Initiative to name bridge in St. Petersburg after Akhmat Kadyrov: Media report on a controversial initiative to name one of the bridges in St. Petersburg after the first president of Chechnya Akhmat Kadyrov. The proposal caused split among public. Gazeta.ru, NG, Vedomosti)
Human rights activists' meeting with Chechnya's leader cancelled: Kommersant reports that the planned visit to Chechnya of members of the Presidential Human Rights Council for meeting with the Chechen leadership was cancelled on Wednesday after it became known that Chechnya's acting head Ramzan Kadyrov was against participation in the meeting of head of the Committee to Prevent Torture Igor Kalyapin. (Kommersant; see also 'blogs monitoring')
'Isn't Chechnya Russia?' by Gennady Gudkov, politician writing on Ekho Moskvy
The author responds to the news about the recent failed visit of members of the Presidential Human Rights Council to Chechnya. Gudkov draws other numerous examples of lawlessness, Chechen leader Kadyrov's personal rule and absence of federal power in the region. All of this is part of a trend whereby Chechnya is moving away from Russia – not territorially, but in terms of lifestyle, moral norms, laws and rules. In conclusion, Gudkov envisages a day when key Russian power structures, including Putin's presidential administration, will once come to audit multi-billion federal subsidies only to be told that "we cannot guarantee your security, because Chechnya is not Russia".
Rally planned in St. Petersburg over 'Kadyrov' bridge: St. Petersburg city authorities have approved a rally against naming one of the city's bridges after the first president of Chechnya Akhmat Kadyrov. The rally is planned to be held on 6 June. (Gazeta.ru, MT)
Chechnya oil and gas assets: The Russian government prepared draft orders on the transfer of Checheneftechimprom assets from the federal government to Chechnya. Part of assets of Checheneftechimprom will be transferred to Rosneftegaz. (Kommersant)
Unemployment and salary falls: Although official unemployment in Russia is about 1 million people (5.9% of the labour force), but the real number of unemployed, according to trade union, is more than 4 million. According to the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, the situation on the labour market in many regions is much worse than the average statistic figures. For instance, in the Yaroslavl region the unemployment figure is twice as much, in the Nenets Autonomous region hidden unemployment is three times higher, and the real salary in Chechnya and Ingushetia declined by 20-22% since 2014. (Izvestia, NG)
Human Rights Council meeting failed to mention Chechnya: Presidential Council for Human Rights held meeting in Pyatigorsk yesterday. The meeting was dedicated to the results of the 10-day inspection trip through several regions of the North Caucasian Federal District. According to the chairman of the Council Mikhail Fedotov, the main goal of the mission to establish contacts with the heads of the regions was achieved. It was suggested to set up a system of public control over the human rights situation in the Northern Caucasus District. Meanwhile, observers note that the story on why the group failed to meet with the Head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov was missing from the report. It was earlier reported that Ramzan Kadyrov refused to meet human rights officials over his complicated relations with one member of the delegation Mr. Igor Kalyapin, the chairman of the anti-torture Committee. (Kommersant)
'Kadyrov bridge', Mannerheim plague appear in St. Petersburg: The St. Petersburg city authorities have decided to name one of the city's bridges after Chechnya's first president Akhmat Kadyrov. Earlier this month, a rally was held in St. Petersburg to protest against naming the bridge after Kadyrov. Media also report on a controversy around the opening of a memorial plaque dedicated to Finnish military leader Mannerheim was unveiled in St. Petersburg. Human rights activist Oleg Orlov, cited by Vedomosti, says in a comment that the opening of Mannerheim's plaque and the 'Kadyrov bridge' make a "schizophrenic impression." (Gazeta.ru, Kommersant, KP, MK, RG, Vedomosti)
North Caucasus: Kommersant provides the results of a survey by government-affiliated VTSIOM, which reflect the moods of the youth in the North Caucasus. The survey revealed high appreciation of President Putin's activity. At the same time, attitudes towards regional authorities differ. E.g. 99% of young people in Chechnya are satisfied with the work of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. (Kommersant)
Medvedchuk interview with Novaya Gazeta
'I agree with Putin: Donbass is the territory of Ukraine'
The Ukrainian politician who plays an important role in the Minsk process and is known for being the author of an idea of 'federalism' in Ukraine gave his assessment of the current situation in implementing the Minsk agreements. He states that the key problem for fulfilling the agreements is a lack of political resources in Ukraine and notes that more power for Poroshenko may be a way out, because "democracy is not the best form of government for carrying out reform". In response to a question regarding renewed fighting in Donbass, Medvedchuk stressed that people of Lugansk and Donetsk are not very keen to return to Ukraine, therefore politicians are ought to convince them in non-violent ways. He also expects that many people will not qualify for amnesty. The politician praised Yeltsin's regional policies and praised Chechnya as "one of the most progressive regions of the Russian Federation".
United Russia approves lists of candidates at Duma elections: A congress of the ruling United Russia party on Monday approved the party's lists of candidates at the 18 September Duma elections. The party is nominating 607 candidates [400 candidates on the party lists and 207 in single-mandate constituencies], including the first deputy head of the Presidential Administration Volodin, Crimean prosecutor Poklonskaya, Airborne Troops Commander Shamanov and some other well-known personalities. Nineteen heads of Russians regions, including Chechnya's acting head Kadyrov, Moscow mayor Sobyanin, Dagestani head Abdulatipov, St. Petersburg governor Poltavchenko, Ingushetia's head Yevkurov, Crimea's de facto head Aksyonov and others, have been included in the lists. The federal part of the list of candidates includes only Prime Minister, United Russia leader Medvedev. The congress also approved the party's election program. Speaking at the congress, President Putin called United Russia a leading political force and stressed the need for the party not to lose people's confidence. Expert Konstantin Kalachev told Vedomosti that the presence of Volodin in the list of United Russia's candidates indicates that both Medvedev and Volodin will keep their posts after the elections. (Gazeta.ru, Izvestia, Kommersant, NG, RBK, RG, Vedomosti; Rossiya 1, Channel One; see also editorial lines)
Chechnya's business ombudsman to run for head of Chechnya: Reportedly, Chechnya's business ombudsman Idris Usmanov plans to run in gubernatorial elections in Chechnya in September as a representative of the Party of Growth led by Russian Business Ombudsman Boris Titov. RBK daily cites member of the Federation Council Ziyad Sabsabi, who said earlier that Chechnya's acting head Ramzan Kadyrov could get 98% of the vote in the elections. (RBK)