Persoverzicht Tsjetsjenië - maart 2010

1 maart 2010

Medvedev visits Kabardino-Balkaria,Karachayevo-Cherkessia: (i) President Dmitry Medvedev chaired a meeting on the development of the Northern Caucasus on Saturday in Nalchik (the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria). He was accompanied by Deputy PM and Presidential envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District Alexander Khloponin. Medvedev pointed to problems in the region such as the existence of “extremist bandit units” and corruption, and expressed the view that improvement of the socio-economic situation would help solve those problems. Also on Saturday, Medvedev visited the Republic of Karachayevo-Cherkessia. (ii) Three suspects have been charged with involvement in the assassination in June 2009 in Makhachkala of Dagestan’s Interior Minister Adilgerei Magomedtagirov. (iii) The press reports on the appointment of senator from Ingushetia Vasily Likhachev as Deputy Justice Minister. Kommersant does not rule out that former Ingush Interior Minister Ruslan Meiriyev may replace Likhachev in the Federation Council. (Izvestia, Kommersant, RG)

2 maart 2010

Putin visits Ingushetia, North Ossetia: (i) On a visit to Ingushetia on Monday, PM Vladimir Putin said that RUR 43 billion (more than €1 billion) will be allocated from the federal budget for the socioeconomic development of Ingushetia until 2016. Also on Monday, Putin visited North Ossetia. He was accompanied by Deputy PM and Presidential envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District Alexander Khloponin. Meeting North Ossetian leader Taimuraz Mamsurov in Beslan, Putin addressed relations with South Ossetia. (ii) A ceremony was held yesterday in Pskov to commemorate 84 paratroopers of the 6th company of the 104th regiment of the Pskov Airborne Division who were killed in a battle with more than 2,500 militants near the Chechen village of Ulus-Kert in 2000. (Gazeta, Izvestia, RG, VN)

3 maart 2010

Special department to investigate abductions in Chechnya: The Investigative Committee within the Prosecutor General’s Office has set up a special department to investigate abductions in Chechnya. An announcement was made by the Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin on Tuesday in Grozny. Vremya novostei reports that Chechen Human Rights Commissioner Nurdi Nukhazhiyev has handed over to Bastrykin documents containing information on more than 200 Chechen residents who disappeared between 1999 and 2003. According to Nukhazhiyev, military and police officers may have been involved in those disappearances. (Interfax, Lenta.ru, RIAN, VN)

5 maart 2010

Notorious militant leader reportedly killed in Ingushetia operation: (i) According to law enforcement sources, notorious gang leader in the Northern Caucasus Alexander Tikhomirov, known as Said Buryatsky, was killed in an operation on Tuesday in Ingushetia’s Nazran district. Earlier, the press reported that at least six suspected militants were killed in this operation. Police said that Tikhomirov had been involved in organising a number of terrorist attacks, including a suicide bombing near the Nazran police department, an attempt on the life of Ingush President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov and the Nevsky Express train bombing in 2009. (ii) The media report on a proposal by the head of the Investigative Committee within the Prosecutor’s General Office Alexander Bastrykin who suggested introducing the mandatory fingerprinting and DNA profiling of all residents of the North Caucasus Federal District and registering motor vehicles in the region. Chechen officials have slammed the proposal. (Interfax, Izvestia, Kommersant, Lenta.ru, NG, RIAN, VN)

9 maart 2010

FSB confirms militant leader’s killing in Ingushetia operation: Meeting President Medvedev on Saturday in Sochi, the head of the Federal Security Service (FSB) Alexander Bortnikov confirmed that notorious militant leader Alexander Tikhomirov, known as Said Buryatsky, was among eight militants killed in an operation last week in Ingushetia. Bortnikov said that a militant group led by Buryatsky had been involved in the November 2009 bombing of the Nevsky Express train. Police earlier said that Buryatsky had been responsible for a number of terrorist attacks, including an attempt on the life of Ingush leader Yevkurov. Kommersant refers to sources in law enforcement agencies who said that Buryatsky was training 30 potential suicide bombers in the Northern Caucasus. (Gazeta, Interfax, Izvestia, Kommersant, MT, RG, RIAN)

10 maart 2010

Appointment in Chechnya: Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has appointed Magomed Daudov as Chechnya’s First Deputy PM in charge of law enforcement agencies. Kadyrov prioritised interaction between Chechen authorities and federal law enforcement agencies, including the FSB’s department for Chechnya. (Kommersant)

11 maart 2010

USmilitary pilots to get extra pay for the knowledge of Russian, Chechen languages: The US Air Force has listed Russian as one of the most important languages and offered pilots a bonus of $500 a month for the knowledge of Russian. The Georgian language was included in the second list of "languages needed for crisis or potential threat", while Chechen was put on the third list. (Izvestia, RG)

12 maart 2010

USState Department critical of Russia's human rights record: Electronic media report on the US State Department's 2009 Human Rights Report, which cites human rights violations in Russia. The report points to "direct and indirect government interference in regional and local elections", police abuses and corruption, and the killings of human rights activists and journalists. The report voices particular concern over the situation in the Northern Caucasus, and speaks of an increase in the number of extrajudicial killings and disappearances and attacks on law enforcement officers in the region. At the same time, the report says that the number of race-hate crimes in Russia last year decreased. (Gazeta.ru, Interfax, Lenta.ru, RIAN, Ekho Moskvy)

15 maart 2010

Chechnya's Kadyrov says no need to send additional officers to Chechnya: Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov on Saturday said law enforcement officers stationed in Chechnya are capable of maintaining order in Chechnya and that there is no need to send additional officers from other parts of Russia. (Interfax, NG)

17 maart 2010

Prison system 'architect' Kalinin dismissed: President Medvedev has dismissed Deputy Justice Minister Yury Kalinin, who is called by the press an "architect of the country's corrupt prison system". Observers view the dismissal as part of penitentiary system reform in Russia. Kommersant reports that Deputy Justice Minister and former Chechen President, Alu Alkhanov, will be in charge temporarily of the prison system. (Izvestia, Kommersant, MT, RG, Vedomosti, VN)

Medvedev demands that officials fulfil his instructions:During a video conference on Tuesday, President Dmitry Medvedev warned federal and regional officials that they could find themselves out on the street for not fulfilling his instructions. In 2008, the President made 1,354 official directives and 1,753 in 2009, including instructions on issues such as the creation of e-Government, investment in the economic development of the Northern Caucasus and reorganisation of state corporations. However, many of the directives remain unfulfilled. Presidential aide Konstantin Chuichenko listed the Energy, Defence and Regional Development Ministries as the biggest offenders in implementing Presidential instructions. (Gazeta, Izvestia, Kommersant, MT, NG, RBK daily, RG, Vedomosti, VN)

18 maart 2010

Six militants killed in Chechnya operation: Six militants were killed in an operation launched in Chechnya on Wednesday. At least three policemen were killed and two others wounded in the operation. Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov said that a group of up to 20 militants have been blocked by police. (Interfax, RIAN)

19 maart 2010

Arab mercenary killed in Chechnya operation: Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov announced on Thursday that Arab mercenary and al-Qaeda figure, Abu Haled, has been killed in an operation in Chechnya. Chechen law enforcement officials said that Abu Haled had been responsible for the security of Chechen warlord Doku Umarov. (Kommersant, VN)

23 maart 2010

PACE delegation visits Russia: Lawmakers from the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) arrived in Moscow on Monday to survey Russia's compliance with its obligations to the Council of Europe. PACE rapporteur on human rights in the Northern Caucasus, Dick Marty, yesterday met with Duma members and is scheduled to visit the Northern Caucasus on Tuesday. Gazeta writes that a report on the situation on the Northern Caucasus is expected to be submitted to the PACE in June. Also on Monday, PACE co-rapporteurs for monitoring Russia, Andreas Gross and Gyorgy Frunda, arrived in Moscow. (Gazeta, MT, NG)

'Emir of Grozny' killed in Dagestan operation: The FSB's Dagestani branch said that so-called 'emir of Grozny', Salambek Akhmadov, was killed in an operation on Monday in Makhachkala. Akhmadov had been involved in a series of attacks on Chechen law enforcement officers, including a 2004 militant attack in Grozny in which at least 50 policemen and 30 civilians were killed. (Kommersant)

24 maart 2010

Ingush judges complain of being under pressure: In a front-page article, Kommersant reports on a letter sent by the Council of Ingush judges to President Medvedev claiming that Ingush President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov allegedly exerts pressure on judges and interferes in their work. Copies of the letter have been sent to Chairman of the Russian Supreme Court Vyacheslav Lebedev, Prosecutor General Yury Chaika and Presidential envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District Alexander Khloponin. Yevkurov, in turn, argued that local judges are "boycotting deliberately" the fight against crime, the daily writes. (Kommersant)

25 maart 2010

Auditors under pressure in Ingushetia – Audit Chamber head:(i) Audit Chamber head Sergey Stepashin yesterday told the Duma that the Audit Chamber has sent a letter to the FSB chief and the Interior Minister over the pressure exerted on auditors during checks into budget spending and the handling of land resources in Ingushetia. He also said that the FSB and Interior Ministry are investigating an attempt to embezzle in Dagestan RUR100 million (about €2.5 million) allocated from the federal budget. (ii) Ingush President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov has asked the Russian Supreme Court to replace the head of the Ingush Supreme Court and accused the republic's judicial system of corruption. (iii) PACE rapporteur for the human rights situation in the Northern Caucasus Dick Marty met Ingush leader Yevkurov and representatives of local NGOs during his visit to Ingushetia on Wednesday. (iv) The press reports on the election of Magomed-Sultan Magomedov, an ethnic Kumyk, as new speaker of Dagestan's Parliament. (Gazeta, Gazeta.ru, Interfax, Kommersant, Novye Izvestia, VN)

Russia among main countries of origin for asylum seekers: Novye Izvestia cites a UNHCR report on the number of people seeking asylum last year. Afghanistan was the top source of asylum seekers in 2009, followed by Iraq. Russia ranks fourth in the list of countries of origin for people seeking asylum in foreign countries, after Somalia. There were 20,400 Russian asylum-seekers last year, mainly natives of North Caucasus republics. (Novye Izvestia)

26 maart 2010

Two former Russian officers, Georgian national convicted of spying for Georgia: The North Caucasus District Military Court has convicted two former Russian military officers and a Georgian national [who is a Georgian intelligence service agent] of spying for Georgia and sentenced them to prison terms, ranging from 11 to 15 years imprisonment. The court found that the Georgian intelligence service agent arrived in North Ossetia in 2007 with the purpose to collect information about military units in the North Caucasus. (Gazeta, Izvestia, Kommersant, RG)

29 maart 2010

At least 37 killed in blasts in Moscow metro: At least 37 people were killed and more than 70 inured in two blasts in the Moscow metro during Monday morning's rush hour. The first blast occurred at around 07:50am (04:50GMT) at Lubyanka metro station, and the second blast at around 08:30am (05:30GMT) at Park Kultury. Investigators said both bombs exploded on trains. A criminal case on charges of terrorism has been opened following the blasts. According to preliminary reports, both blasts most likely have been carried out by female suicide bombers. The FSB head Bortnikov reported to President Medvedev on the explosions. Some analysts view "the Caucasus trace" behind the explosions and do not exclude that the blasts could have been militants' revenge for recent operations in which several notorious militants leaders have been killed. (Interfax, RIAN)

Up to 500 militants active in Northern Caucasus – Interior Troops commander: Interior Troops Commander Nikolai Rogozhkin said on Friday that according to various estimates, up to 500 militants are currently active in the Northern Caucasus. He described the situation in the region as "complicated, but controllable". (Interfax, NG)

30 maart 2010

North Caucasus militants most likely involved in blasts:FSB head Alexander Bortnikov said that the attacks were committed by terrorist groups that had links to the North Caucasus region. He pointed out that fragments of the suicide bombers' bodies found at the scene of the explosions indicate that the bombers were most likely from the Northern Caucasus. Investigators said the bomb that went off at Lubyanka station had an equivalent force of up to 4 kg of TNT and the bomb at Park Kultury was equivalent to 1.5-2 kg of TNT. In both cases, the bombs were filled with bolts and iron rods. The blasts could have been revenge by terrorists for recent successful operations in the Northern Caucasus in which notorious militants, including Said Buryatsky, Abu Haled, Salambek Akhmadov and Anzor Astemirov, have been killed. In the past months, Chechen militant leader Doku Umarov has threatened to stage terrorist attacks in Russia. On a visit to Canada on Monday, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told journalists that the Moscow metro bombings could have been carried out with support from abroad.

31 maart 2010

Medvedev, Putin promise crackdown on terrorism as Moscow mourns victims of metro bombings: President Medvedev and PM Putin on Tuesday made statements on the need for new anti-terrorism measures as Moscow mourned the victims of twin suicide bombings during the morning rush hour on Monday in the Moscow metro that killed 39 people and injured more than 70. Both Medvedev and Putin discussed ways of enhancing transportation and infrastructure security. Putin stressed "it is a matter of honor for law enforcement bodies to drag out of the sewer into God's light" those behind the bombings and promised to improve the "technical means of detecting explosives" and "ways of warning and informing citizens". Medvedev, while meeting the heads of Russia's Supreme and High Arbitration Courts, called for toughening legislation on terrorism-related crimes. The press yesterday reported that the Federation Council's Committee for Legal and Judicial Issues has proposed to draft amendments to the Penal Code envisaging the death penalty for organizers of terrorist attacks. However, Federation Council deputy speaker Alexander Torshin dismissed allegations that senators have been drafting a bill reinstating the death penalty for terrorists. Meeting the head of the Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights Ella Pamfilova later on Tuesday, Medvedev said that authorities must improve the socio-economic situation in the Northern Caucasus, adding that "this job is even harder than looking for and destroying terrorists". In an interview given to Interfax and published also in Kommersant, Secretary of Russia's Security Council Nikolai Patrushev noted that Russian investigators will inquire into Georgian special services' possible involvement in the Moscow metro blasts. Meanwhile, some commentators say that the Moscow metro bombings have indicated a failure of the Russian authorities' policy in the Northern Caucasus and a failure of Russian special services to prevent the attacks. Chechen Parliament speaker Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov has accused 'Moscow special services' of negligence "because a strategic object like the metro must be kept safe". In public debates online, some Internet users accused police of taking bribes rather than tracking down terrorists. (Gazeta, Gazeta.ru, Interfax, Izvestia, Kommersant, Lenta.ru, MT, NG, RBK daily, RG, Vedomosti, VN)

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