Persoverzicht Tsjetsjenië - maart 2008

3 maart 2008


Dmitry Medvedev wins presidential elections: (i) With 99.45% of ballots counted, Dmitry Medvedev leads in Sunday’s presidential elections with 70.23% of the vote. Gennady Zyuganov gained 17.76% of the vote, Vladimir Zhirinovsky – 9.37%, and Andrey Bogdanov – 1.29%. Voter turnout reached 69.5%. In Chechnya, Medvedev got 88.7% of the vote, and the turnout in Chechnya exceeded 90%. The Central Elections Commission (CEC) plans to release the official results on 7 March. Representatives of the Communist Party reported instances of election fraud and mass violations of election legislation. According to Zyuganov, he has earned a higher percentage of the vote than official results indicated: “from 25 to 35 percent of voters supported me”, he stressed. Both Zyuganov and Zhirinovsky hinted that they might contest the results of the polls in courts. Golos, an independent Russian monitoring group, said that a majority of the violations occurred rather in the run-up to the elections and during the tallying of votes. Member of the PACE observer mission, Tadeusz Iwinski, expressed the view that all candidates should have taken part in televised debates. Allison Gill, the director of the Moscow office of Human Rights Watch, told the press that the electoral campaign “lacked competitiveness”. The CEC, however, said the polls had taken place without serious violations. CEC head, Vladimir Churov, announced that the CEC had received 147 complaints from the Communist Party. (ii) In a Sunday night news conference, Medvedev said his Presidency would be “a direct continuation” of President Vladimir Putin’s policies. Addressing the foreign policy priorities, Medvedev outlined independent foreign policy and the protection of Russia’s interests “by all possible means”. He also dismissed plans to change powers of President and PM. Meanwhile, Vedomosti argues that there could be a significant re-distribution of functions between the Presidential Administration and the Government under the premiership of Putin. Experts forecast staff reshuffles among both federal and regional authorities. (All media)


7 maart 2008


Chechnya President rejected by Journalists Union: The Russian Union of Journalists Secretariat has reversed an earlier decision by the Chechen Journalists Union to accept Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov as an honorary member of the Union, and pointed out that Kadyrov had never worked as a professional journalist. (Gazeta, Interfax, Kommersant, MN, Novye Izvestia)


Ukraine Parliament passes resolution on NATO membership issue: (i) The Ukrainian Parliament yesterday adopted a resolution, stipulating that a decision on Ukraine’s accession to NATO should be taken after a national referendum. (ii) Dailies refer to Robert Simmons, NATO Special Representative for the South Caucasus and Central Asia, who said that Ukraine and Georgia would not be invited to join NATO at the alliance’s summit in Bucharest in April. (Gazeta, Kommersant, RBK daily, Vedomosti, VN)


11 maart 2008


Developments in the Northern Caucasus: (i) The press reports on the killing in Vladikavkaz of Mark Metsayev, the head of the Organized Crime Unit (UBOP) of the Interior Ministry of North Ossetia. Investigators say the killing was related to Metsayev’s professional activities. (ii) In a front-page article, Gazeta reports on a congress of the Ingush people organised by the Ingush opposition over the past weekend. Some 100 delegates, the daily writes, have called on Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev to stop “the arbitrariness” of the Ingush authorities. (iii) Unknown gunmen opened fire on a Russian military vehicle on Sunday in Ingushetia's Sunzhensky district, killing one of the two soldiers on board. (iv)Media report on an attack by armed men on Dagestan’s electricity firm in Makhachkala after the firm cut power supplies over non-payments. (Gazeta, Interfax, Kommersant, MT, NG, VN)

Chechen journalists to leave Russian Journalists Union?: The media reports that Chechen journalists may leave the Russian Journalists Union in protest against the Russian Journalists Union’s refusal to extend membership of the Union to Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov. (Interfax, Kommersant, Novye Izvestia)


21 maart 2008

Clash in Chechnya: At least nine people were killed in an hour long clash between police and militants in Chechnya. The clash took place Wednesday nights near village of Alkhazurovo, southwest of Grozny. It was one of the bloodiest episodes in Chechnya in recent years. Major fighting in Chechnya, which saw two separatist wars in the past 13 years, ended years ago, but the region still, has violence, including militant hit-and-run raids on federal forces and local authorities. (Kommersant, Vremya, the Moscow Times, Nezavisimaya Gazeta)


26 maart 2008


Three policemen killed in Northern Caucasus: (i) Two police officers were killed in an explosion during a special operation late Monday in Chechnya. One policeman was killed in a separate attack late Monday in Dagestan. (ii) Media report that unidentified assailants opened fire on a police checkpoint yesterday in North Ossetia, wounding two policemen. (Interfax, RIAN)


27 maart 2008


General puts number of militants in N. Caucasus up to 500: At a press conference yesterday, Interior Troops commander, Gen. Nikolai Rogozhkin, stated that about 400-500 militants are still active in the Northern Caucasus, adding that a surge in militant activity has been registered in this region recently. Rogozhkin said about 30,000 interior troops are currently deployed in the Northern Caucasus, including 23,000 in Chechnya. (Interfax, Izvestia, NG, RIAN)


31 maart 2008


Probe into Politkovskaya murder case: Prosecutors have prolonged until 7 September 2008 the investigation into the murder case of Novaya Gazeta investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya. A representative of the Prosecutor General’s Office last Friday announced that “the direct murderer of Politkovskaya had been identified” and that investigators “were taking steps to trace and arrest the suspect”. Press reports that the man suspected of Politkovskaya’s killing is 30-year-old Rustam Makhmudov, a native of Chechnya. However, the head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Lyudmila Alekseyeva, argued that reports that a suspect had been identified aimed to “keep up the reputation of Russian law enforcement agencies” ahead of Russian-NATO and Russian-US summits. (Interfax, MT, Novye Izvestia, RG, RIAN, VN)




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