhi Makhachkala football club to billionaire and member of the Federation Council Suleiman Kerimov. (vi) Dailies report, with reference to Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, on plans to build an Orthodox church in the Chechen village of Naurskaya by the end of this year. (Interfax, Izvestia, Kommersant, NG, RG, Vedomosti)

20 januari 2011

More than 750 killed in armed clashes in Northern Caucasus in 2010 – agency: (i) According to the 'Caucasian Knot' information agency, 754 people [349 militants, 226 law enforcement officers and 180 civilians] were killed and 956 others were injured in armed clashes in the Northern Caucasus last year. (ii) The Moscow Times reports that Austrian authorities said on Wednesday that they would not seek the extradition of the suspected killer of Chechen refugee Umar Israilov in January 2009 in Vienna even after media reported that he was wounded in a shooting in Chechnya earlier this month. (MT, Novye Izvestia)

21 januari 2011

Government commission for North Caucasus development to convene: (i) PM Putin is expected to chair a meeting of the Government commission for the North Caucasus socioeconomic development to discuss the implementation of federal target programmes in the North Caucasus Federal District. As RBK daily reports, there are three federal target programmes in the District ('South Russia' and the programmes for the socioeconomic development of Chechnya and Ingushetia), worth a total of RUR 150 billion. (ii) Kommersant reports that vice-president of Russia's National Olympic Committee Akhmed Bilalov will oversee the project to create five new ski resorts in the Northern Caucasus, worth $15 billion. The resorts will be constructed by the 'North Caucasus Resorts' company. (Kommersant, RBK daily)

24 januari 2011

Chechnya leader accuses Zhirinovsky of inciting ethnic hatred: (i) Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has accused the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) Vladimir Zhirinovsky of inciting ethnic hatred in connection with his statements in a televised programme last week. Kommersant cites Zhirinovsky as saying, while commenting on the causes of interethnic clashes, including with the participation of North Caucasus natives, that people from the Caucasus "cannot and do not want to work." He added that ethnic Russians, accounting for 80% of the country's population, "should be protected." The authorities of Dagestan have also condemned Zhirinovsky's statements. (ii) Dailies report on PM Putin-chaired meeting on Friday of the Government commission for the North Caucasus socioeconomic development. (iii) Three militants, including a local terrorist group leader, were killed in an operation on Friday in Dagestan's Kizlyar district. (Izvestia, Kommersant, NG, Novye Izvestia, RBK daily, RG, Vedomosti)

25 januari 2011

At least 35 killed, up to 180 injured at Domodedovo airport blast: At least 35 people were killed and up to 180 were injured in a deadly explosion in the international arrivals hall at Moscow's Domodedovo International Airport on Monday. According to media reports, at least six foreigners were among those killed in the blast: two British nationals, a German citizen and nationals of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. A case on charges of terrorism has been opened. An unnamed source at law enforcement agencies told reporters on Tuesday that two terrorists were involved in the blast, including a female suicide bomber. Both have been killed in the blast. However, some witnesses said that the attack was carried out by a man. The media (e.g. Izvestia, Kommersant and MT) do not rule out that the blast might have been a second attempt after an explosion on 31 December at a Moscow sports club killed a suspected female suicide bomber. The second suspected female suicide bomber was arrested earlier this month in Volgograd on suspicion of illegally transporting explosives. The media reported that Russia's security services had received information that a terrorist attack was planned at one of Moscow's airports. Deputy head of the Duma's Security Committee Magomed Vakhayev, contacted by Kommersant, did not exclude that the attack at Domodedovo airport may have been a response by North Caucasus militants to a number of successful counterterrorist operations in Dagestan and Ingushetia. President Medvedev on Monday ordered to tightened security at Moscow's airports and other transportation facilities. He also postponed his departure for Switzerland to take part in the World Economic Forum in Davos. Medvedev is quoted as saying that the management at Domodedovo airport should be held accountable for the bombing. A National Anti-terrorism Committee official described as insufficient security measures at Domodeovo airport. Kommersant reports that entrance checks by metal detectors and X-rays began only after the explosion. Commentators express the view that the security system at Russian airports could undergo a significant overhaul. President Barack Obama has condemned the "outrageous act of terrorism" and expressed his condolences to the Russian people. Condolences were also offered by UN SG Ban Ki-moon, NATO SG Anders Fogh Rasmussen, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, leaders and top diplomats of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, the UK, Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Poland and many other countries. The explosion at Domodedovo was the second suicide attack in Moscow in less than 12 months: on 29 March 2010, suicide bombings in the Moscow metro system left 40 people dead and more than 100 injured. In an editorial, Vedomosti recalls that in the past ten years, Moscow saw eight high-profile terrorist attacks. According to annual reports by the US National Counterterrorism Centre, Russia's terror attack death toll nears those of Thailand, Colombia and Sudan. (All media)

26 januari 2011

Chechen separatist emissary Zakayev denied Polish visa: Polish authorities have denied a visa to Chechen separatist emissary Akhmed Zakayev, who planned to attend court hearings on his extradition in Warsaw. (Izvestia, Kommersant, RG)

Putin pledges 'inevitable retribution' for Domodedovo airport bombing: PM Putin declared on Tuesday that "retribution is inevitable" against those who masterminded the 24 January suicide bombing at Moscow's Domodedovo airport that killed 35 people, including at least seven foreigners, and injured up to 180. Earlier in the day, President Medvedev emphasized that those behind the blast must be brought to justice, while "the nest of these bandits should be eliminated." On 26 January, Moscow and the Moscow region observe a day of mourning for the victims of the blast. The press addresses possible theories behind the Domodedovo airport bombing. No one has claimed responsibility for the blast. An unnamed source at the FSB told Novaya Gazeta that terrorists from the so-called 'Imarat Kavkaz' ('Caucasus Emirate') were likely behind the attack. Unidentified law enforcement sources mention the 'Nogai Battalion', a militant group based in the Stavropol territory. Earlier, a police source said that Russia's security services had received information that a terrorist attack was planned at one of Moscow's airports, but were unable to locate and detain the three suspects they had been tracking. Some experts do not exclude that the blast might have been planned by North Caucasus terrorist groups in revenge for the 11 December ethnically motivated riots on Moscow's Manezhnaya square. (ii) Several people, including the leader of the nationalist 'Russian Force' group Dmitry Dyomushkin, were detained by police yesterday in Moscow over a reported attempt to stage an unauthorized rally after the Domodedovo airport blast. (Izvestia, Kommersant, MT, NG, Novaya Gazeta, RG, RIAN; Ekho Moskvy)

27 januari 2011

Putin rules out Chechen trace in Domodedovo blast; first suspect named?: PM Putin told reporters on Wednesday that the suicide bombing at Domodedovo airport has "no relation to the Chechen Republic." He also stressed that Russia would not negotiate with terrorists. Law enforcement agencies have reportedly sent a composite sketch of the suspected bomber to law enforcement bodies of the North Caucasus and Southern Federal Districts for identification. Kommersant writes that police have named the first suspect behind the Domodedovo blast as a resident of the Stavropol territory and a former member of the 'Nogai Jamaat' terrorist group which was destroyed last autumn. Police do not exclude that the suspect, whose surname was revealed as "Razdobudko", could be one of the organizers or a perpetrator of the deadly attack at Domodedovo airport. However, no group has taken responsibility for the bombing. Expert Semyon Bagdasarov, contacted by RBK daily, did not rule out that North Caucasus militants or terrorist groups from Central Asia might be involved in the blast. (Izvestia, Kommersant, RBK daily, RIAN)

Davos Forum: Russia presents ski resort plans in North Caucasus: At the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday, Russian officials highlighted a $15 billion plan to construct a string of ski resorts in the Northern Caucasus. In the meantime, Presidential envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District Alexander Khloponin said in Davos that the deadly attack at Moscow's Domodedovo airport has affected the investment climate in Russia. (Izvestia, RG)

28 januari 2011

Warsaw court closes Zakayev extradition case: A Warsaw court ruled on Thursday to close a case into the possible extradition to Russia of Chechen separatist emissary Akhmed Zakayev. (MT, RG)

Several theories behind airport bombing being considered: Investigators are considering several theories behind the 24 January suicide bombing at Moscow's Domodedovo International Airport. One of the theories suggests that the bombing has been organized by militants based in Dagestan. Involvement in the blast of the 'Nogai Jamaat' terrorist group is also not ruled out. The media published a photo of Vitaly Razdobudko, an ethnic Russian member of the 'Nogai Jamaat', who might have been an organizer or perpetrator of the Domodedovo blast. However, the remains of the suspected bomber do not resemble Razdobudko. Police said that Razdobudko, who has been missing since last November, is suspected of involvement in an August bombing in Pyatigorsk (the Stavropol territory). One more theory points to a link to international terrorists. Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports, with reference to Pakistani media, that the FSB has asked Pakistan's special services to help in the investigation. The same daily also writes that the terrorists who staged the Domodedovo airport blast used an explosive device similar to "stone bombs" used mainly by Palestinian suicide bombers. Meanwhile, Ingush leader Yevkurov expressed the view that North Caucasus militant leaders such as Doku Umarov could be responsible for the attack at Domodedovo airport. Kommersant earlier reported that investigators had compiled a list of up to 10 suspects involved in the blast. Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Rossiyskaya Gazeta highlight a proposal by deputy head of the Federation Council's Defence and Security Committee Chekalin to lift the moratorium on the death penalty for terrorists. (Gazeta.ru, Interfax, Izvestia, Kommersant, MT, NG, RG)

31 januari 2011

Domodedovo airport bombing solved?: Spokesman for the Investigative Committee Markin said on Saturday that the 24 January suicide bombing at Moscow's Domodedovo International Airport has been solved. The bomber has been identified as a 20-year-old man from the Northern Caucasus. His name was not announced. On Friday, a police source dismissed reports alleging that the bomber's name might be Vitaly Razdobudko, a resident of the Stavropol territory and suspected member of the 'Nogai Jamaat' militant group. Investigators are seeking to detain the organizers of the airport bombing that killed 35 people, including eight foreigners, and injured up to 180. The attack was aimed primarily at foreign citizens, Markin added. Investigators also said they had identified all perpetrators behind a 31 December explosion in a hotel complex of a Moscow sports club that killed a would-be suicide bomber. The National Antiterrorist Committee (NAK) said that some of the suspects involved in the 31 December blast had been detained in Dagestan. The NAK said that five suspected militants, including Razdobudko and his wife Marina (Maria) Khorosheva, have been put on a wanted list in connection with the blast in the Moscow hotel complex. However, investigators denied that the blast in the hotel complex was carried out by the same group responsible for the Domodedovo bombing. Kommersant (Saturday's issue) suggested that the bomb at Domodedovo airport could be detonated through a call from a cell phone. (Gazeta.ru, Interfax, Izvestia, Kommersant, MT, Novye Izvestia, RG)

Local officials killed in Kabardino-Balkaria and Ingushetia; freight train blown up in Dagestan: (i) Head of the Chegem district administration in the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, Mikhail Mambetov, died of wounds he sustained in an attack on Friday in Chegem. Kommersant reports that local Islamist militants are suspected to be behind the killing. (ii) The head of the Nazran central municipal district administration Alikhan Tsoroyev was shot dead on Monday morning in Nazran (Ingushetia). (iii) An explosive device went off under a freight train in Dagestan early on Monday. No casualties were reported. The train did not derail. (iv) Two bombs were defused in the Dagestani town of Izberbash on Sunday. (v) Gazeta.ru reports on the arrest in Italy of Chechen militant leader Doku Umarov's brother, Ruslan Umarov. Italian law enforcement agencies reportedly detained him at a train station in Venice. (Gazeta.ru, Interfax, Izvestia, Kommersant, RIAN)

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