Expert report: Russia's state policy in North Caucasus leads to negative consequences: In a report, experts of the Civil Initiatives Committee, headed by former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, concluded that Russia's state policy in the North Caucasus based on the support for traditional institutions and forceful suppression of Islamic fundamentalism, leads to negative consequences. (RBK, Vedomosti)
Disappearances in Chechnya: Novaya Gazeta reports on recent disappearances in Chechnya of three representatives of Chechen intelligentsia, including prominent Chechen bard Khusein Betelgeriev. (Novaya Gazeta)
Parnas most frequently mentioned non-Parliamentary party: According to the National Monitoring Service, the opposition party Parnas is the most frequently mentioned non-Parliamentary party in regional media and federal TV channels. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has "contributed" to this. (NG)
Two Russians detained in Turkey on suspicion of involvement in Chechen militant's killing: Turkish authorities have detained Russian nationals Yury Anisimov and Alexander Smirnov on suspicion of spying and involvement in the killing of Chechen militant Abdulvakhid Edelgireyev in Turkey in November 2015. According to Turkish media reports, the detainees are undercover Russian intelligence agents. Press reports that Edelgireyev had been linked to the 'Imarat Kavkaz' ('Caucasus Emirate') terrorist organization and had been the administrator of www.kavkazcenter.com website recognised as extremist in Russia. The Russian Consulate has confirmed the detention of two Russian citizens and said that they denied the accusations. Experts, contacted by Kommersant, cast doubts that employees of the Russian special services could be involved in Edelgireyev's killing. A Turkish journalist did not rule out that the Turkish authorities could use the arrest of the Russian citizens for political purposes. (Gazeta.ru, Kommersant; Rossiya 1)
Four militants killed in Dagestan: The National Antiterrorist Committee said that three militants, including a gang leader, have been killed in an operation in a suburb of Makhachkala (capital of Dagestan). In a separate operation in Dagestan, the leader of the so-called 'Gunib gang' Akhmed Shamkhalov has been killed. (ii) According to a poll by the Levada-Centre, 41% of Russians said that they consider the situation in the North Caucasus to be 'calm', while 44% called the situation in the region 'tense'. (Gazeta.ru, NG; Rossiya 1)
Putin holds call-in session: During Thursday's call-in session, which lasted 3 hours and 40 minutes, President Putin answered 80 questions. Vedomosti reports that Putin did not make any sensational statements but reiterated the position on main points of the current agenda. Nezavisimaya Gazeta does not rule out that Putin is not content with the format of the question-and-answer session. Media point out that Putin has focused on domestic issues, primarily economic and social affairs. He also addressed the elections and called the ruling United Russia party a 'stabilizing element' of the country's political system. Putin also commented on acting Chechen head Ramzan Kadyrov's statements about representatives of the non-systemic opposition. Addressing the Panama Papers revelations, Putin noted that the information is correct, but added that the publication did not accuse anybody. On international issues, Putin spoke of Russia's successes in Syria, praised US President Obama for admitting mistakes in Libya and again accused Kiev of failing to implement the Minsk agreements. Some commentators highlight Putin's statement on his support for Ukrainian President Poroshenko's proposal to provide OSCE monitors with arms on the contact line in Donbass. (All media; see also economic headlines and 'blogs monitoring')
Dmitry Muratov, editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta on Ekho Moskvy
'About Ella Pamfilova'
Drawing attention and expressing his admiration to Pamfilova's dedication and commitment in helping soldiers' mothers during the Chechen War in 1994 and 1995, Muratov defends Pamfilova and stresses that, in his view, she already proved herself for years ahead.
Militants set school on fire, break into store in Russia's Dagestan: Reportedly police are looking for the persons, who set an abandoned school on fire in the Tabasaran district of Dagestan last night. The incident took place in the village of Dzhuli, in the Tabasaran district. It was approximately 10:15 p.m. Moscow time when some unknown persons set an old school on fire that last received pupils a long time ago. (Interfax)
Some Special Economic Zones (SEZs) may be closed: The Economic Ministry will propose by October which Special Economic Zones (SEZs) should be closed due to their inefficiency. According to observers, first candidates for the closure could be SEZ on the Russki Island (the venue of the APEC summit in 2012), sea SEZs in Khabarovsk region and Murmansk, and SEZ in the tourist cluster in the North Caucasian Federal District. The number of residents in such zones is minimal. Some companies leave zones but continue to receive due benefits. (Izvestia)
Activists angered by appointment of former police general to position of Human Rights Ombudsman: The Russian parliament on Friday elected former police chief Tatyana Moskalkova as the country's new presidential human rights ombudsman. Human rights organizations continue to question the choice of an Interıor Ministry official at this position. According to some observers, the most human rights breaches in Russia are committed at Interior Ministry-linked units. There is a chance that Moskalkova will ignore illegal actions of her former colleagues. Some note that human rights defenders had been trying to prevent a situation whereby police monitors itself. But the appointment of Moskalkova would waste their efforts. Observers also noted that in her post appointment address Moskalkova was speaking about internationalization of ombudsmen's activities and raising its prestige. Experts argue that Moskalkova's predecessors (Vladimir Lukin, Ella Panfilova, Sergey Kovalev) had lots of respect internationally, while in fact the Ministry of Internal Affairs needs to raise its prestige. (Kommersant, Izvestia, RG, Vedomosty)