Persoverzicht Tsjetsjenië - oktober 2010

1 oktober 2010

Large-scale terrorist attack prevented in Stavropol:(i) A large-scale terrorist attack was prevented in Stavropol after two bombs planted in cars were defused by sappers on Thursday in the city. The first car, containing a dead body and a bomb, was spotted outside a café. The dead man has been identified as a local taxi driver. The second bomb, hidden in a garbage heap, was found nearby. Up to 3,000 people have been evacuated in the neighbouring area during the operation to disarm the bombs. The press reports that investigators do not exclude that the same terrorist group might have been involved in the organisation of terrorist attacks in Stavropol and in August in Pyatigorsk. In both cases, taxi cars were used and the taxi drivers were killed by militants. (ii) A school in Beslan (North Ossetia) was evacuated on Thursday after a phone call about a bomb planted in the building. No explosives were found. (iii) According to up-dated reports, 16 policemen were inured in an explosion late on Wednesday in the Dagestani town of Kaspiisk. Electronic media report on an operation against militants on Friday in Makhachkala. (iv) In a lengthy interview with Kommersant, Kabardino-Balkaria leader Arsen Kanokov comments on recent terrorist attacks in the republic and expresses the view that the roots of terrorism are not in the poverty. (v) The Moscow City Court has sentenced to 10 years imprisonment native of Chechnya Turko Batayev for preparing a terrorist attack in Moscow during the City Day. Batayev was detained in September 2009. (Gazeta.ru, Izvestia, Kommersant, Lenta.ru, MT, RG, VN)

Dagestan lawmakers back proposal to change top post's title: Dagestan's legislature has backed a proposal to rename the post of the republic's top official (currently, the post is called 'president'). Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov earlier called to "end the parade of regional presidents" in Russia. (Izvestia, RG)

5 oktober 2010

North Caucasus development concept endorsed: (i) The Russian Government has published on its web site a strategy for the North Caucasus Federal District socioeconomic development until 2025. Special emphasis is made on the development of tourism in the region. (ii) Dailies report on an incident following Sunday's football match in Makhachkala between Anzhi Makhachkala and Spartak Moscow. After Anzhi's defeat, a bus carrying Spartak's football players was pelted with stones, while another bus carrying Spartak's fans came under fire from a traumatic gun. (Izvestia, Novye Izvestia, RBK daily; see also economic headlines)

Socio-economic strategy for North Caucasus approved: PM Putin signed the Strategy of the socioeconomic development of the North Caucasus Federal District up to 2025. It envisages a diversification of the regional economy with an emphasis on tourism. The economy should expand at an annual pace of 8-10%. Meanwhile, unemployment in the region, as the authors admit, could exceed 400,000 people already by 2015. The Agency for Labour Migration will be formed to tackle the problem. The Agency will seek free workplaces for unemployed outside the region, and will see to it that their rights were not violated and their salaries were paid on time. It is expected that unemployed from the region would occupy 10% of the labour market which is currently occupied by foreign migrants. (RBK daily)

6 oktober 2010

Security officials confer in Sochi:An international conference of high-ranking security officials from more than 40 countries opened yesterday in Sochi to discuss the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking, organised crime and other challenges. Kommersant writes that Moscow hopes that the forum could become a permanent platform for discussions on contemporary threats. In his speech, Russian Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev inter alia stressed that militants active in the Northern Caucasus have links to al-Qaeda and warned of terrorists' attempts to acquire control of weapons of mass destruction and to stage subversive acts "in areas where hydrocarbon resources are extracted." (Interfax, Izvestia, Kommersant, RG)

7 oktober 2010

International terrorist organisations behind recent terror attacks in Russia – official: (i) Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said on Wednesday in Sochi that international terrorist organisations stand behind recent terror attacks in Russia, including the bombings in Pyatigorsk, Stavropol and Vladikavkaz. Head of the Russian Interior Ministry's branch for the North Caucasus Federal District, Sergey Chenchik, announced yesterday in Pyatigorsk that more than 500 terrorism related crimes were committed in the Northern Caucasus in January-September 2010. (ii) Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports that Chechnya has introduced a fine of RUR1 million for bride kidnapping. (Gazeta.ru, Interfax, RG)

12 oktober 2010

Situation in Northern Caucasus close to 'state of war' –chief investigator:(i) In a radio interview on Monday, the head of the Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin called the situation in the Northern Caucasus close to "a state of war." He stressed that the police in Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria and Chechnya "lose up to 5 to 6 men every day." At the same time, he added that militants are killed in operations conducted by the FSB and the Interior Ministry. (ii) An official of the Kabardino-Balkaria Supreme Court was shot dead on Saturday in Kabardino-Balkaria. (iii) Kommersant reports that Chechen separatist emissary Akhmed Zakayev has announced the resignation of a so-called 'Ichkerian government' and declared his loyalty to warlord Khusein Gakayev. (Ekho Moskvy, Interfax, Kommersant)

Georgiato introduce visa-free travel for Russia's North Caucasus residents: The Georgian authorities announced their decision to introduce visa-free travel for Russian citizens residing in the Northern Caucasus. The new rules would apply to residents of North Ossetia, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Chechnya, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachayevo-Cherkessia and Adygeya. The residents of these regions will be able to stay in Georgia without visa for 90 days, Georgia's Deputy Foreign Minister Nino Kalandadze said on Monday. A Russian diplomat is quoted by Kommersant as having described Tbilisi's decision as a "political provocation." (Kommersant, VN)

13 oktober 2010

Three militants behind Vladikavkaz bombing arrested – FSB chief: The head of the Federal Security Service (FSB) Alexander Bortnikov announced on Tuesday that the 9 September suicide bombing near the central market in Vladikavkaz that killed 19 people has been solved. Three militants have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the bombing and in more than 10 blasts in Ingushetia, while two others have been killed. One of the detainees, former policeman Isa Khashagulgov who has ties with Chechen terrorist leader Doku Umarov, is considered by the FSB as the organiser of the Vladikavkaz blast. Bortnikov also said that the number of terrorist attacks in Chechnya and Ingushetia has dropped, but pointed to the tense situation in Dagestan and Kabardino-Balkaria. A total of 301 militants have been killed in the Northern Caucasus since the beginning of this year, he said. (Gazeta.ru, Interfax, Kommersant, RG, VN)

Lavrov slams Georgia's decision to scrap visas for North Caucasus residents: (i) Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov branded as "propaganda" reports on Georgia's decision to introduce visa-free travel for Russian citizens residing in the Northern Caucasus. (ii) Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on the visit to Georgia of a NATO delegation to prepare an evaluation document before the NATO Summit in Lisbon next month. (iii) In a lengthy interview with Kommersant, Abkhaz President Sergey Bagapsh comments on Russian investments in Abkhazia, the problem of refugees from Abkhazia and other issues. (Izvestia, Kommersant, MT, NG, RIAN, VN)

14 oktober 2010

World Congress of Chechen people held in Grozny: The World Congress of the Chechen people completed its work on Wednesday in Grozny. Head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov has been elected Secretary-General of the Congress. Kadryov is quoted as having called on foreign delegates to “talk sense into those who continue attempts to divide the Chechen people while hiding in Europe.” Kommersant recalls that a month ago, supporters of Chechen separatist emissary Akhmed Zakayev held the World Chechen Congress near Warsaw. Vremya novostei reports that Kadyrov has accused Zakayev of involvement in a recent attack on the Chechen village of Tsentoroi. (Kommersant, VN)

15 oktober 2010

Memorial head Orlov's slander case: Vremya novosteiaddresses ongoing hearings in a Moscow district court of the case against head of the Memorial human rights centre Oleg Orlov, who is accused of slandering Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. Orlov had claimed that Kadyrov bears responsibility for the death of human rights activist Natalia Estemirova, who was killed in the Northern Caucasus in July 2009. The daily cites Chechen Human Rights Commissioner Nurdi Nukhazhiyev as having dismissed allegations of Kadyrov's possible involvement in Estemirova's murder and criticising Memorial's activity. (VN)

19 oktober 2010

At least three killed in militant attack on Chechen Parliament: At least three people, including two police officers, were killed and 17 others were wounded in a militant attack on the Chechen Parliament on Tuesday morning in Grozny. Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov said that three militants were killed in an operation after the building was evacuated. Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev said in Grozny that the attack on the Chechen Parliament building "has failed." Kadyrov informed PM Vladimir Putin of the operation against gunmen. President Dmitry Medvedev, who is currently on a visit to France, has been informed of the attack. Security was tightened in Dagestan following the attack on the Chechen Parliament. (Interfax, RIAN)

20 oktober 2010

Gunmen attack Chechen Parliament:(i) The press reports widely on a militant attack on the Chechen Parliament on Tuesday morning. Two police officers and a parliamentary employee were killed in the attack, and 17 other people were injured. According to media reports, three militants participated in the attack. At least one gunman blew himself up outside the building as lawmakers arrived for work, and two others entered the building and blew themselves up during the police operation. On a visit to Grozny, Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev praised the Chechen police's actions, saying that the Chechen police forces are capable to ensure security and having described the situation in Chechnya as "stable and safe." This was the second high-profile attack in Chechnya in the past few months after the militant attack on Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov's home village of Tsentoroi in August. Commentators say the attack on the Chechen Parliament was a signal that militants are still active in Chechnya. Kommersant does not exclude that the attack had been organized by Chechen militant field commanders (Khusein Gakayev, Aslambek Vadalov) after a split among the North Caucasus militants. Ramzan Kadyrov blamed Chechen separatist emissary Akhmed Zakayev, who is residing in Britain, for the latest attack. Kadyrov also voiced sharp criticism towards European countries for refusing to extradite Zakayev to Russia. Zakayev, in a radio interview, denied the allegations of his involvement in the attack. The US and the EU condemned the attack on the Chechen Parliament. (ii) A terrorist attack was prevented in the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria on Tuesday after an explosive device was defused in Nalchik. (iii) A police officer was shot dead on Tuesday evening in the Ingush town of Malgobek. (All media)

21 oktober 2010

Chechen law enforcement officers kill two militants in Dagestan: (i) Chechen law enforcement officers killed two suspected militants in an operation on Wednesday in Dagestan's Kizilyurt district. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said the killed militants were residents of Chechnya's Nozhai-Yurt district. (ii) One of the militants who attacked the Chechen Parliament on Tuesday has been identified as a 22-year-old resident of Chechnya Muslim Chichkanov. (iii) Three militants and one police officer were killed in a clash between militants and police on Wednesday in Kabardino-Balkaria. (Interfax, Novye Izvestia, RIAN)

22 oktober 2010

Militants blocked in a mine in Kabardino-Balkaria; at least 75 militants killed in Chechnya this year:(i) The press reports on an ongoing operation against militants blocked in a mine of a non-operating wolfram and molybdenum plant in Kabardino-Balkaria's Elbrus district. The operation was launched on Wednesday after a police officer was killed in a clash with militants. (ii) Chechen Interior Minister Muslim Isayev said on Thursday that at least 75 militants, including three militant leaders, have been killed in Chechnya since the beginning of this year. (iii) Georgian opposition politician and former speaker of the Georgian Parliament, Nino Burjanadze, is quoted as having branded as a "provocation" and "very dangerous game" Tbilisi's decision to cancel visas for residents of Russia's North Caucasus republics. (Gazeta.ru, Interfax, Kommersant, RIAN)

25 oktober 2010

One policeman killed, several injured in Dagestan suicide attack:(i) One police officer was killed and at least eight other people, including seven policemen, were injured in a suicide bombing in the Dagestani town of Khasavyurt on Saturday. Two militants were killed and two police officers were wounded in a clash also on Saturday in Dagestan's Kizilyurt district. In an attack on Sunday in Ingushetia, four police officers and a female civilian were injured in an explosion near a police checkpoint. Two suspected militants were killed in Ingushetia on Saturday. (ii) Electronic media report on an explosion at a school in Kabardino-Balkaria overnight. Nobody was inside the building at the moment of the blast. (iii) Dailies report broadly on a meeting on Friday in Grozny between the first deputy head of the Presidential Administration Vladislav Surkov and activists of local youth organisations and members of the United Russia party. The visit took place just days after a militant attack on the Chechen Parliament. Surkov notably called the Caucasus "Russia's pillar and foundation." An expert, cited by Nezavisimaya Gazeta, did not rule out that Surkov's visit is linked to the forthcoming nomination of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov for a new term. Kadyrov's current term expires in spring 2011. (iv) Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has accused Georgia of supporting militants operating in Chechnya. According to Kadyrov, "50-70 militants" are still active in Chechnya. (v) In an interview with Vremya novostei, Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze described as "well-considered" Georgia's recent decision to scrap visas for residents of Russia's North Caucasus republics. (Interfax, ITAR-TASS, Kommersant, NG, RG, VN)

26 oktober 2010

Chechen leader wants Putin to rule for life:Kommersant cites statements by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov in an interview with Newsweek. Kadyrov stressed that he would like to see PM Vladimir Putin as President in 2012, adding that he "wants Putin to be the President as long as he lives." Kommersant says that Kadyrov has become the first Russian politician to openly call for Putin's return as President in 2012. (Kommersant)

Number of extremist crimes in North Caucasus rises more than fourfold:(i) Deputy Prosecutor General Ivan Sydoruk said on Monday that the number of extremist crimes in the North Caucasus Federal District has increased more than fourfold in 2010. Sydoruk also stressed that the significant part of weapons used by North Caucasus militants is supplied from military units. (ii) Kommersant reports on riots on Monday in Dagestan's mountainous Tlyarat district. Up to 500-700 local residents staged protests in the village of Tlyarat over the results of recent local elections. (iii) An explosive device found near a mosque in Makhachkala on Monday has been defused. Sappers defused an explosive devise found outside a concert hall in Grozny on Monday. (Gazeta.ru, Interfax, Kommersant)

27 oktober 2010

Investigators say Baksan hydropower plant attack perpetrators identified: The Investigative Committee announced on Tuesday that all perpetrators of the 21 July attack at the Baksan hydropower plant in Kabardino-Balkaria have been identified. All gunmen were members of a gang operating in Kabardino-Balkaria's Baksan district. Two gang members were killed and two others were detained. Kommersant writes that Kazbek Tashuyev, considered by investigators as the organiser of the attack, may be among militants blocked in a mine of a non-operating wolfram and molybdenum plant near the town of Tyrnyauz. (ii) Riots continued on Tuesday in the Dagestani village of Tlyarata over the outcome of local elections. (iii) The Memorial human rights centre appealed to the authorities on Tuesday about Dagestani journalist Zarema Gasanova who has received death threats and been harassed by law enforcement agencies after a report about police torture. (iv) The Warsaw Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld a ruling by a lower court to turn down a request by the Warsaw prosecutor's office to issue an arrest warrant for Chechen separatist emissary Akhmed Zakayev. (Interfax, Kommersant, MT, RG, VN)

28 oktober 2010

Russia's Security Council discusses Northern Caucasus: The situation in the Northern Caucasus, including the fight against corruption, terrorism and nepotism, was discussed at a session of the Russian Security Council in the North Caucasus Federal District yesterday in Yessentuki. Dailies cite Presidential envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District Alexander Khloponin as arguing in a video link in Tuesday that foreign intelligence services are trying to fuel ethnic conflicts in the Northern Caucasus ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. In a front-page article, Kommersant addresses recent controversial statements by Deputy Prosecutor General Ivan Sydoruk on North Caucasus police officers. (Izvestia, Kommersant, NG, RG)

29 oktober 2010

FSB says major terrorist attack prevented in Pyatigorsk:(i) Head of the Federal Security Service (FSB) Bortnikov told President Medvedev on Thursday that the special services have thwarted a major terrorist attack in Pyatigorsk in the Stavropol territory on 26 October. Two militants have been killed and four others detained in an operation, he said. More than 200 kilograms of explosives and their components have been seized. According to Kommersant, the operation was carried out in Pyatigorsk. Bortnikov added that the militants had also been involved in the 17 August terror attack in Pyatigorsk that left 30 people injured and planned to stage an attack in Stavropol on 30 September. (ii) Izvestia cites Georgian President Saakashvili as having refuted accusations made by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov that Tbilisi supports North Caucasus militants. (Interfax, Izvestia, Kommersant)

Medvedev's, Putin's approval ratings almost equal:(i) According to a poll carried out in October by the Levada-Centre, President Medvedev's approval rating was 76% (compared with 73% in September) and PM Putin's approval rating stood at 77% (77% in September). Some commentators explain an increase in Medvedev's approval rating by his decision to dismiss Moscow mayor Luzhkov, Medvedev-initiated police reform and fight against corruption. (ii) Vremya novostei reports on growing support among Chechen elite of PM Putin. The daily mentions a recent statement by Chechen Parliament speaker Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov, who said that Chechnya can achieve up to 120% of the votes for United Russia in elections, adding that "if United Russia were led by someone other than Vladimir Putin and Ramzan Kadyrov, nobody would vote for this party." Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, in his recent interview with Newsweek, emphasized that he wanted Putin to return as President and 2012 and serve for life. (Vedomosti, VN)

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