Persoverzicht Tsjetsjenië - september 2010

3 september

Kadyrov gets new title: Chechnya’s parliament unanimously approved on Thursday a bill to change the title of the republic’s leader from “president” to “head”. The idea was proposed by the incumbent leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, who said in August that there should only be one president in the country. It is expected that many leaders of North Caucasus republics will follow his lead. (Vremya Novostei)

Beslan siege remembered 6 years after: Three days of commemorations to mark six years since the Beslan school siege got underway on Wednesday in Russia's Republic of North Ossetia. More than 300 people died, most of them children, in the massacre led by Chechen militants in 2004. The presidential envoy to the North Caucasus region, Alexander Khloponin, attended a service in Beslan to remember those killed six years ago. (Vremya Novostei, Ria-Novosti)

7 september

RUR600bn investment projects for North Caucasus: Presidential envoy in the North Caucasus Alexander Khloponin revealed that RUR600bn-worth vestment projects had already been approved by the Government and would soon start to be implemented. These are the construction by the oil major Lukoil of gas chemical plants in the Stavropol region, the building by Rosneft of an oil-processing plant in Chechnya, the creation of industrial parks in Budenovsk and Nevinnomyssk, and the building of a cement plant in Karachai-Cherkess. The Strategy of the Development of the North Caucasus up to 2025 prepared by the Regional Development Ministry prioritizes the fuel-and-energy sector, the agriculture sector, and tourism and spa services. PM Putin promised that the Strategy would be complemented by a special Government programme, which would incorporate large PPP projects. (Vedomosti)

Annual inflation may amount to double digit – experts: Inflation in August was 6.1% year-on-year, up from 5.5% in July. Food prices in August rose three times faster than in July, namely by 0.9%. According to Rosstat, the average price increase since the beginning of the year was 5.4%. Meanwhile, prices in 53 Russian regions grew faster than the average. Prices grew most rapidly in Chechnya (8%), and Sakhalin (7.8%). Some experts believe that the annual inflation rate this year would constitute a double-digit figure, significantly exceeding the Economic Ministry's forecast of 7.8%. (Vedomosti, Radio Business FM)

9 september

Ingushetia abandons presidency: Following Chechnya’s lead, Ingushetia on Wednesday took a first step towards changing the formal title of its leader from “president” to “head” to avoid confusion with the federal president. (Vremya Novostei, The Moscow Times)

10 september

Vladikavkaz bombing kills at least 17: At least 17 people were killed and more than 100 were injured in a suicide car-bomb explosion at the entrance to the Vladikavkaz central market on Thursday. Police have reportedly detained three men on suspicion of involvement in the attack. According to media reports, the suicide bomber has been identified as Archakov, and the car owner as Dobriyev. Investigators said the car that exploded came to North Ossetia from the neighbouring republic of Ingushetia before the blast. The suicide bombing in Vladikavkaz has become the latest in a series of militant attacks in the Northern Caucasus. Moscow police have tightened security following the attack in Vladikavkaz. Kommersant does not exclude that the bombing was perpetrated by militants from the Ingush village of Ekazhevo. The daily recalls that one of the main ideologists of North Caucasus militants, Alexander Tikhomirov (known as Said Buryatsky), was killed in a counterterrorist operation in Ekazhevo in March. Ingush President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov denounced the attack in Vladikavkaz as a provocation, which aimed to "create discord" between the Ingush and North Ossetians. Meeting Chairman of the Union of Muftis of Russia Ravil Gainutdin yesterday, PM Vladimir Putin pointed out that the Vladikavkaz bombing has been carried out by people "without a soul, without a heart" and stressed that that the attack aimed to "sow enmity between our people." He called on the country's Muslim community to contribute to the fight against terrorism. President Dmitry Medvedev pledged that those behind the attack would be tracked down and punished. The US State Department's Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Daniel Benjamin, is quoted as saying that militants operating in the Northern Caucasus have links to al-Qaeda. On 10 September, North Ossetia mourns for the victims of Thursday's terrorist attack. President Barack Obama and other foreign leaders offered condolences to Russia over the attack. (All media)

13 september

At least 17 militants killed in Dagestan: At least 17 militants were killed in separate operations on Friday and over the weekend in Dagestan. Four militants and four policemen are reported to have been killed in operations in Dagestan's Sergokalinsky district and in Makhachkala on Friday. On Sunday in Makhachkala, the head of the North Caucasus Federal District's regional anti-extremist department, Gapal Gadzhiyev, was shot dead. Ten militants were reportedly killed on Sunday in Makhachkala in an operation launched after the killing of Gadzhiyev. Three militants were killed in a clash in the village of Komsomolskoye of Dagestan's Kizilyurt district also on Sunday. Two police officers and the head of the village administration were killed in the clash. (Gazeta.ru, Interfax, Kommersant, MT, RIAN, VN)

14 september

Vladikavkaz bombing probe; situation in Dagestan tense:(i) Yesterday in Pyatigorsk, Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev said that law enforcement agencies have defined the range of those who may be involved in the 9 September suicide bombing outside the Vladikavkaz central market that killed at least 17 people. Earlier, FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov announced that three persons have been detained in connection with the blast. Nurgaliyev also said that since the beginning of this year, 489 terrorism-related crimes have been perpetrated in the North Caucasus Federal District. (ii) Kommersant reports on yesterday's attempt by hundreds of ethnic Ossetians to stage a pogrom of the village of Kartsa near Vladikavkaz, inhabited mainly by ethnic Ingush, for revenge. (iii) The media report on the killing of 13 militants in separate operations on Sunday in Dagestan. Police said the militants had been involved in attacks on law enforcement officers and military servicemen, including the killing on Sunday in Makhachkala of the head of the North Caucasus Federal District's regional anti-extremist department Gapal Gadzhiyev. Novye Izvestia expresses the view that Dagestan is on the brink of a religious war – between supporters of traditional Islam and supporters of Wahhabism. (Izvestia, Kommersant, NG, Novye Izvestia, RG, RIAN, VN)

Memorial head goes on trial for slander: A Moscow district court on Monday started considering a criminal case against the head of the Memorial human rights centre Oleg Orlov on charges of slander for his statement against Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov. The charges stem from Orlov's claims that Ramzan Kadyrov was responsible for the killing in July 2009 of human rights activist Natalia Estemirova. (Kommersant, VN)

16 september

Poland says will arrest Chechen separatist emissary Zakayev: Polish police said on Wednesday that they would detain Chechen separatist emissary Akhmed Zakayev if he visits Poland to attend the World Chechen Congress on 16-18 September outside Warsaw. Earlier reports indicated that Polish prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for Zakayev. However, this information later was refuted. The Russian side stated that Moscow would seek Zakayev's extradition "from any country". In Russia, Zakayev (who has been granted political asylum in Britain) is accused of terrorism. On a visit to Murmansk yesterday, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the World Chechen Congress, organised by representatives of the so-called 'Republic of Ichkeria', is aimed to stir up the situation in the Northern Caucasus. Vremya novostei says the World Chechen Congress in Poland will become a serious test for the relationship between Moscow and Warsaw. (Izvestia, Kommersant, MT, NG, RG, RIAN, VN)

Northern Caucasus: upto 2,000 people rally in Vladikavkaz over security concerns: (i) According to media reports, up to 2,000 people took part in a rally yesterday in Vladikavkaz to demand that authorities enhance security measures, investigate the 9 September terrorist attack in Vladikavkaz and tighten security at the administrative border between North Ossetia and Ingushetia. North Ossetia's Deputy Interior Minister Soslan Sikoyev addressed the rally, saying that North Ossetian leader Taimuraz Mamsurov was conducting consultations in Moscow on security issues. (ii) Gazeta.ru cites a publication in La Croix which reported on Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov's alleged attempts to impose Islamic values in Chechnya and to reinstate "Chechen traditions." The publication viewed Kadyrov's "caprices" as the price Moscow pays for the stability in the republic. (iii) Chechen and Ingush lawmakers have submitted to the Duma draft bills suggesting that the title of the Russian regions' top official position be renamed. Earlier this month, the Chechen Parliament voted for a bill replacing the current title of “president” with “head of the Chechen republic.”(Gazeta.ru, Kommersant, RG, Vedomosti)

17 september

Zakayev detained in Poland: According to electronic media reports, Chechen separatist emissary Akhmed Zakayev was detained in Poland. Zakayev arrived in the country to take part in the World Chechen Congress outside Warsaw. On Wednesday, Polish police said they would detain Zakayev if he visits Poland on the ground that an Interpol arrest warrant has been issued for him. Observers, however, say that the Polish authorities are unlikely to extradite Zakayev to Russia where he is accused of involvement in terrorist activities. Earlier, Russian officials said that Moscow would demand Zakayev's extradition if he arrived in Poland. (Interfax, Izvestia, RIAN)

RUR2bn subsidy for grain transportation by rail: The Government has allocated 2bn roubles for the Russian Railways Co in order to subsidise substantial cuts in internal transportation of grain by rail. The rates of transportation of grain by rail to the Volga, Central and Northwest Federal Districts from Siberia will be slashed by 3.3 times, and from the North Caucasus and Southern Federal Districts cut by 2 times. (Vedomosti)

Number of terror attacks in Northern Caucasus increased; Vladikavkaz bombing death toll rises:(i) Deputy Prosecutor General Ivan Sydoruk said at a conference yesterday in Nalchik that the number of terrorism-related crimes perpetrated in the North Caucasus Federal District in 2010 grew by 4 times compared with 2009. The number of losses among law enforcement officers has also increased mainly due to the deterioration of the situation in Dagestan. A total of 149 law enforcement and military officers were killed and 384 wounded in the North Caucasus Federal District in 2010, Sydoruk said. (ii) Five militants from the so-called Yuzhdag group were killed in an operation yesterday in Dagestan. (iii) The so-called Riyadu-s-Salikhin battalion claimed responsibility for the 9 September blast at the Vladikavkaz central market. Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes that the purpose of the bombing was to further escalate the Ingush-North Ossetian conflict. The death toll from the Vladikavkaz blast has grown to 18. (iv) A source in law enforcement agencies is quoted as saying that the body of Alexander Kim, a suspect in the 17 August terrorist attack in Pyatigorsk, which was found earlier this week in the Stavropol territory, has been identified by his relatives. Police do not exclude that Kim was killed and his car, which was blown up in Pyatigorsk, was stolen. (Interfax, NG, Vedomosti, VN)

20 september

Polish court rules to release Chechen separatist emissary Zakayev: A court in Warsaw on Friday ruled to release Chechen separatist emissary Akhmed Zakayev, who has arrived in Poland to attend the World Chechen Congress. Zakayev, who has asylum in Britain, was released several hours after he was detained by Polish police on an international arrest warrant requested by Russia. In Russia, Zakayev is accused of involvement in terrorist activities. Despite the release, a decision on Zakayev's possible extradition to Russia has not been taken. Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, in televised remarks, welcomed Zakayev's detention, saying that Zakayev should be handed over to Russia to face trial. A spokeswoman for the Russian Prosecutor General's Office said on Friday that Russian prosecutors will submit materials to the Polish side for extradition of Zakayev. However, Polish PM Donald Tusk earlier on Friday made it clear that Warsaw will make a decision on Zakayev's case "in keeping with Poland's national interest and justice," adding that "the extradition procedure is not the same as extradition." Some observers do not rule out that the Zakayev case could have an impact on the terms of President Medvedev's planned visit to Poland: Vremya novostei refers to Poland's Gazeta Wyborcza which reported that Medvedev was expected to visit Poland in early December. (Izvestia, Kommersant, MT, NG, RG, RIAN, Vedomosti, VN)

21 september

Deterioration of situation in Tajikistan: At least 23 Tajik soldiers were killed in a militant attack in eastern Tajikistan on 19 September. According to unofficial reports, at least 40 servicemen were killed. A spokesman for the Tajik Defence Ministry said the attackers included militants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Chechnya and were led by a radical Islamist commander who took part in a civil war in Tajikistan in the 1990s. Commentators say the attack aimed to stabilize the situation in Central Asia and warn of a threat of a new civil war in Tajikistan. Vremya novostei does not rule out that new incidents will force Russia to move quickly with the formation of CSTO's rapid reaction force. (Izvestia, Kommersant, MT, NG, Novye Izvestia, RG, VN)

Moscow sends to Warsaw extradition request for Zakayev: The Russian Prosecutor General's Office has sent a request to Poland to extradite Chechen separatist emissary Akhmed Zakayev to Russia, where he is accused of involvement in terrorist activities. Meanwhile, Zakayev has left Poland for Britain, but promised to return to Poland to attend court hearings, Zakayev's representative said. Warsaw has indicated that the Polish authorities are unlikely to extradite Zakayev to Russia. E.g. Polish PM Donald Tusk said that "in line with international law, Poland must undertake some actions in this regard, but that does not mean we will be fulfilling Russia's wishes." (ITAR-TASS, Kommersant, RG, VN)

24 september

Warsawprosecutors to appeal against court decision to release Zakayev: Warsawprosecutors intend to appeal against a court decision to release Chechen separatist emissary Akhmed Zakayev, who arrived in Poland last week to attend the World Chechen Congress. (ITAR-TASS, Kommersant, RIAN)

27 september

Up to 40 injured in Makhachkala blast; large-scale operation against militants in Chechnya:(i) Up to 40 people, including 20 law enforcement officers, were injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up as he attempted to enter the area of a counterterrorist operation on Friday evening in Makhachkala. Four militants, including the head of a Makhachkala gang group Alibek Abunazarov, were killed in the operation. Two police officers were also killed. Vremya novostei reports that also on Friday, a female suicide bomber blew herself up when she tried to break through a police cordon in Dagestan's Kizilyurt district. (ii) Kommersant (Saturday's issue) reports on plans to form special units in Dagestan to fight against militants in Dagestan's remote mountainous areas. A special unit will be formed on the basis of the Russian Interior Troops' 102nd brigade. (iii) Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov headed a large-scale operation against militants in Chechnya's mountainous districts which was launched on Friday. Kommersant (Saturday's issue) reports that the operation involved servicemen from the 'South' and 'North' battalions of the Russian Interior Troops, the Chechen special task police and local policemen. (iv) Russian Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin has asked the Prosecutor General's Office to conduct an inquiry into reports about harassment and attacks on Chechen women for not wearing headscarves. Chechen officials, however, have denied such reports. (v) Kommersant does not rule out that a TV channel may be created in the North Caucasus Federal District to inform about developments in the region. (vi) In a lengthy interview with Kommersant, North Ossetian leader Taimuraz Mamsurov addresses the fight against terrorism. (Izvestia, Kommersant, VN)

28 september

Suspected militant leader detained in Northern Caucasus: (i) FSB officers have detained in the Northern Caucasus Issa Khashagulgov, a suspected leader of the Ingush branch of the so-called 'Imarat Kavkaz'. Ingush police suspect him of involvement in the 9 September blast at the Vladikavkaz central market. (ii) A police officer and his daughter were killed in Dagestan's Karabudakhkent district late on Sunday. (iii) One police officer was killed and several others were wounded in a clash with militants on Monday in Chechnya. (ITAR-TASS, Kommersant, VN)

Memorial head Orlov's slander case: Novye Izvestia reports on the ongoing trial of the 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 head of the Chechen NGO "Search of Missing Persons", Tamara Kagirova,testified in a Moscow court that she had never heard Estemirova's complaints against Kadyrov. (Novye Izvestia)

29 september

Killer of Memorial activist Estemirova is in Russia – investigation: Meeting representatives of the Committee to Protect Journalists on Tuesday in Moscow, the head of the Investigative Committee within the Prosecutor General's Office Alexander Bastrykin said that the suspected killer of human rights activist Natalia Estemirova, who was killed in July 2009 in the Northern Caucasus, is alive and in Russia. Bastrykin expressed hope that the suspect should be apprehended soon because investigators knew which Russian region he was living in. (Interfax, ITAR-TASS, MT, Novye Izvestia)

30 september

Envoy presents North Caucasus development strategy:Presidential envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District Alexander Khloponin presented to the Federation Council on Wednesday the North Caucasus development strategy until 2025. Khloponin said that RUR600 billion will be needed for the development of the region. Kommersant writes that the implementation of the strategy, in Khloponin's view, would require the creation of special economic zones and introduction of a special system of governing. Vedomosti writes that PM Vladimir Putin will assume personal control over the development of the Northern Caucasus as the head of a new commission. VEB (Vnesheconombank)'s supervisory board, chaired by Putin, is scheduled to discuss on Thursday projects of the North Caucasus socioeconomic development. (Kommersant, RBK daily, RG, Vedomosti

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