Persoverzicht Tsjetsjenië - Juli 2005

1 juli 2005

- Borozdinovskaya residents return home: According to official reports, up to 1,000 residents of the Chechen village of Borozdinovskaya, who had fled into Dagestan after a raid, returned home from a refugee camp, with humanitarian organisations arriving in the village to provide the residents with food. Russian Human Rights Commissioner Vladimir Lukin welcomed the return of the refugees, but stressed the need for finding “those guilty of what happened”. (Interfax, RIAN, Vremya novostei)

4 juli 2005

- Russia, China pass declaration on world order: The media continue to report on the official visit by Chinese leader Hu Jintao to Russia, focusing on a joint declaration on “international order in the 21st century” signed by the Chinese and Russian Presidents on Friday. The declaration, in view of observers, has a clear reference to the US. The document, however, says nothing about energy issues. Outlining current challenges, the declaration also emphasized the need “for respecting historical traditions of multiethnic states”. In this context, the two Presidents expressed their intent to strengthen reciprocal support on the issues of Chechnya and Taiwan. (Kommersant, Interfax; see also economic headlines)

- Explosion in Makhachkala kills 11: According to official reports, 11 people, mainly servicemen of the Interior Ministry’s special task force, were killed and over 20 wounded in a truck explosion in Makhachkala on Friday. An Islamic group connected to Chechnya’s terrorists claimed responsibility for the attack. The media note that the bombing was the most lethal attack on federal troops this year. (Kommersant, Izvestia, Interfax)

- Two suspects detained in Grozny train bombing case: The Moscow regional prosecutor’s office on Friday confirmed the detention of two members of the Russian National Unity (RNE) radical group in connection with the 12 June bombing of a Grozny-Moscow train. The detainees were arrested on charges of terrorism. (Interfax, NG, Vedomosti)

5 juli 2005

- Chechen rock festival to be held in September – Chechen PM: (i) Commenting on the decision to postpone for security reasons a rock festival in the Chechen town of Gudermes planned for 5 July, Chechen Prime Minister Sergei Abramov yesterday suggested that the festival might take place in September. The cancellation came three days after the lethal terror attack in neighbouring Dagestan, which killed 11 people. (ii) The media report on the resignation yesterday of the chiefs of the Makhachkala city police department and three district police departments after Dagestan was hit by a series of terror attacks. (Interfax, Izvestia, Kommersant, Gazeta, Vremya novostei, Novye Izvestia, NG, MT, NTV)

7 juli 2005

- N. Caucasus: warlord killed in Dagestan: (i) According to official reports, the leader of a terrorist group named Makasharipov was killed in a special operation yesterday in Dagestan. The police claim that the group committed dozens of terrorist attacks in the republic in the past few years, including those against policemen and military servicemen. (ii) Dagestani political scientist Gamid Kurbanov argues that a series of terrorist acts hit Dagestan after incumbent regional leader Magomedali Magomedov “was given a credit of confidence” despite numerous rumours of his imminent resignation. (iii) At a press conference yesterday in Grozny, Chechen President Alu Alkhanov pointed to insufficient rates of the reconstruction work and the high level of unemployment in the republic. (Kommersant, Izvestia, Vremya novostei, Gazeta, Novye Izvestia, Interfax, RIAN)

8 juli 2005

- London bombings: “too little being done to combat terrorism” – Russian president: (i) All media report on a series of terror attacks yesterday in London that left 38 people killed and hundreds injured, according to official reports. The media quote Blair, who stressed that the terrorists behind the blasts were acting “in the name of Islam”, as a terror group linked to al Qaeda has claimed responsibility over the attacks. In a televised statement yesterday in Gleneagles to offer his condolences to Blair over the terrorist attacks, President Putin called the blasts “an enormous crime” and stressed that the world community was “doing too little” to unite its efforts in the battle against terrorism. He pointed out that there should not be “double standards in the assessment of bloody crimes”. The Russian president noted that he had earlier told Blair that Britain does not perceive Chechen terrorists as terrorists. Finance Minister Kudrin is quoted as saying that terrorists must be caught and tried everywhere “including Great Britain where they sometimes receive asylum”. (ii) Following the London bombings, police and the Moscow metro moved to step up security throughout the city. (All media)

- Defence Ministry: 51 servicemen die in Chechnya in 2005: (i) Visiting Rostov-on-Don yesterday, Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said that 51 servicemen of the joint federal forces in the Northern Caucasus were killed in this region in the first six months of this year. This figure had fallen by nearly one-third in 2005 compared with the same period of 2004. According to Ivanov, there were cases when soldiers died from hazing. He also reiterated that conscripts would no longer serve in Chechnya. (ii) Meeting with Ivanov, Presidential envoy to the Southern Federal District Dmitry Kozak pointed to the need of “urgent” measures in order to combat crime and terrorism in Dagestan. (Interfax, RIAN, RG, Novye Izvestia, Vremya novostei, MT)

- Novye Izvestia carries an article called “A charitable requisition”, by Alexey Smirnov, which reports on a long-lasting spat between the EU and Russia over the taxation of EU’s humanitarian aid to Chechen refugees.

11 juli 2005

- World leaders conclude G-8 summit: (i) The media report on the conclusion by world leaders of the G-8 summit with an aid package to Africa and a compromise on the environment. The focus of media coverage is given to a joint statement on terrorism in response to the London bombings, in which the leaders pledged to prosecute terrorists wherever they might be hiding. (ii) Dailies point to the issue of “double standards” exploited by Russian politicians after the terrorist attacks in London which left at least 49 people killed. Foreign Minister Lavrov is quoted as having stated after a meeting with his Greek counterpart Molyviatis on Friday in Moscow that “playing games around the fight against terrorism is destructive” and that “no terrorists’ accomplices should be able to find refuge in any country”. Chairman of the Duma External Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachyov is reported by the media as having called on Russian law enforcement agencies to be more efficient in seeking the extradition of Chechen separatist leader Akhmed Zakayev who was granted political asylum in the UK. (All media)

- Presidential envoy on situation in Dagestan: (i) Commenting on the outbreak of terrorist attacks in Dagestan, Presidential envoy to the Southern Federal District Dmitry Kozak on Friday dismissed as “absolutely untenable” attempts to blame the current Dagestani leadership for the surge in terrorism and crime in the republic. The statement was made at a meeting of leaders of North Caucasian regions in Nalchik (Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria) and was designed, in the view of some observers, to rebut allegations that Dagestan is becoming another Chechnya. (ii) According to media reports, the regional leaders agreed to establish an agency which will be tasked to attract investment in the region. (RG, Gazeta, Vremya novostei, Kommersant, Vedomosti, MT, Interfax)

14 juli 2005

- Fate of 11 Borozdinovskaya residents unknown; new developments on passports: (ii) The media report that the whereabouts of 11 residents of the Chechen village of Borozdinovskaya, who went missing after a sweep operation in the village last month, remain unknown. Kommersant reports that Chechnya’s 1st Deputy Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov yesterday stepped down as head of the state commission on the situation in Borozdinovskaya due to the “completion of his task”. The daily says that a local policeman was detained on suspicion of involvement in operation. (ii) At a press conference yesterday in Grozny, Chechen Prime Minister Abramov announced that the current ban on issuing external passports to Chechen residents might be lifted by the end of the year. (Kommersant, RG, Gazeta)

15 juli 2005

- Borozdinovskaya residents quitting homes?: (i) In a frontpage article, Izvestia reports that the refugees from the Chechen village of Borozdinovskaya, mainly of Dagestani descent, who fled into neighbouring Dagestan after a sweep operation last month and returned home after Chechnya’s 1st Deputy Prime Minister Kadyrov promised them to pay compensations for the damaged property, are quitting their homes once they get compensations. The daily asserts that Chechen authorities allegedly plan to accommodate ethnic Chechen refugees in the village. (ii) According to a representative of the Memorial human rights centre quoted by Interfax, Chechen authorities have not kept their promise to investigate into the sweep operation in Borozdinovskaya. (Izvestia, Interfax)

- Parliamentary vote in Chechnya: Russia’s Regional Development Minister Vladimir Yakovlev yesterday announced that elections to the two-chamber Chechen parliament are scheduled for 27 November. (Interfax, Kommersant, MT)

- European Court of HR not to re-consider Chechens’ case: The media report that the European Court of Human Rights has rejected a Russian Government’s request to review its decision on complaints from 6 Chechen residents. In accordance with the Court’s ruling, Russia should compensate the plaintiffs with 105,000 euros for moral damage and around 63,000 euros for material damage and court expenses. (Gazeta, Interfax)

18 juli 2005

- Helicopter crash in Chechnya: On Saturday a helicopter carrying Russian border guards crashed in southern Chechnya. Nine people were reportedly killed. Investigators believe that the crash was caused by either technical failure or pilot error. (Interfax, Gazeta, Vremya Novostey)

- British Ambassador to Russia on priorities during UK EU Presidency: On Friday the British Ambassador to Russia Tony Brenton stated (i) that energy dialogue will be a priority during the UK Presidency of the EU as regards Russia. He also said that UK dependence on Russian energy is likely to increase in the future. (ii) According to Brenton, the UK wants to improve – jointly with Russia – the “rather complicated” business climate in Russia. He said that some of his British business interlocutors hade been shocked by how the Yukos case had developed. (iii) The Ambassador denied accusations of double standards when it comes to the UK handling of the case of the London-based Chechen rebel envoy Akhmad Zakayev, saying that the UK would extradite Zakayev if Russian authorities could prove that he had been involved in terrorism. (iv) Brenton mentioned the Iran nuclear issue as a good example of cooperation between Russia and the West. (Interfax, Itar-Tass)

- Group of women block traffic in central Grozny: On Saturday a group of Chechen women protested against the abduction of two people from their homes in Grozny Saturday morning. Some 50 protesters blocked two main roads in the central part of the Chechen capital (Vremya Novostey, Interfax)

20 juli 2005

- 14 killed in blast in Chechnya: According to official reports, an explosion of a police motorcar yesterday in Chechnya’s Nadterechnoye district killed 14 people, including three civilians, and injured over 20. As dailies note, this district has always been considered as relatively “quiet”. Chechen authorities do not rule out that militant leader Basayev might be behind the attack. Referring to the latest terrorist attack at a meeting with Cabinet members yesterday, President Putin pointed to “many infrastructural problems” in the Northern Caucasus and stressed that the Government should accelerate the security of the state border and military reinforcement in the region. (All media)

21 juli 2005

- Chechnya terrorist attack perpetrators identified – Alkhanov: (i) Chechen President Alkhanov yesterday stated that the organisers and perpetrators of the 19 July terrorist attack in Chechnya’s Nadterechnoye district that killed 15 people, mostly police, had been identified. According to Deputy Prosecutor General Shepel, Chechen militant leaders Basayev and Umarov were responsible for the bombing. Thursday has been declared a day of mourning in Chechnya. (ii) Yesterday Chechen Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov announced that 71 militants had been killed in Chechnya since the beginning of the year as a result of a series of sweep operations against criminal groups. According to Interfax, he dismissed reports that the militants had prepared 15 suicide bombers to commit terrorist acts across Russia. (iii) The media report on the arrest by the Federal Security Service (FSB) in Irkutsk (Siberia) of a Chechen militant who was on the federal wanted list for changes on terrorism. (Interfax, RIAN, RG, Kommersant, NG, Vremya novostei)

22 juli 2005

- Chechnya blast investigation: According to Chechen President Alu Alkhanov, three perpetrators of the 19 July terror attack in Chechnya’s northern Nadterechnoye district have been identified. The media note that the attack has been the largest terrorist act in Chechnya in the recent past amid the rise of terror attacks in neighbouring Dagestan. According to Alkhanov, authorities “must have miscalculated somewhere” that such an attack had happened. He also warned that militants “might multiply attempts to destabilize the situation in Chechnya”. According to the latest reports, 14 people, and not 15, were killed in the 19 July attack, including 10 policemen, a Federal Security Service officer and 3 civilians. (Kommersant, Vremya novostei, Interfax, RIAN)

25 juli 2005

- DM special force involved in Borozdinovskaya case?: (i) Deputy Prosecutor General Nikolai Shepel is quoted by the media as saying that the involvement in the last month’s sweep operation in Chechnya’s village of Borozdinovskaya of the Defence Ministry’s Vostok (‘East’) special force is considered as “a key theory” in the investigation into the events. The Vostok special force, which is led by Sulim Yamadayev, consists mainly of ethnic Chechens. Earlier, the human rights Committee Against Torture said that 11 village residents, who were listed as missing after the operation, had been detained by federal troops on suspicion of committing crimes. (ii) According to an official of Chechen law enforcement agencies, a police inspector from Borozdinovskaya has been accused of abuse of office “in the form of criminal negligence” in the probe into the Borozdinovskaya sweep. (iii) Several dailies report that more than 100 Borozdinovskaya residents have fled into neighbouring Dagestan for the second time in two months, demanding the release of the 11 village residents and compensation payments. Chechnya’s Deputy Prime Minister Abdurakhmanov is quoted as having stressed that some village residents were trying to blackmail the republic’s government. (Interfax, Kommersant, Izvestia, Gazeta, Vremya novostei, Vedomosti, MT)

26 juli 2005

- Special economic zone in Chechnya?: At a joint press conference with Chechnya’s Prime Minister Abramov yesterday in Moscow, Chechen President Alkhanov stated that republican and federal authorities delayed the signing of an agreement on the division of powers due to a new law on special economic zone. He emphasized that Chechnya would insist on special economic zone status, adding that “this is not a matter of offshore companies”. Gazeta notes that Alkhanov refrained form commenting on how such status would correspond to the recent proposal by Presidential envoy to the Southern Federal District Kozak, who has suggested that direct presidential rule be introduced in subsidized regions. As Vedomosti writes, Chechnya’s regional budget received 93.3% of its revenues from the federal Government. According to an aide to Economic Development and Trade Minister Gref, the Ministry has received more than 20 applications from regions to create both industrial and technical special economic zones (SEZ). Gref’s aide stressed that SEZs could be created within Chechnya’s boundaries, but that they shall not cover all of it. (Gazeta, Kommersant, Vedomosti, RG, Vremya novostei, Novye Izvestia, Interfax, RIAN)

- Moscow may back London’s anti-terror conference – envoy: (i) Presidential envoy on international cooperation in the fight against terrorism Anatoly Safonov yesterday said that Russia might back a British proposal to convene an international conference on the fight against terrorism “if important issues are included on its agenda”. He pointed to a large number of illegal immigrants from Chechnya in Britain who might “pursue their goals”, adding that the problem of Chechen separatist emissary Zakayev “has a political component”. (ii) According to a poll carried out by the Bashkirova & Partners centre, 64% of Russians agree with the opinion that British authorities have created favourable conditions for terrorist attacks by hosting individuals accused of having links to terrorists, such as Zakayev. (iii) According to media reports, the Russian Government will earmark $125 million to fight terrorism in 2006. (Interfax, MT, www.bashkirova-partners.ru)

28 juli 2005

- Officer killed in operation in Dagestan; road accident involving Dagestani leader: (i) The media report that one militant was killed and another detained in a special operation on Tuesday outside Khasavyurt. Interior troops’ Col. Vassily Chubenko died in hospital after sustaining heavy wounds in the operation. As Nezavisimaya gazeta and Novye Izvestia write, Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev earlier offered a “reward”, worth of $50,000, for Chubenko’s killing. (ii) Dagestani police are investigating a road accident yesterday in Dagestan involving Chairman of the republic’s State Council Magomedali Magomedov yesterday. The two regional vice-premiers and a senior official of the State Council were hospitalized. (Interfax, RG, Kommersant, Izvestia, Gazeta, Novye Izvestia, Vremya novostei, NG, MT)

- DM officer admits involvement in Borozdinovskaya operation: (i) Interfax today reports that the commander of the Defence Ministry’s special force Vostok (‘East’) Sulim Yamadayev has admitted that his unit conducted a sweep operation in Chechnya’s village of Borozdinovskaya in early June. However, he did not confirm that his men were involved in murder, arson or the kidnapping of 11 village residents. (ii) The media quote Chechnya’s Deputy Prime Minister Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov as saying that Chechen authorities will not insist on the return of Borozdinovskaya residents, who fled into neighbouring Dagestan after the operation. (Interfax, NG)

29 juli 2005

- DM unit commander faces charges over Borozdinovskaya case: Dailies, most of them in frontpage articles, report that criminal charges are being brought against a unit commander of the Defence Ministry’s Vostok battalion over the raid on Chechnya’s village of Borozdinovskaya. Maxim Toporikov, a military prosecutor for the combined federal forces in the Northern Caucasus, is quoted as saying that the unit’s commander had passed an unlawful order to search certain houses in connection with the murder of the father of one of the battalion’s officers by a militant. He noted, however, that “no direct evidence implicating the servicemen in murder or abduction of the missing village residents is available” at the moment. Izvestia and Gazeta publish interviews with the Vostok special force’ commander Sulim Yamadayev, in which he called what has happened in Borozdinovskaya “a provocation” against the Chechen-manned battalion. (RG, Kommersant, Izvestia, Gazeta, Vedomosti, Vremya novostei, Novye Izvestia, NG, MT)

- HR in Chechnya discussed in Kislovodsk: The media report on the opening yesterday in Kislovodsk of a two-day conference on the protection of human rights and investigation of abductions in Chechnya. Participants of the conference included Russian Ombudsman Lukin, and Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner Gil-Robles. Head of the Presidential human rights commission Ella Pamfilova is quoted as having admitted that abductions remained “the most acute problem” in Chechnya. (Interfax, MT)

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