Persoverzicht Tsjetsjenië - maart 2007

1 maart 2007

- HR conference in Chechnya: Chechnya’s envoy to Moscow, Ziyad Sabsabi, yesterday voiced criticism over the refusal of some international and Russian human rights groups to participate in a conference on human rights on 1 March in Grozny. Press recalls that earlier, the Moscow Helsinki Group, the For Human Rights movement, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other NGOs announced that they would not participate in the conference. It is expected that the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner, Thomas Hammarberg, and the head of the Council on Civil Society and Human Rights under the Russian President, Ella Pamfilova, will attend the conference. (Interfax, MT)

2 maart 2007

- Putin nominates Ramzan Kadyrov for Chechen President: President Putin has nominated Ramzan Kadyrov to the post of Chechen President. Meeting Kadyrov yesterday in the Kremlin, Putin emphasized that the decision was based on Kadyrov “having done much to restore Chechnya in recent years as the deputy head of the Chechen Government and the head of the Government”. Kadyrov, in turn, described the main priority in Chechnya as “not security but rather jobs and the reconstruction”. In the view of pro-Kremlin political scientist, Gleb Pavlovsky, Putin’s decision marks “the end of the war in Chechnya”. A Kremlin source cited by Vedomosti suggested that Kadyrov will not insist on the transfer of Chechnya’s oil complex under the Chechen Government’s control. Earlier, Kadyrov said he will not demand the conclusion of a power-sharing agreement between the federal Government and Chechen authorities. (All media)

- Conference on HR in Chechnya: Media report on the conference on human rights yesterday in Grozny with the participation of the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner, Thomas Hammarberg, and highlight the boycott of the conference by some international and Russian human rights groups. Mr Hammarberg notably pointed to the problem of search for missing people in Chechnya. Chechen Human Rights Ombudsman Nurdi Nukhazhiyev said there are more than 2,700 names on the lists of missing people, but added that the search for them is not supported at the federal level. (Interfax, Kommersant, MT, NG, Novye Izvestia)

5 maart 2007

- Chechen Parliament approves Kadyrov as Chechnya President: The Chechen Parliament on Friday confirmed Ramzan Kadyrov as Chechen President in a near-unanimous vote. Observers describe Kadyrov’s appointment as formalising his dominant political position in Chechnya. (Interfax, Kommersant, MT, NG, RG)

- Georgian President Gamsakhurdia remains found in Chechnya: Press reports about the discovery in Grozny of the remains of Georgia’s first post-Soviet President Zviad Gamsakhurdia who died in mysterious circumstances in 1993. His son told the press that he had identified his father’s body. (Gazeta, Izvestia, Kommersant, MT, RG, VN)

6 maart 2007

- Rally against sending Chechen conscripts to other regions: Media report on a rally yesterday in Grozny to protest against sending Chechen conscripts to other Russian regions. Chechen Human Rights Ombudsman Nurdi Nukhazhiyev is quoted as saying that Chechen conscripts “have not had social rehabilitation and cannot be sent to other regions”. (Interfax, Novye Izvestia)

9 maart 2007

- Passenger flights to Chechnya resume; reshuffles in Chechnya: (i) A passenger jet has made the first regular landing at the airport in Grozny. Direct air services between Moscow and Grozny resumed yesterday after an eight-year pause. (ii) Media report on a number of appointments made by Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, including the Chairman of the Chechen Constitutional Court, the secretary of Chechnya’s Council of economic and public security and the mayor of Grozny. Kadyrov has also nominated Odes Baisultanov for new Chechen PM. Baisultanov is currently 1st Chechen Vice-PM in charge of the reconstruction of Chechnya. Kommersant comments that Ramzan Kadyrov has gained total control in Chechnya as the new appointees are his close allies. (Gazeta, Interfax, Kommersant, MT)

13 maart 2007

- New appointments in Chechnya: Chechen President-elect Ramzan Kadyrov has appointed Khusein Dzhabrailov Chechnya’s special envoy to Moscow. He also appointed Lema Magomadov Chechnya’s Deputy PM for social issues. Magomadov earlier worked for the road police department at the Chechen Interior Ministry. (VN)

- Basayev’s widow seeking asylum in the USA?: Izvestia refers to a publication in The Sunday Times, which alleged that a Russian journalist named ‘Maria Ivanova’ is seeking asylum in the USA, and suggests that the journalist could be Elina Ersenoyeva, a former reporter for the Chechen Society newspaper and the last wife of Shamil Basayev. (Izvestia)

14 maart 2007

- CoE on torture in Chechnya: Dailies cite a report by the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture, which expressed concern by the extent of torture and other forms of ill-treatment by law enforcement officials and security forces in Chechnya. Interfax quotes Chechnya’s Deputy PM and envoy to Moscow, Ziyad Sabsabi, as disputing the statements by the Committee and suggesting that the Committee “look at how Russian-speaking residents are being treated in the Baltic states”. (Gazeta, Interfax, Kommersant, MT)

15 maart 2007

- Clash with militants in Stavropol territory: Media report on an armed clash between police and militants yesterday in the Stavropol territory. One of the two policemen wounded in the clash has died of wounds. Local police said one militant was killed and another two were detained. Kommersant writes that the killed militant was identified as Rasul Ilyasov, one of the leaders of the so-called Jamaat of Chechnya’s Shelkovskaya district and former participant of the so-called ‘Nogai battalion’. (Gazeta, Interfax, Kommersant)

- Ex-Chechen separatist minister seeks asylum in Italy – press: According to media reports, ex-health minister in the Government of the so called Ichkeria/Chechnya, Umar Khambiyev, has sought political asylum in Italy while President Putin was visiting this country. At a joint press conference yesterday in Bari, Putin said the former separatist minister could return to Russia. Interfax reports that PM Prodi, in turn, said he knew nothing about Khambiyev’s seeking asylum in Italy. (Interfax, Kommersant)

- Convicted Chechens will be able to serve prison terms in Chechnya: Dailies report that residents of Chechnya convicted of crimes will be able to serve their sentences on the territory of Chechnya. An agreement to this effect has been reached at a meeting in Grozny between Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov and the deputy head of the Federal Penitentiary Service Eduard Petrukhin. (Gazeta, Izvestia, VN)

16 maart 2007

- Referendum may be held on amending Chechen Constitution: Media report that Chechen President Ramzan Kaydrov has suggested that a referendum might be held in Chechnya on amending the Chechen Constitution with a view to it into full compliance with federal legislation. (VN)

19 maart 2007

- Chechen President slams torture of Chechen detainees: Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has condemned as unacceptable instances of torture of Chechen detainees at a facility known as ORB-2 (the Operative and Investigative Bureau No.2) of the main department of the Russian Interior Ministry in the Southern Federal District. He announced that Chechen prosecutors have opened a case into torture at the bureau in Chechnya’s Urus-Martan district. The head of the bureau, Akhmed Khasanbekov, however, told Kommersant that his subordinates did not do anything illegitimate. (Interfax, Kommersant, MT, VN)

- Referendum on amending Chechen Constitution due this year: According to media reports, a referendum on amending the Chechen Constitution to bring it in compliance with federal laws may be held before year-end. (Kommersant)

20 maart 2007

- Media portray wrong image of Chechens – Chechnya President: Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov is quoted as calling on Russian media to stop portraying Chechens as terrorists and traitors. He emphasized that thousands of Chechens died defending Russia in its fight against foreign mercenaries and their accomplices. (Interfax, VN)

22 maart 2007

- Two officers wounded in Chechnya attack: Rossiyskaya gazeta reports that two military servicemen have been wounded in a drive-by attack in Chechnya. Previous reports indicated that the Federal Security Service officers have been wounded in the attack. (Interfax, RG)

26 maart 2007

- Military suspected of firing upon civilians in Chechnya: A group of soldiers have been detained in Chechnya on suspicion of firing at non-combatants in Chechnya’s Shatoi district. One woman was reportedly killed and two others wounded in the incident. (Interfax, Kommersant, VN)

27 maart 2007

- Ex-Chechen separatist denied asylum in Germany: Dailies, including Kommersant in a front-page article, report that German authorities have refused to grant political asylum to Apti Bisultanov, a former ‘vice-premier’ in the so called government of Chechnya/Ichkeria. Bisultanov, however, will not be extradited to Russia: German authorities do not rule that he might be subjected to torture, Kommersant writes. (Kommersant, RBK daily, RG, VN)

28 maart 2007

- Two sentenced in Kondopoga ethnic riots case: (i) Media report on a verdict issued yesterday by a court in Kondopoga (Republic of Karelia) in the case of ethnic riots in the town last year. Two defendants, local residents Sergey Mozgalyov and Yury Pliyev, were sentenced to 3.5 years and eight months, respectively, in a high-security prison on charges of grievous bodily harm and hooliganism. Dailies recall that charges of murder and hooliganism have been brought against several residents of Chechnya who took part in a mass fight in the town. (ii) Prosecutors have brought negligence charges against the former head of the Kondopoga police department, Alexander Chechelnitsky. (Gazeta, Interfax, Izvestia, Kommersant, VN)

30 maart 2007

- No reduction of federal troops in Chechnya – Deputy Interior Minister: Deputy Interior Minister Arkady Yedelev is quoted as saying yesterday that currently, the issue “of reducing the number of federal troops in Chechnya cannot be raised”. RIA-Novosti notes that Yedelev’s statement “contradicts” information from Commander of the Interior Ministry Troops, Nikolai Rogozhkin, who said that the number of Interior Ministry troops in Chechnya will gradually drop as the situation in Chechnya stabilizes. (Interfax, RIAN)

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