Persoverzicht Tsjetsjenië - juli 2008

2 juli 2008

- Politkovskaya’s killer hiding in Belgium?:The head of the Investigations Committee within the Prosecutor General’s Office, Alexander Bastrykin, stated on Tuesday that Rustam Makhmudov, the suspected killer of Novaya Gazeta’s investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya, was hiding in Western Europe. “We even know in which country he is located”, Bastrykin was quoted saying. He did not name the country but the press argues that Makhmudov is hiding in Belgium. Kommersant reports that the Belgian Interior Ministry has confirmed receipt of a request from Russia to detain the suspect. At the same time, Vremya novostei points out that the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has sent official requests for legal assistance in the Politkovskaya murder case to several West European countries, including Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and France. (Gazeta, Interfax, Izvestia, Kommersant, MT, RG, VN)

3 juli 2008

- More than 4,800 people missing in Chechnya – Chechen ombudsman:Chechen Human Rights Ombudsman Nurdi Nukhazhiyev announced that more than 4,800 people have been listed as missing or kidnapped in the republic since 1994. He also demanded an investigation into a suspected mass grave near Grozny where he said federal troops buried up to 300 civilians they killed in 1999. (Gazeta, Kommersant, MT)

8 juli 2008

- Three policemen killed in Kabardino-Balkaria attack; operation in Dagestan: (i) Three police officers were killed in an attack on a patrol post in the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria (the Northern Caucasus) last night. (ii) According to media reports, a counter-terrorist operation was launched yesterday in Dagestan’s town of Khasavyurt. Several men suspected of conducting attacks against regional law enforcement officers were reportedly detained in the operation. (Interfax, Gazeta, Kommersant)

10 juli 2008

- Three killed in militant attack on Ingush village; operation against militants in Dagestan:(i) Three people, including a policeman, a former Interior Ministry officer and a village military teacher, were killed and two local residents were wounded in a militant attack on the village of Muzhichy on Wednesday in Ingushetia. An eyewitness said “there were no more than 15 militants, and they spoke in Chechen, Ingush and Russian”. (ii) A civilian, a policeman and two militants were killed in an operation against militants yesterday in Dagestan’s town of Derbent. (Gazeta, Kommersant, MT, NG, Novye Izvestia, RG, RIAN, VN)

11 juli 2008

- Russia, Georgia on the brink of war?:Meeting Abkhaz separatist leader Sergey Bagapsh yesterday in Moscow, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pointed out that granting NATO MAP to Georgia would harm the resolution of the conflicts in Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions. He also insisted that Georgia sign agreements with Abkhazia and South Ossetia on the non-use of force. Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry admitted on Thursday that Russian military planes made “a short flight” over South Ossetia province earlier this week “to prevent the situation from developing into a military scenario”. Following this admission, Georgia decided to recall its Ambassador to Russia, Erosi Kitsmarishvili, “for consultations”, Georgian Foreign Minister Yekaterina Tkeshelashvili announced yesterday. Political scientist Gleb Pavlovsky expressed the view that Georgia’s decision to recall its Ambassador could mean that Georgia is “preparing for military action in the Caucasus, with the inevitable involvement of Russia because this region is strategically important for us”, Interfax quotes him saying. Kommersant remarks that all these developments coincided with the visit to Georgia of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. In Tbilisi, Rice reaffirmed that the US “remains committed to the territorial integrity of Georgia”. According to Kommersant, the issue of possible military action to resolve the conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia was tackled yesterday at talks between Rice and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes that Rice also discussed with Saakasvili the Sochi Winter Olympic Games. (Gazeta, Interfax, Izvestia, Kommersant, MT, NG, RBK daily, RG, RIAN, Veodmosti, VN)

- Presidential advisor on N. Caucasus appointed senator:The Omsk regional legislature has approved the candidature of Presidential advisor on North Caucasus issues, Aslambek Aslakhanov, as representative of the Omsk regional Government in the Federation Council. (Kommersant, RG, VN)

14 juli 2008

- Two policemen killed in Kabardino-Balkaria:Two policemen were killed in an attack yesterday in Kabardino-Balkaria. The attack was the latest in a series of attacks on law enforcement officers in the Northern Caucasus. (Gazeta, Interfax, RIAN)

15 juli 2008

- Policeman, militant killed in Ingushetia shootout: (i) Two police officers were wounded in a shootout with militants yesterday in Nazran. One of the policemen later died of wounds. According to media reports, one of the militants was also killed, while another one escaped. (ii) Unknown gunmen opened fire on a vehicle carrying Interior Ministry Col. Andrey Zuyev on Sunday in Chechnya. Zuyev and the driver of the car were wounded in the attack. (Interfax, VN, Novye Izvestia)

16 juli 2008

- Nine servicemen killed in accidental blast in Chechnya; ex-senior police officer killed in Ingushetia:(i) According to media reports, the death toll of a presumably accidental ammunition explosion yesterday in Shali (Chechnya) rose to nine servicemen. Earlier, the Defence Ministry said the explosion killed seven servicemen on the spot and injured six. (ii) Former police chief of the Ingush town of Karabulak, Akhmet Murzabekov, was killed by unidentified gunmen in Ingushetia. (Interfax, ITAR-TASS, Kommersant, Lenta.ru, RG, VN)

- Russia holds antiterrorist exercise in N. Caucasus as Georgia starts joint drill with US:(i) Press reports on a large-scale antiterrorist exercise, called “Caucasus 2008”, in the North Caucasus military district. The exercise involves some 8,000 Russian servicemen. Simultaneously, a joint Georgian–US military exercise, called “Immediate Response 2008”, started on Tuesday near Tbilisi involving a total of 1,650 military personnel. (ii) The media report on approval by the Georgian Parliament of President Saakashvili’s proposal to increase the country’s armed forces by 5,000 personnel to 37,000 amid growing tensions between Russia and Georgia. (iii) Novye Izvestia reports on the visit on Monday to Sukhumi of Hans-Dieter Lucas, the German Foreign Ministry’s special envoy, to present a peace plan to settle the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict elaborated by the Group of Friends of the UN Secretary-General. (iv) The Georgian Foreign Ministry said the UN Security Council would consider a recent flight of Russian warplanes over Georgia’s breakaway South Ossetia province at a session on 21 July. South Ossetia’s separatist leader, Eduard Kokoity, insisted that a representative from Tskhinvali take part in the meeting. (Gazeta, Interfax, Izvestia, Kommersant, MT, NG, Novye Izvestia, RBK daily, RG, RIAN, VN)

17 juli 2008

- Georgia slams Russian military exercise in N. Caucasus; Steinmeier to visit Russia:(i) The Georgian Foreign Ministry yesterday slammed Russia’s large-scale military exercise in the Northern Caucasus and statements by Russian military as “a direct threat of military intervention and aggression against” Georgia. (ii) A spokesman for the Russian Airborne Troops denied reports claiming that paratroopers from the Pskov-based airborne division had been sent to the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict zone. (iii) German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is expected to visit Russia on Friday to discuss the standoff between Moscow and Tbilisi. (Interfax, Kommersant, NG, RIAN)

- Policeman killed in Chechnya attack:A police officer was killed and three policemen were wounded in a shootout with unidentified gunmen on Wednesday in Chechnya. (VN)

- Probe into mass grave in Chechnya: Gazeta writes that Prosecutor General Yury Chaika has taken under his personal control an investigation into a suspected mass grave near Grozny where, as Chechen Human Rights Ombudsman Nurdi Nukhazhiyev said, federal troops buried up to 300 civilians they had killed in an attack. (Gazeta)

21 juli 2008

- Chechnya President raises land issue:Kommersant reports in a front-page article that “Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov demanded on Saturday that federal law enforcement agencies immediately vacate civilian facilities and agricultural lands they are occupying”. (Kommersant, Trud, Izvestia)

22 juli 2008

- Three policemen killed in Chechnya:Three policemen have been shot dead by unknown assailants near the village of Naurskaya in Chechnya. Kommersant reports that Chechen Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov yesterday demanded to find the gunmen and bring them to justice as soon as possible. (ITAR-TASS, Kommersant, VN)

28 juli 2008

- Five Chechens arrested in asylum clash in Norway: Five Chechen men were reportedly arrested after an incident at a centre for asylum-seekers late on Thursday in Oslo. Police said the violence might have been sparked by tension between difference ethnic groups at the centre, adding that many of the injured were Kurds. (Kommersant, MT, Novye Izvestia)

29 juli 2008

- Reports on attempted assassination on Ramzan Kadyrov denied; more attacks in Northern Caucasus:(i) Chechen authorities have dismissed allegations about an assassination attempt against Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov in Chechnya, saying that such allegations are “a provocation” and “part of the propaganda” with a view to discredit Chechnya and its President. (ii) Press reports on a number of attacks in the past two days in Chechnya and Dagestan, in which at least two people were killed. (Interfax, Kommersant.com)

31 juli 2008

- More violence in Northern Caucasus: (i) Two policemen from Nizhny Novgorod were killed and five people were wounded in an explosion outside the building of the Ingush Interior Ministry on Wednesday morning in Nazran. Ingush police said investigators had identified the suspected organisers of the explosion. (ii) The chief of the Makhachkala department for the fight against organised crime, Magomedkhabib Abdulkadyrov, was gunned down late on Tuesday in Dagestan. (iii) One serviceman from a squad of Interior Ministry troops was killed and several others wounded in a clash with militants on Tuesday in Chechnya. (iv) Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has denied allegations about an attempt on his life, saying that such allegations are circulated with the purpose “to destabilize the situation in the region”. He described the situation in Chechnya as “quiet and stable”. (Gazeta, Interfax, Izvestia, Kommersant, MT, NG, Novye Izvestia, RIAN, VN)

- Medvedev nominates candidate for Karachayevo-Cherkessia President: President Dmitry Medvedev has nominated Boris Ebzeyev to the post of President of the North Caucasus Republic of Karachayevo-Cherkessia). Since 1991, Ebzeyev has been a judge of the Russian Constitutional Court. The five-year term of the Republic’s current President, Mustafa Batdyev, will soon expire. (Kommersant, MT, VN)

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