Persoverzicht Tsjetsjenië - november 2009

2 november 2009

Operations in Northern Caucasus :At least eleven militants and one police officer were killed in the Northern Caucasus over the weekend and on Monday in separate incidents. A village imam was killed on Sunday in Dagestan’s Kizilyurt district. In an interview with Kommersant-Vlast weekly magazine, Ingush writer Issa Kodzoyev addresses the current problems in Ingushetia and expresses the view that Ingush President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov is unlikely to radically change the situation in the republic. ( Interfax, Kommersant, MT, RIAN )

Eleven killed in Yakutia air crash: A Russian Interior Ministry Ilyushin Il-76 plane, bound for Irkutsk, crashed after taking off in Yakutia (Russia’s Far East), killing eleven crewmembers onboard. According to media reports, the plane was flying without cargo to Irkutsk en route to the Northern Caucasus for a military personnel exchange. ( Gazeta, Kommersant, MT, Novye Izvestia, RG, VN )

3 november 2009

Chechnya calls for mine clearance :(i) Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports that the Chechen authorities and Chechen society have demanded that the federal authorities start mine clearance activities in the republic. According to the Emergency Situations Ministry, more than 3,000 civilians have suffered from mines and unexploded shells in Chechnya since 1994. (ii) Kommersant cites Ingush President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov as saying that more than 100 Ingush families are ready to resettle to the Sverdlovsk region (the Urals) in the framework of a project of the resettlement of unemployed residents of Ingushetia to other Russian regions. The daily adds, however, that there are around 200,000 jobless people in the Sverdlovsk region itself. ( Kommersant, NG)

6 november 2009

Chechen rights activist detained in Moscow : Kommersant reports on the detention by Chechen law enforcement officers yesterday in Moscow of the head of the Grozny-based NGO ‘Law’, Arbi Khachukayev. Chechen law enforcement officers reportedly tried to fly him to Grozny. According to some rights advocates, contacted by Kommersant, Khachukayev has been detained because of his brother, Aslambek, who was, as Chechen police argue, a member of illegal armed groups and has been killed in an operation in Chechnya. ( Kommersant, MT )

9 november 2009

Chechen rights activist released in Grozny :The head of a Grozny-based NGO, Arbi Khachukayev, who was detained by Chechen law enforcement officers in Moscow last Thursday and convoyed to Grozny, has been released from custody, member of the Memorial human rights centre Svetlana Gannushkina said on Friday. (Kommersant )

10 november 2009

Russian court looks at death penalty ban extension :Russia’s constitutional Court argued for the elimination of the death penalty at the hearings into whether to lift a 10-year moratorium on capital punishment. The constitutional court will announce its ruling within a month. According to a President’s envoy to the Constitutional Court, President Medvedev supports the gradual abolition of the death penalty. In February 1999 the Constitutional Court ruled that the death penalty could not be imposed until jury trials were available in all Russian regions. Chechnya will be the last region to introduce jury trials on January 1. Meanwhile, according to some observers more than half of Russian citizens support the death penalty.( All media )

12 november 2009

Five suspected militants killed, Arab mercenary injured in Chechnya operation :(i) Five suspected militants were killed and an Arab mercenary was injured in an operation yesterday in Chechnya. Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov said four of the five militants, who had been killed, have been identified, adding that federal arrest warrants have been issued for two of them over suspected involvement in attacks on law enforcement officers and civilians. (ii) Grozny airport has received an international status. Izvestia writes that the first international flight will be made on 16 November from Chechnya to Saudi Arabia. (iii) A trunk gas pipeline was blown up late on Wednesday in Dagestan. ( Interfax, ITAR-TASS, Izvestia )

13 november 2009

Chechnya President receives Police Major General rank : Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has been awarded the rank of Police Major General for “his contribution to police operations against illegal armed groups”. ( Interfax, Trud )

Medvedev in state-of-the-nation address calls for reforming economy, normalizing situation in Northern Caucasus : President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday delivered his annual state-of-the-nation address to the Federal Assembly. It was Medvedev's second state-of-the-nation address since taking office in May 2008. Medvedev called for economic reform in Russia. Highlighting the need for modernising Russia, he emphasized that the modernization will be based on democratic values and institutions and outlined the main directions of the modernization. He paid attention to state corporations, saying that they cannot continue to exist in the current form. He also touched upon the problem of corruption, saying that corrupt officials must be jailed. Medvedev pledged that new weapons will be supplied to the Russian Armed Forces, and proposed that the rules of employment of foreign specialists in Russia should be simplified. He also promised to make it easier for political parties to participate in elections by cancelling requirements to collect signatures. The President also paid attention to civil society, education and proposed that the number of time zones in Russia, currently 11, be reduced. Addressing the situation in the Northern Caucasus, Medvedev described as “unprecedented” the level of corruption and violence in the region and instructed the Government to “assess the efficiency of federal structures in the region and prepare a list of investment projects”. He noted in particular that although the volume of funds from the federal budget to the Northern Caucasus is “considerable”, “efficiency of spending leaves much to be desired”. He added that “moreover, part of the funds is almost openly stolen by officials”. Medvedev suggested that a special official who holds personal responsibility for the situation in the Northern Caucasus should be appointed. Commenting on the latter proposal, Kommersant says that it is unclear to whom a special official for the Northern Caucasus will be subordinate — to the President or the Government. Experts, contacted by RBK daily, do not rule out that a Deputy PM in charge of the Northern Caucasus might be appointed. Speaking on foreign policy, Medvedev confirmed Russia’s priority of a multipolar world, strengthening the UN and promoting a new European security treaty. In the view of political expert Gleb Pavlovsky, Medvedev’s address “contains a serious claim for leadership”. Analyst Alexei Makarkin called the address “a claim for re-election”. ( All media ; see also economic headlines; the text of Medvedev’s address in Russian is available on the website:http://www.kremlin.ru/transcripts/5979)

20 november 2009

Russian Constitutional Court outlaws death penalty : The Constitutional Court has banned death penalty in Russia. The Constitutional Court ruled that Russian courts would not apply death penalty after January 1, 2010, when the last constituent - the Chechen Republic - acquired the right to jury trials. Russian Human Rights Commissioner Vladimir Lukin has welcomed the Constitutional Court ruling preserving a moratorium on the death penalty. ( All media )

24 november 2009

Medvedev meets rights council members : Commenting on a meeting on Monday between President Dmitry Medvedev with members of the Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights, led by Ella Pamfilova, observers mention the issues of extremism, the fight against corruption, the death of jailed lawyer Sergey Magnitsky, and a recent appeal to PM Vladimir Putin by police major Alexei Dymovsky. Pamfilova also proposed to Medvedev that a special meeting be organised to discuss the situation in the Northern Caucasus, and called for reforming the country’s law enforcement system. Medvedev pledged to continue to “upgrade” the status of NGOs, adding that he will submit to Parliament a draft bill on benefits for socially-oriented NGOs. ( Gazeta, Interfax, Izvestia, Kommersant, MT, NG, Novye Izvestia, RG, Vedomosti, VN )

25 november 2009

Northern Caucasus :(i) An investigation was launched into the murder of a police officer and a bailiff, who were found beheaded in the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria. (ii) Novaya Gazeta cites a report by the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg, which is based on the visit to Chechnya and Ingushetia in September. The report inter alia highlights “increased activity by illegal armed groups” and expresses particular concern over “the lack of effective investigations into disappearances and killings, and murders of human rights activists”. (iii) Counterterrorist operations were launched on Tuesday in several villages of Ingushetia’s Sunzha district. ( Kommersant, NG, Novaya Gazeta, VN )

30 november 2009

26 killed, four missing in Moscow-St. Petersburg train bombing : At least26 people were killed, more than 90 injured, including six foreigners, and four were missing after a bomb derailed a ‘Nevsky Express’ train running from Moscow to St. Petersburg on Friday evening near the administrative border of the Novgorod and Tver regions. Reports on the number killed varied. The attack killed two high-rankling Government officials — the head of the Russian Federal Reserve Agency Boris Yevstratikov and the head of Rosavtodor (Russia’s Federal Road Agency) Sergey Tarasov. At a meeting of top security and transportation officials with President Dmitry Medvedev on Saturday, the head of the Federal Security Service (FSB) Alexander Bortnikov said an explosive device equivalent to 7 kg of TNT was detonated. Medvedev ordered a thorough investigation of the train crash. A criminal case on terrorism charges and illegal storage of weapons or explosives has been opened into the train derailment. A second bomb detonated on Saturday. No one was injured. Russian Railways head Vladimir Yakunin told the press that a similar derailment took place on 13 August 2007 when a ‘Nevsky Express’ train was derailed by an explosion, in which about 60 people were injured. Two Ingush natives were charged for that attack, while former military cadet Pavel Kosolapov, who fought with Chechen militants, was blamed for the attack and remains at large. RBK daily does not exclude that Friday’s bombing might be a reaction by militants towards Moscow’s policy in the Northern Caucasus. There is also a theory of nationalistic organisations’ possible involvement in the attack. Some media outlets reported that a so-called ‘Combat-18’ nationalist group has allegedly claimed responsibility for the bombing. Some commentators, however, voiced doubts about the existence of such a group. Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev said investigators were looking for a red-haired main about 40 years old in connection with the bombing, adding that several suspects could be involved in the attack. Some observers (e.g. RBK daily) view the bombing as a direct challenge thrown down to political elite. The attack has raised fears of an upsurge of terrorist attacks in Moscow and other big cities. It is to be mentioned that Vedomosti speaks of President Medvedev’s public openness in dealing with the aftermath of a terrorist attack in comparison with Vladimir Putin’s approach during his Presidency. ( All media )

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