Persoverzicht Tsjetsjenië - november 2005

1 november 2005

- European community concerned about Chechnya — Alkhanov: Rossiyskaya gazeta quotes Chechen President Alu Alkhanov as having demanded that law enforcement agencies undertake more stringent measures in fighting abductions in the republic. Referring to his recent visit to Strasbourg, he stressed that “the European community is concerned about local developments” in Chechnya. (RG)

3 november 2005

- Russia protecting everybody’s interests in Chechnya - Putin: The media continue to report on President Putin’s visit to the Netherlands, focusing on his statements at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Balkenende and a speech at the UN International Court yesterday in The Hague. Commenting on Chechnya, Putin expressed the view that Russia is protecting both its own and Europe’s interests while fighting terrorism in the Northern Caucasus and likened Russia’s problems in the region to the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh and other attacks by Islamic militants. Having mentioned the fact that representatives of Muslin organisations attended the Chechen presidential elections last year as observers and lamented that European observers did not come, Putin accused some European leaders of being “more Muslim than the Prophet Mohammed”. (All media)

- EU ambassadors visit Chechnya : The media report on a visit yesterday to Grozny by a delegation of EU ambassadors, including the British and Austrian ambassadors and the Head of the EC Delegation to Russia, for meetings with Chechen President Alu Alkhanov and other officials ahead of the 27 November parliamentary vote in Chechnya. Special attention is paid to the EU’s decision to allocate 20 million euros for social programmes in the Northern Caucasus. (Interfax, RIAN, Kommersant, MT, NG)

- Over 100 go missing in Chechnya this year - official: Chechen President’s human rights department yesterday announced that up to 113 people were kidnapped or went missing in the republic over the first ten months of the year. Head of the department, Nurdi Nukhazhiyev, has dismissed allegations that 116 people disappeared in Chechnya only last month. Meeting with the EU ambassadors yesterday in Grozny, Chechen President Alkhanov suggested that a federal commission be set up to coordinate searches for missing people. (Interfax, Novye Izvestia)

8 november 2005

- Rock festival opens in Chechnya : The media report on the opening yesterday in Gudermes of the first ever rock festival in the Northern Caucasus. The festival Phoenix: Revival of Life was initially scheduled for July but was cancelled for security reasons. (Interfax, Gazeta, Kommersant, Vremya novostei, MT)

10 november 2005

- Investigation launched into Chechen village shelling : The media report about the shelling by federal troops of the Chechen village of Starye Atagi yesterday which wounded six civilians and destroyed nine houses. Grozny district military commandant Anatoly Guskov called the shelling “an accident” and said compensation would be paid to those affected. The Military Prosecutor’s Office of the combined forces in the Northern Caucasus has initiated an investigation on charges of violating the rules for handling weapons. (Interfax, Kommersant, Vremya novostei, MT)

- Appeal of Chechens who won case in Strasbourg Court rejected : The Russian Supreme Court yesterday rejected an appeal by three Chechen residents, who were convicted on charges of terrorism, and upheld their prison sentences ranging from 9 to 15 years that were handed down by the Chechen Supreme Court. The media note that the Chechens had earlier won a case vs. Russia in the European Court of Human Rights. (Gazeta, Izvestia, Kommersant)

11 november 2005

- Chechen refugees return to Ingushetia? : According to Kommersant, a group of Chechen refugees who left for Chechnya after the closure of tent camps in Ingushetia last year have gone back to Ingushetia. Human rights activists claim that some 350 people have returned due to the lack of security in Chechnya. (Kommersant)

14 november 2005

- Chechnya: three policemen, two gunmen killed : (i) Two Rostov riot police officers were killed and five others wounded in a blast in Chechnya’s Sunzha district on Saturday. The police were reportedly conducting a search for suspected terrorists. (ii) According to the Chechen Interior Ministry, two gunmen and one policeman were killed in a sweep operation yesterday in the Grozny district. (Interfax, Gazeta, NG, Kommersant, Vremya novostei)

15 november 2005

- Court overturns suit to close HR NGO : The Nizhny Novgorod regional court yesterday overturned a lawsuit filed by the regional branch of the Federal Registration Service demanding to end activities of the human rights Russian-Chechen Friendship Society. (Kommersant, Novye Izvestia)

- Chechen presidential representative detained in Adygeya : According to media reports, representative of the Chechen President in the Republic of Adygeya (Northern Caucasus), Kazbek Isayev, has been detained by local police in Maikop following a complaint of a businessman who accused Isayev of extortion. (Kommersant, Vremya novostei)

18 november 2005

- Chechen PM injured in road accident : Electronic media report that Chechen Prime Minister Sergei Abramov was injured in a road accident on Thursday night in Moscow. Chechen envoy to Moscow Ziyad Sabsabi has reportedly ruled out that the accident was an assassination attempt. (Interfax, RIAN)

21 november 2005

- Road accident with Chechen Prime Minister Abramov : Media continue to report about the road accident with Chechen Prime Minister Sergei Abramov where he was seriously injured. The car crash on Thursday night in Moscow raised concerns about a possible assassination attempt, but Chechen officials later insisted it was an accident. Abramov is the second most senior official in Chechnya, which is to hold parliamentary elections next Sunday. First Deputy Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov took over Abramov's duties temporarily. (Izvestia, RG, MT, Inetrfax, Gazeta.ru)

22 november 2005

- Demonstration in Grozny : The streets of Grozny yesterday saw a demonstration, against the recent incident in the Republic involving army personnel (on 6 and 19 November). In Grozny several local human rights groups organized the demonstration which was sanctioned by the department rights of Russia citizens in Chechnya. Representatives of about 20 human rights organisations, members of youth organizations and Grozny college students took part in the demonstration. Demonstrators demanded that armoured personnel vehicles be banned from Grozny streets, unnecessary checkpoints be dismantled, joint patrols of the Chechen Interior Ministry and OMON servicemen be placed at the remaining checkpoints and that servicemen be held accountable by law. (Interfax, Kommersant, Nezavisimaya)

24 november 2005

- Chechen elections : Yesterday the TV Channel One showed former Chechen rebel ‘General’ Khizir Khachukaev appealed to Chechens to disarm and to participate in the Sunday's parliamentary elections in Chechnya. A former follower of Aslan Maskhadov, Khachukaev has recently laid down his weapons and surrendered to the authorities. Some media also report on the decision of Chairman of the Chechen State Council (interim parliament) Taus Dzhabrailov to withdraw his candidacy from the elections. Dzhabrailov, a close associate of former President Kadyrov, explained his decision in terms of strong pressures and a dirty campaign against him in the local media. (Kommersant, Vremya Novostei, Channel One)

25 november 2005

- Chechen elections : Media continue to report on the Chechen parliamentary elections campaign and unprecedented security measures taken. The Moscow Times publishes a recent opinion poll by Chechen authorities shows that the pro-Kremlin United Russia party would win the largest share of the vote, with 35 %, followed by the liberal Yabloko party -10%-, The communist party- 10 %, the nationalist Rodina party-4.2 % and the liberal Union of Right Forces party -3.2 %. The Chechen parliamentary elections scheduled for Sunday, 27 November. (MT, Gazeta, Kommersant)

28 november 2005

- United Russia leading in Chechen vote : According to preliminary results of yesterday’s parliamentary elections in Chechnya, United Russia was holding the lead with 59.26% of the party list vote with the Communist Party coming second (11.93%) and the Union of Rightist Forces (SPS third (10.57%). The Chechen branch of the Eurasian Union gained 5.2% of votes, the liberal Yabloko party received about 4% of the vote, while Rodina gained 3.1%. The vote turnout stands at around 57%, whereas the turnout at the 2003 federal elections to the State Duma was 87%. Observers believe that the majority of the seats in the bicameral Chechen Parliament will be packed with supporters of Chechnya’s 1st Deputy Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov. Interfax cites head of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alexeyeva, who called elections “a farce”. The media point to unprecedented security measures with about 24,000 troops and policemen guarding 430 polling stations in Chechnya. (Interfax, RIAN, Ekho Moskvy; all print media)

29 november 2005

- Three parties to get seats in Chechen parliament : The media report extensively about the outcome of Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Chechnya. Preliminary results indicate that United Russia won about 60% of the party list vote, the Communists came second with around 12%, and the Union of Rightist Forces (SPS) gained 11%. These three parties gain parliamentary representation. Other parties (Zhirinovsky’s LDPR, Rodina (‘Motherland’), People’s Will, Yabloko and the Eurasian Union) failed to pass the 5-percent threshold. Some experts point to the presence on the SPS party list of Magomed Khambiyev, a former in Maskhadov’s rebel government who surrendered to federal authorities in 2004. Elections Commission Chairman Ismail Baykhanov said around 60% of Chechnya’s voters took part in the elections. According to officials, no complaints or reports of electoral fraud had been filed. (All media)

- Reactions to Chechen vote : (i) In a telephone talk with Chechen President Alu Alkhanov yesterday, President Putin said the Chechen vote “formally conclude the restoration of constitutional order in the republic”. (ii) In view of Andreas Gross, who led a delegation of the Council of Europe that was in Chechnya during the parliamentary elections, it is difficult to evaluate the elections when authorities are still “intimidating people”. (iii) RIA-Novosti provides the commentary of US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack, who expressed hope that the Chechen leadership would use the outcome of the vote to stop the conflict and ensure normal life based on democratic principles. (iv) Nezavisimaya gazeta quotes Commission spokeswoman, Emma Udwin, as expressing the view that the Chechen vote might be a step toward a political settlement and lasting peace in the republic. (Interfax, NG Novye Izvestia, RIAN)

- Chechen president to meet former separatists in Brussels : At a press conference yesterday in Grozny, Chechen President Alkhanov announced that he would soon visit Brussels and meet with “the so called leaders of Ichkeria [the name given to Chechnya by the separatist government in 1991]” in an effort to “promote a normal life for former militants in Chechnya and for people who have moved to the West”. He did not disclose with whom he intends to meet. Answering question of Andreas Gross, Alkhanov called Chechen separatist envoy Akhmed Zakayev “a criminal”, but added that “if Zakayev is amnestied…we will have dialogue”. (Interfax, RIAN, NG, Vremya novostei)

30 november 2005

- EU welcomes Chechen vote : (i) In a statement cited by Interfax, the UK Presidency has welcomed the 27 November parliamentary elections in Chechnya as “an important step towards broader representation of a range of views in Chechen society”. (ii) Nezavisimaya gazeta publishes an interview with Andreas Gross, the head of a delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe that was in Grozny during the parliamentary vote, which is entitled “The elections in Chechnya were not free”. (Interfax, NG)

- Iran trains Chechen militants? : Izvestia refers to the recent article published by The Sunday Telegraph, which alleged that Iran is training Chechen militants to enable them to carry out attacks against Russian federal forces. Izvestia labels the publication as part of “the information war that the West is conducting against the Iranian regime”. (Izvestia)

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