Persoverzicht Tsjetsjenië - juli 2010

1 juli 2010

Eight injured in Grozny blast:Five police officers, an Interior Troops serviceman and two civilians were reportedly injured after a suicide bomber blew himself up near a concert hall in Grozny on Wednesday. The bomber, who has been identified as a Grozny resident, set off a bomb after he was stopped by police. Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov was in the building of the concert hall at a time of the blast. (Interfax, Izvestia, Kommersant, MT, RG, RIAN, Vedomosti, VN)

Eight injured in Grozny blast:Five police officers, an Interior Troops serviceman and two civilians were reportedly injured after a suicide bomber blew himself up near a concert hall in Grozny on Wednesday. The bomber, who has been identified as a Grozny resident, set off a bomb after he was stopped by police. Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov was in the building of the concert hall at a time of the blast. (Interfax, Izvestia, Kommersant, MT, RG, RIAN, Vedomosti, VN)

2 juli 2010

Draft strategy for North Caucasus socio-economic development: (i) In a front-page article, Vedomosti addresses a draft strategy for the socio-economic development of the North Caucasus Federal District until 2025, submitted by the Regional Development Ministry. The draft has been prepared at an initiative by Presidential envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District Alexander Khloponin. The strategy mentions key challenges and threats to the region such as the clan system, corruption, ethnic separatism and religious radicalism. The document proposes to develop tourist clusters, transport and energy infrastructure, increase the number of banks and other measures. (ii) A cargo train was derailed by a blast on a railroad early on Friday in Dagestan. The train driver and his assistant were injured. (Vedomosti, RIAN)

6 juli 2010

Defendants in Ruslan Yamadayev murder trial plead not guilty: Three defendants accused of killing Ruslan Yamadayev, a former Duma member and opponent of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, pleaded not guilty in their trial in the Moscow City Court on Monday. The media report that the organiser of the killing has not been established. Ruslan Yamadayev was gunned down in Moscow in September 2008. (Gazeta.ru, Izvestia, Kommersant, VN)

7 juli 2010

Putin offers new strategy for North Caucasus development: Speaking at a United Russia interregional conference yesterday in Kislovodsk to discuss the socio-economic development of the Northern Caucasus, PM Vladimir Putin called unemployment the most acute social and psychological problem for the Northern Caucasus. He said that the unemployment rate in Ingushetia exceeds 50% and in Chechnya 30%, adding that at least 400,000 jobs should be created in the region in the next 10 years. Putin promised an oil refinery in Chechnya and a network of ski resorts. He also proposed to build a highway connecting Cherkessk and Sukhumi "jointly with Abkhaz partners." In the past decade, more than RUR800 billion (around $27 billion) have been allocated for the North Caucasus development, but these funds did not bring serious changes in the regional economy, RBK daily writes. Putin stressed the need to attract investors, saying that heads of the North Caucasus regions should treat any investor as "a family member." Addressing security threats, Putin said 100 militants have been killed in the Northern Caucasus since the beginning of this year, and noted that extremists "are degenerating into common criminal groups." (ii) A contract soldier was killed and two police officers were injured in an attack on Monday in Chechnya. A local resident was killed and a policeman was wounded in an attack on a police convoy in Dagestan's Karabudakhkent district. In a separate attack, unidentified assailants opened fire at the house of a police officer in Dagestan early on Wednesday, wounding his wife. (Interfax, Izvestia, Kommersant, NG, Novye Izvestia, RBK daily, RG, RIAN, Vedomosti, VN)

Slander charges brought against Memorial's Orlov: Charges of slander were brought on Tuesday against the head of the Memorial human rights centre Oleg Orlov over his statement alleging that Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov had been involved in the murder of rights activist Natalia Estemirova in July 2009. Moscow police filed the charges against Orlov despite the fact that Kadyrov dropped a libel suit against him. Kadyrov's spokesman Alvi Karimov said the slander charges went forward because Orlov ignored attempts to reach a settlement. Kommersant writes that if convicted, Orlov faces up to three years imprisonment. (Kommersant, MT, Ekho Moskvy)

9 juli 2010

Memorial could suspend activity in Chechnya:(i) The head of the Memorial human rights centre Oleg Orlov did not rule out that Memorial could consider suspending its activity in Chechnya for a second time. In a statement, Memorial cited recent statements in an interview with local television by Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov who described Memorial activists as "enemies of the people, the law and the state," adding that Kadyrov's remarks are "a direct threat." In the meantime, senator representing Chechnya Ziyad Sabsabi criticised Memorial's work in Chechnya. (ii) Russian human rights activists called on authorities to bring to justice those responsible for the murder of Memorial activist Natalia Estemirova who was abducted in Grozny on 15 July 2009 and later found dead in Ingushetia, Vremya novostei reports. (Interfax, Kommersant, MT, VN)

12 juli 2010

Judgekilled in Dagestan, police attacked in Chechnya, Dagestan: (i) Senior judge of Dagestan's Untsukul district Magomed Khasbulatov was found dead with gunshot wounds on Saturday in Makhachkala. Last month, the justice of peace, Abdurakhman Gamzatov, was shot dead in the village of Untsukul in his home. Three policemen were wounded in an attack early on Monday in Dagestan. One of the wounded policemen later died of wounds. A police officer was shot dead last night in Grozny. A railway blast derailed a freight train on Sunday in Dagestan. No casualties were reported. Several subversive acts were perpetrated in the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria over the weekend. (ii) Vremya novostei cites Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov as saying that there is no threat to human rights activists working in Chechnya and that "nobody in Chechnya endangers their lives." In a radio interview, the head of the Memorial human rights centre Oleg Orlov said in response that Memorial is open to dialogue with Chechen authorities. (iii) Kommersant (Saturday's issue) reports on a hunger strike staged by ethnic Balkars in Moscow to protest over, what they called, the policy of "discrimination towards the Balkarian people" pursued by the authorities in Kabardino-Balkaria. (Izvestia, Kommersant, RIAN, VN)

13 juli 2010

Suspected female suicide bombers detained in Dagestan:(i) The National Antiterrorism Committee (NAK) said on Monday that six suspected female suicide bombers, aged between 15 and 29, have been detained in an operation in Makhachkala. Four of them are reportedly the widows of militants killed by law enforcement officers. The suspected suicide bombers were allegedly preparing to perpetrate a terrorist attack in central Russia. The NAK said that two male militants have also been detained. One of them was believed to have delivered to Moscow the two female suicide bombers who committed terror attacks in the Moscow metro on 29 March. During the operation, law enforcement officers seized, among other items, two Makarov pistols and two belts that can be used for committing a terrorist attack by a suicide bomber. (ii) The deputy head of the Khasavyurt district's criminal investigation department, Akhmed Gadzhiyev, was killed in an attack on Monday evening in Dagestan. Four law enforcement officers and a local resident were wounded in an attack on Tuesday in Ingushetia on a motorcade carrying officers from the FSB's regional department and Interior Troops. (iii) According to Novye Izvestia, female lawyer Dzhamilya Tagirova was beaten up by an investigator in a police station in Makhachkala on 2 July. The daily recalls that last month, human rights lawyer Sapiyat Magomedova was beaten by police in Dagestan's Khasavyurt. (Gazeta.ru, Interfax, Kommersant, Novye Izvestia, RG, RIAN)

15 juli 2010

Northern Caucasus: (i) An explosive device went off at a railroad early on Thursday in Dagestan. No casualties were reported. (ii) A Russian Air Force special commission is investigating the crash on Tuesday in Dagestan's Botlikh district of a Mi-24 combat helicopter. The crew were not injured in the incident. (ii) According to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Ingush authorities are planning an amnesty for militants. (Interfax NG, RIAN, VN)

16 juli 2010

Rights activist Estemirova's killer identified – Medvedev:At a joint press conference with Chancellor Merkel on Thursday in Yekaterinburg, President Medvedev said that the killer of human rights activist Natalia Estemirova has been identified and put on an international wanted list, adding that investigative procedures are currently underway to establish not only the perpetrator, but also organiser of the crime. The statement was made one year after Estemirova's murder in the Northern Caucasus. According to rights activists, Chechen militantAlkhazur Bashayev, who was killed in an operation last year, is considered by investigators as the killer. (ii) The EU yesterday expressed hope for a swift completion of the investigation into Estemirova's murder. US Department of State spokesman Philip Crowley is quoted as saying that the US "will continue to shine the spotlight on this case as part of our efforts to protect the brave journalists and civil society activists across the globe." (Gazeta.ru, Kommersant, MT, RIAN, VN)

Northern Caucasus: (i) Christian pastor, Artur Suleimanov, was killed on Thursday in Makhachkala. (ii) Two militants were killed in an operation in Dagestan's Khasavyurt on Thursday. Police said the militants had been involved in a series of attacks on law enforcement officers. (iii) The European Court of Human Rights has ordered Russia to pay more than €110,000 to the family of Chechen resident Murad Gelayev who disappeared in 2000. (Interfax, ITAR-TASS, VN)

19 juli 2010

France arrests three Chechens in terror probe: Three Chechens have been arrested in France in connection with a conspiracy to commit terror attacks in Russia. The suspects are believed to be linked to a rebel group that has assumed responsibility for attacks on the Moscow metro on 29 March, when 40 people died. Arrests last week came after a tip-off from Russian authorities. (The Moscow Times, Kommersant)

21 juli 2010

Two killed in attack on hydropower plant in Kabardino-Balkaria:(i) Two security guards were killed and two other people were injured in an attack by unidentified assailants at the Baksan hydropower plant early on Wednesday in Kabardino-Balkaria. The attackers set off four explosive devices at the plant; two power-generating units were damaged. One more explosive device has been defused by sappers. Terrorism is considered as the main theory behind the attack. Local police do not rule out that the militants who attacked the hydropower plant may have been responsible also for an attack on police in the town of Baksan two hours beforehand. PM Putin has instructed Deputy PM Sechin to develop a plan for the plant's full restoration after the bombings. (ii) According to media reports, one of the six suspected female suicide bombers detained last week in Dagestan has been planning to carry out a terrorist attack in Moscow in mid-July. (iii) Members of the Presidential Human Rights Council appealed to President Medvedev on Tuesday to protect rights activists in Chechnya after Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov called rights workers "enemies of the state" in an interview earlier this month. Gazeta.ru, MT, RG, RIAN)

22 juli 2010

Hydropower plant bombings in Kabardino-Balkaria qualified as subversive acts: Four blasts rocked the Baksan hydropower station in the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria early on Wednesday. Two guards were killed and two employees were injured in the attack. Two of theplant's generators and other technical equipmenthave been damaged in the explosions. RusHydro, which manages the plant, said energy supplies in Kabardino-Balkaria would not be affected by the bombings. A case was opened on five articles of the Penal Code, including subversive act. The anti-terrorism committee said the people responsible for the attack have been identified. According to police, the attack has been committed by a group of up to four gunmen. Special services suspect leader of Kabardino-Balkarian militants Asker Dzhappuyev, known as 'Emir Abdullah', of being behind the bombings. According to media reports, Abdullah became a leader of the militant underground several months ago after the killing in an operation of Anzor Astemirov. A law enforcement source did not rule out that another militant leader, Kazbek Tashuyev, might have been involved in the bombings. Some commentators (e.g. Kommersant) suggest that militants seek to prevent the reappointment of Kabardino-Balkaria President Arsen Kanokov, whose term expires in September. The press emphasizes that this was the first attack by militants on a large infrastructure facility in Russia. Security has been tightened at strategic sites across Russia, including hydroelectric plants. Meanwhile, experts speak of the vulnerability of infrastructure facilities in the Northern Caucasus and warn of a threat of "infrastructure terrorism" (RBK daily) in Russia. The Moscow Times recalls that "Islamist militants have threatened to attack economic targets across Russia since at least 2009." Visiting Kabardino-Balkaria on Wednesday, Presidential envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District Alexander Khloponin called on local Cossacks to help maintain public order in the republic. (All media)

23 juli 2010

Improper security blamed for hydropower plant bombings in Northern Caucasus:(i) At a meeting on Thursday in connection with the attack at the Baksan hydropower plant in Kabardino-Balkaria, President Dmitry Medvedev warned that law enforcement and security officials and energy company executives will be fired over negligence if similar incidents repeat. Officials blamed the attack on improper security arrangements at the plant. Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev said that the two guards, who were killed by gunmen, were asleep at the time of the attack, and announced that the head of the Kabardino-Balkarian Interior Ministry's extra-department security has been dismissed. According to investigators, at least six armed militants participated in the attack at the Baksan hydropower plant. In an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta, first deputy chairman of the Federation Council Alexander Torshin did not exclude that the attack might have been a "rehearsal". Deputy PM Igor Sechin said the reconstruction of the plant would cost around RUR 1.5 billion (€38 million) and could take up to 18 months. (ii) A security guard was reportedly injured in an explosion on a railway stretch in Dagestan on Friday. (Interfax, ITAR-TASS, Izvestia, RBK daily, RG)

26 juli 2010

Two militants suspected of attacking hydropower plant killed in Northern Caucasus:(i) Police in Kabardino-Balkaria said that two militants suspected of involvement in the 21 July bombings of the Baksan hydropower plant were killed in an operation in Kabardino-Balkaria on Sunday. (ii) Four military servicemen were killed in two separate attacks over the weekend in Dagestan. Chief of the Kaspiisk criminal investigation department, Aliaskhab Magomedov, was killed in an attack early on Monday in Dagestan. Vice-rector of Ingushetia's State University Ruslan Malsagov was killed on Saturday in Nazran. (iii) Chief engineer of Sulakgidrokaskad ('Sulak Hydropower Cascade'), Vladimir Redkin, was reportedly kidnapped from his house in Dagestan. Dagestani President Magomedsalam Magomedov voiced concern over the possible connection between the abduction and the recent attack on the Baksan hydropower plant in Kabardino-Balkaria. The press reports on the deterioration of the situation in Dagestan against the background of an ultimatum put forward by Dagestani authorities to militants, calling on them to stop terrorist activity. (iv) In a front-page article, Trud reports on an ongoing hunger strike in Moscow of a group of ethnic Balkars to protest against, what they call, discrimination of ethnic Balkars by the authorities in Kabardino-Balkaria. (Gazeta.ru, Interfax, Kommersant, MT, NG, Novye Izvestia, RG, RIAN, Trud, VN)

Four new military districts get interim commanders:Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov has appointed interim commanders of Russia's four new military districts, or operational strategic commands. Commander of the Privolzhsko-Urals Military District, Arkady Bakhin, has been appointed interim commander of the new Western Military District; commander of the Siberian Military District Vladimir Chirkin interim commander of the new Central Military District; commander of the North Caucasus Military District Alexander Galkin will be the interim commander of the new Southern Military District, and Pacific Fleet commander Konstantin Sidenko has been appointed interim commander of the Eastern Military District. Kommersant (Saturday's issue) highlights the appointment of a naval officer as the commander of the Eastern Military District. (Kommersant, Vedomosti)

27 juli 2010

Thousands rally in Moscow after ethnic Russian's killing: (i) Thousands of people took part in three recent rallies in Moscow to call for justice in the death of Yury Volkov, a TV journalist and football fan, who was stabbed to death in a brawl between ethnic Russians and Chechens in central Moscow on 10 July. Three natives of Chechnya were detained by police shortly after the clash, and one of them, Magomed Suleimanov, admitted to stabbing Volkov. Investigators, however, released two of the three detainees, including Suleimanov, saying that he was taking the blame for someone else. The murder was widely discussed in the Russian blogosphere. Some commentators point to the problem of corruption in the Russian police. Volkov's friends in a video posted on YouTube accused members of the Chechen diaspora of pressuring investigators. At the same time, some observers argue that nationalists are instigating the Internet campaign following the crime. (ii) Several teenagers from Chechnya were reportedly injured in a brawl in a children's camp in the Krasnodar territory. Gazeta.ru reports that local police said they have prevented a clash between local residents and representatives of the Chechen diaspora. (Gazeta.ru, Interfax, Izvestia, MT, Trud, VN)

28 juli 2010

Chechen teenagers involved in mass brawl in a summer camp: Seven people have reportedly been detained in connection with a mass brawl on Sunday in the 'Don' summer camp in the Krasnodar territory involving a group of Chechen children. Several people were hurt in the fistfight, including nine holidaymakers and the camp's deputy director. Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov expressed serious concern about "the mass beating of children" at the camp. According to Gazeta.ru, Chechen Human Rights Commissioner Nurdi Nukhazhiyev intends to send a letter to President Medvedev over the incident. (Interfax, Novye Izvestia, VN)

29 juli 2010

Camp brawl fuels ethnic tension?: The press continues to comment on a brawl at a youth camp near the site of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games involving a group of Chechen teenagers. As The Moscow Times writes, the brawl "has turned into an ethnically charged battle pitting Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov against Krasnodar governor Alexander Tkachyov." Meanwhile, Gazeta.ru reports on a proposal by Deputy Presidential Envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District Vladimir Shvetsov that behaviour codes should be compiled for North Caucasus youth who visit other parts of Russia. The proposal was criticised by Chechen Human Rights Commissioner Nurdi Nukhazhiyev. (Gazeta.ru, MT, NG; Ekho Moskvy)

30 juli 2010

Airplane hijacking averted in Moscow: (i) Police on Thursday detained a man who made an attempt to hijack a plane on a flight from the North Caucasus town of Mineralnye Vody (the Stavropol territory) to Moscow's Domodedovo airport. All the passengers have been freed safely. A spokeswoman for Domodedovo airport said that it was "the fastest operation to free an airplane in Russia's civil aviation history." The man, who has been identified as Magomed Patiyev, demanded a meeting with the country's leadership and law enforcement agencies to tell them about the situation in Chechnya. (ii) Police in Kabardino-Balkaria said that a terrorist attack was prevented on Thursday in Kabardino-Balkaria's Elbrus district. A bomb planted near the housing area has been defused by sappers. (Gazeta.ru, Kommersant, MT, RG)

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