International Crisis Group warns of fragile stability in Chechnya: In a report published on Tuesday, experts of the International Crisis Group warned of fragile stability in Chechnya which exists due to special ties between Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and President Vladimir Putin. Novaya Gazeta publishes an interview with one of the authors of the report Yekaterina Sokiryanskaya. (Ekho Moskvy, Novaya Gazeta, Vedomosti of 30 June; report is available in English on the website: http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/europe/caucasus/236-chechnya-the-inner-abroad.pdf)
'Crimea is not Chechnya'
By Andrey Sinitsyn
It is tempting but incorrect to compare Sergei Aksyonov's Crimea with Ramzan Kadyrov's Chechnya. Of course, there are similarities between the two regions, such as the politico-military situation, the level of subsidies that both require (over 80% according to some experts) and the need to rely on local clans.
On Wednesday, Aksyonov founded a commission to protect the rights of officials in Crimea.
Recent detentions in Crimea do not inspire trust in local authorities. Nor does Kadyrov, who in April told Chechen law enforcement officers to open fire at officers from other Russian regions, after an operation was carried out in Grozny by Stavropol police officers.
But Crimea differs in other key respects: No one is directly fighting federal officers there, and the peninsula is of real ideological significance to the Kremlin, despite budgetary concerns that are exacerbated by the current recession.
More Ministries may be liquidated – press: Novye Izvestia cites rumours that the Ministry for Crimean Affairs may soon be abolished and does not rule out that that some other federal Ministries – the Ministry for the Development of Russia's Far East and the Ministry for North Caucasus Affairs – may also be liquidated. Their functions will be redistributed among other governmental structures and state corporations. (Izvestia, Novye Izvestia)
Two militants killed in Dagestan: According to media reports, two militants were killed in an operation on Friday in Dagestan. Earlier this week, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov dismissed claims that the Islamic State terrorist organization opened branches in the North Caucasus. (TASS)
Ukrainian film director Sentsov stands trial in Russia on terrorism charges: The North Caucasus District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don on Tuesday started hearing the case against Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov accused of plotting to carry out terror attacks in Crimea. Sentsov pleaded not guilty and insists that the trial was politically motivated. He also claimed that he was tortured by Russian investigators. Sentsov went on trial alongside the other defendant in the case, Alexander Kolchenko. (ii) A preliminary hearing of the case of former Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko accused of involvement in the killing of two Russian journalists near Lugansk is scheduled for 30 July. The hearing will be held in the Donetsk city court in Russia's Rostov region. (Gazeta.ru, MT, Novye Izvestia)
Chechen leader visits Saudi Arabia: Izvestia reports on the recent visit by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov to Saudi Arabia and his meeting with Saudi Defense Minister Prince Mohammad bin Salman. Kadyrov later wrote on Instagram that Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud could visit Russia before the end of this year. President Putin's spokesman Peskov told reporters that a date for the Saudi King's visit to Russia had not been set yet. (Gazeta.ru, Izvestia; Rossiya 1)
Investigative Committee qualifies as legitimate Stavropol police actions in Chechnya: Kommersant reports that the Russian Investigative Committee has qualified as legitimate an operation carried out earlier this year in Grozny by Stavropol police officers in which a local resident from the federal wanted list was killed. (Kommersant)