Persoverzicht Tsjetsjenië - januari 2014

1-3 januari 2014

Putin visits Volgograd hit by bomb attacks: President Putin arrived in Volgograd on 1 January to visit those who had been injured in the two bombing attacks and discuss anti-terrorism measures. In televised remarks, Putin emphasized that “no matter what motivated these criminals, there is no excuse for crimes against civilians, especially against women and children.” He came to Volgograd from Khabarovsk where he delivered one of the two New Year’s addresses. In the speech made in Khabarovsk, Putin called “inhumane” the bombings in Volgograd that claimed the lives of at least 34 people and pledged that the Russian authorities will fight against terrorists “until they are all destroyed." The comments in a New Year’s address were his first public statement on the bombings after two days of silence. A New Year’s message, which was initially recorded by Putin and broadcast in Chukotka, Kamchatka and the Magadan region, did not mention the attacks in Volgograd. Meanwhile, media report that more than 700 people have been detained in an operation launched by law enforcement officers in Volgograd following the attacks. A source in law enforcement agencies said that the suicide bombers who blew up bombs at Volgograd’s train station and on a trolleybus came from the North Caucasus. Media and bloggers express fears of new attacks ahead of the Sochi Olympic Games. (Gazeta.ru, Interfax, Lenta.ru, RIAN; Ekho Moskvy)

Dagestan: An aide to the Buinaksk prosecutor was killed in a car explosion on 31 December in Dagestan. A militant and his wife were killed in an operation in the Dagestani town of Khasavyurt on 2 January. According to a source in law enforcement agencies, both were members of a gang. Some reports suggest that the militant who has been killed, Marat Shikhshaidov, might have been involved in the March 2010 twin suicide bombings in the Moscow metro. (Gazeta.ru, Newsru.com, RIAN)

9 januari 2014

Volgograd bombings probe: (i) Kommersant reports on an investigation of the two suicide bombings in Volgograd in late December. The daily writes that natives of Dagestan Asker Samedov and Magomed Isayev could be involved in organization of the attacks, while Pavel Pechyonkin, who was born in the Republic of Mari El and had converted to Islam, might have been one of the suicide bombers. However, law enforcement bodies did not confirm this information. (ii) Komsomolskaya Pravda provides information about four people, who have allegedly arrived in Moscow and are suspected by law enforcement officers of being potential suicide bombers. Magomed Isayev, who is suspected of involvement in the attacks in Volgograd, is among the four. Izvestia reports on the detention by law enforcement officers in an operation in Astrakhan of Viktoria Volkova, a widow of militant Viktor Volkov who had been killed in Dagestan in 2012. A homemade bomb has been found during searches in her apartment. Izvestia notes that after the Volgograd attacks, special services are conducting a large-scale anti-criminal operation in the North Caucasus and adjacent regions, adding that special attention is paid to ethnic Russians, who had converted to Islam, as well as wives and widows of militants. (iii) Rossiyskaya Gazeta addresses draft amendments to the Criminal Code proposed by member of the Federation Council Konstantin Dobrynin, which would provide for up to 15 years imprisonment of officials and law enforcement officers for negligence that resulted in failure to prevent a terrorist attack. The amendments were drafted following the attacks in Volgograd. (Izvestia, Kommersant.ru, KP, RG)

10 januari 2014

Militants from Kabardino-Balkaria suspected of involvement in six murders in Stavropol territory: According to law enforcement officials, four suspected militants from Kabardino-Balkaria may be involved in murdering six people who were found shot dead in four cars in two districts of the Stavropol territory. Reportedly, the victims were taxi drivers. Police identified the suspected militants as Anzor Margushev and his brother Artur, as well as Vadim Shogenov. The identity of the fourth suspect has not been established. A source in law enforcement agencies told Izvestia that the drivers may have been killed because they refused to pay a 'jihad tax' to local terrorist groups. Kommersant notes that the crimes committed by the suspects resemble actions of the so-called 'Nogai Steppe' gang, whose members have been sentenced to long prison terms. The daily adds that the 'Nogai Steppe' "vilayat" was established on orders from North Caucasus militant leader Doku Umarov. (ii) Rosaviatsia (Russia's Air Transportation Agency) has warned of a threat of a terror attack on aircraft in the period between 7 January to 21 March (Izvestia). (iii) Media report on a legislative proposal by Duma deputy Roman Khudyakov (LDPR) to introduce criminal liability for terrorists' close relatives. However, the initiative is unlikely to be supported. (Gazeta.ru, Izvestia, Kommersant.ru, KP, Lenta.ru, MK, Newsru.com, RG)

13 januari 2014

Rossiyskaya Gazeta runs an article by Anna Roze which reports on the number of asylum seekers in Germany. The author refers to the German Interior Ministry, which said that 15,473 Russian nationals applied for asylum in Germany in 2013, adding that 90% of applications have been submitted by Chechens.

14 januari 2014

) Liberals criticize modernization policy in North Caucasus: In a study, which will be presented at a meeting of Alexei Kudrin's Committee of Civil Initiatives today, authors from the Gaidar Institute criticise the Government's policy of modernization of the North Caucasus. Instead of relying on the region's own resources and initiatives, the federal centre uses methods of modernization 'from above', such as the establishment of state corporations and state guarantees to invest in regional projects. Private firms mostly invest in the Stavropol region, but are unwilling to invest in the more problematic regions, which face economic stagnation. (Vedomosti)

16 januari 2014

Three security officers, four militants killed in Dagestan: Four militants were killed in a clash on Wednesday in Dagestan's Khasavyurt district. Three special task force officers were killed and five others were wounded in the clash. One of the four militants has been identified as Marat Idrisov, the leader of the Khasavyurt gang. The National Antiterrorism Committee said that Idrisov had been involved in a number of attacks on law enforcement officers and other crimes and is suspected of masterminding a terror attack near a traffic police department in Pyatigorsk on 27 December 2013 in which three people were killed. Meanwhile, Duma deputies have submitted a package of anti-terrorism bills which would broaden the FSB's powers, restrict anonymous web payments and toughen punishment for terrorism related crimes. In an editorial, Vedomosti views the bills as part of "a strategy of protecting the interests of the state and not ordinary citizens." (ITAR-TASS, Kommersant, MK, MT, RG, Vedomosti)

17 januari 2014

Chechnya's Kadyrov claims militant leader Umarov dead: Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said Thursday that "there is proof" that North Caucasus militant leader Doku Umarov had been killed in an operation. Special services, however, said they did not possess information to confirm the reports. (Ekho Moskvy)

20 januari 2014

Seven militants killed in Dagestan; Islamic militants claim responsibility for Volgograd bombings: Seven militants, including a potential female suicide bomber and a leader of a local militant group, were killed in an operation on Saturday in Makhachkala (capital of Dagestan). The operation was launched after a grenade launcher attack on a restaurant followed by a car explosion on Friday in Makhachkala. Up to 16 people have been injured in the incident. Novye Izvestia reports that law enforcement bodies have received information about three potential female suicide bombers, who are suspected of plotting a terror attack during an Olympic Torch relay in Rostov-on-Don. The daily adds that law enforcement agencies in Sochi also received information about a potential female suicide bomber (so-called 'black widow'). Electronic media report that in a video posted on the Internet, members of an Islamic militant group claimed responsibility for the two suicide bombings in Volgograd in late December and threatened to strike the Olympic Games in Sochi. (Gazeta.ru, Kommersant, Novaya Gazeta, Novye Izvestia; Ekho Moskvy)

21 januari 2014

Situation in Dagestan tense; video threatens terror attacks during Sochi Olympics: (i) Three militants were killed in an operation outside Makhachkala on Monday. Three counterterrorism operations are being conducted on Tuesday in Dagestan. (ii) The press comments on a video posted on YouTube in which two men believed to have been suicide bombers in the two terror attacks in Volgograd in late December claimed to be members of the 'Ansar al-Sunnah' terrorist group and threatened the Olympic Games in Sochi. The media also report that law enforcement agencies have warned of a potential female suicide bomber who may be involved in organizing a terror attack in Sochi. The Moscow Times reports that members of the US congress have expressed serious concerns over the safety of Americans at the Sochi Olympics. "We do not seem to be getting all of the information we need to protect our athletes in the Games," Republican Rep. Mike Rogers was quoted as saying. (iii) Reportedly, Dagestani deputy PM Magomedgusen Nasrutdinov has been detained in Moscow on suspicion of large-scale fraud related to the illegal registration in the beginning of the 2000s of ownership of local gas networks. Kommersant calls Nasrutdinov a close ally of Dagestan's head Ramazan Abdulatipov. (Gazeta.ru, Kommersant, MT, RG, RIAN)

27 januari 2014

Rating of governors' effectiveness: A group of experts led by the head of the Civil Society Development Foundation Konstantin Kostin compiled an effectiveness rating of regional heads. Head of the Yamalo-Nenets autonomous district Dmitry Kobylkin tops the rating. He is followed by Kaluga governor Anatoly Artamonov. Moscow mayor Sergey Sobyanin is ranked sixth, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov eighth. Head of Karelia Alexander Khudilainen, head of Udmurtia Alexander Volkov and Kurgan governor Oleg Bogomolov are among governors who have the lowest rating. (Izvestia, Kommersant, Vedomosti)

Dagestani lawmaker suspected of organized crime: Former deputy of Dagestan's legislature Magomed Magomedov has been detained on suspicion of organizing a criminal group. Four of Magomedov's suspected accomplices have been also detained and five others were declared wanted. (Kommersant, RIAN)

28 januari 2014

Chechnya's Kadyrov highlights threat of inter-ethnic conflicts: In an interview with Izvestia, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov compared a threat of inter-ethnic conflicts in Russia to a threat of terrorism and stressed that regional heads should be responsible for inter-ethnic conflicts in their regions. (Izvestia)

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