Persoverzicht Tsjetsjenië - november 2008

6 november 2008

- Clashes in Chechnya: According to the Chechen Interior Ministry, two militants have been killed in two clashes near the village of Chishki, in the Grozny region of Chechnya. The Interior Ministry also said three militants have been detained. Two of the detainees were members of the group led by Emir Jamaat Bekmurzayev, who was killed in the Leninsky district of Grozny on October 27. (Interfax)

7 november 2008

- Suicide bomber kills 10: A female suicide bomber blew herself up near a busy downtown market in North Ossetia’s capital, Vladikavkaz, on Thursday, killing at least 10 people and wounding 40 others. No one claimed immediate responsibility for the blast. Security analysts said it bore the hallmarks of an attack by Chechen extremists. The version that the terrorist act is connected to Ingushetia is actively discussed among people close to investigation, but this version was not officially announced. (All media)

10 november 2008

- Chechnya-based Vostok, Zapad battalions disbanded: The deputy commander of Russia’s Land Forces, Vladimir Moltenskoi, announced on Saturday that the Defence Ministry’s Vostok (‘East’) and Zapad (‘West’) battalions, based in Chechnya, had been disbanded. He said that two motorized infantry companies would be formed on the basis of the battalions. Moltenskoi also noted that military prosecutors would investigate crimes that Vostok and Zapad servicemen are suspected of. The decision to disband the battalions is seen as a victory of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov. (Gazeta, Interfax, Kommersant, NG, RBK daily, Trud, VN)

11 november 2008

- Attacks in N. Caucasus: Press reports on a series of attacks on military servicemen and policemen in Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan. The attacks left three people dead. Military servicemen came under fire on Monday in Chechnya’s Urus-Martan district. One gunman was killed, while no casualties among the servicemen are reported. Alexander Polyakov, a sports correspondent for the Dagestani weekly newspaper Chernovik, was beaten up on Sunday in Makhachkala. His colleagues said the attack could have been linked to Polyakov’s professional activity. (Interfax, Kommersant, MT, RIAN, VN)

18 november 2008

- Politkovskaya murder trial will be open to public: Press reports broadly on yesterday’s ruling by the Moscow District Military Court that the trial of three men charged in the murder case of Novaya Gazeta’s investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya will be open to public. Lawyers for the defendants and Politkovskaya’s family said they were pleased with the decision. The Court has thus rejected the prosecutors’ motion to hear the case behind closed doors. Lawyer for Politkovskaya’s family, Karina Moskalenko, called for further investigation into the murder. The press recalls that investigators have failed to establish who was behind the killing. (Gazeta, Izvestia, Kommersant, MT, RG, VN)

19 november 2008

- Jury formed for Politkovskaya murder trial: The media reports on the selection of a jury for the trial of three men charged over the 2006 murder of Novaya Gazeta’s journalist Anna Politkovskaya. The three suspects are to be indicted on 19 November. (RIAN, VN)

20 november 2008

- Politkovskaya murder trial to be held behind closed doors – new ruling: The presiding judge in the trial of three men charged in the murder case of Novaya Gazeta’s journalist Anna Politkovskaya ruled on Wednesday that the trial should be held at the Moscow District Military Court behind closed doors, because the jurors selected on Tuesday had refused to appear in the courtroom in the presence of journalists. The judge has thus reversed his Monday decision. Russian human rights advocates, lawyers for the defence and Politkovskaya’s family criticised the decision. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists expressed disappointment over the Court’s ruling. (Gazeta, Interfax, Izvestia, Kommersant, MT, Novaya Gazeta, RG, Vedomosti, VN, Ekho Moskvy)

21 november 2008

- Hearings into Politkovskaya murder case postponed: The Moscow District Military Court has postponed until 1 December the trial of three men charged in the murder case of Novaya Gazeta’s journalist Anna Politkovskaya. The defence team of the suspects announced their intention to demand an open trial. Meanwhile, in a radio interview, one of the jurors in the trial said the jurors did not object to the presence of the press at the hearings in “a categorical way” and had not asked for a closed trial. (Interfax, Kommersant, MT, RG, VN)

24 november 2008

- Chechnya blast kills four; policeman shot dead in Ingushetia: Four people, including three policemen, were killed by a bomb explosion in Chechnya, Chechen police said on Sunday. In a separate attack on Sunday in Ingushetia, a police officer was shot dead. (Gazeta, Interfax, Kommersant, MT, RIAN, VN)

25 november 2008

- South Ossetia, Abkhazia: (i) Press continues to comment on Sunday’s incident involving the motorcade carrying the Georgian and Polish Presidents, Mikheil Saakashvili and Lech Kaczynski, “in the buffer zone on the Georgian-South Ossetian border”. Russian and South Ossetian officials described the incident as a “provocation”. Russian envoy to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, argued that the incident was a “self-attack”. (ii) Kommersant reports on a “sensational” statement by the head of the Investigations Committee within the Prosecutor General’s Office, Alexander Bastrykin, who announced on Monday that mercenaries – from the Czech Republic, Turkey, Ukraine, the Baltic states, the US and Chechnya – fought for Georgia in the August conflict in South Ossetia. Georgian National Security Council Secretary, Alexander Lomaia, dismissed the statement as “absurd”. Kommersant also notes that “it is almost impossible to prove the presence of mercenaries in South Ossetia”. (iii) At a conference yesterday in St. Petersburg, PM Vladimir Putin said the Georgian authorities tried to resolve the South Ossetia problem “by using Stalin’s principle ‘no man, no problem’”. (iv) President Medvedev has signed into law the bills on the ratification of friendship and cooperation agreements with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. (v) In a front-page article, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on Heidi Tagliavini (Switzerland) who will lead an international investigation into the August conflict over South Ossetia. (Interfax, Izvestia, Kommersant, MT, NG, RBK daily, VN)

- Ingushetia, Chechnya to have local self-governance; two policemen killed in Dagestan: (i) President Medvedev has signed into law a bill on local self-governance in Ingushetia and Chechnya. According to Vremya novostei, local elections are due to be held in both republics in the period of 1 May to 31 October 2009. (ii) According to media reports, two riot police officers were killed and another three wounded in a clash with militants yesterday in Dagestan. (VN, Interfax)

26 november 2008

- Ingush Interior Minister replaced; new Chechen prosecutor appointed: (i) Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev has appointed Ruslan Meiriyev as Ingushetia’s acting Interior Minister to replace Musa Medov. Gazeta reports on a discussion in the Public Chamber’s commission for inter-ethnic relations of the situation in Ingushetia and points to the participation in the discussion of the head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Lyudmila Alekseyeva. (ii) Former deputy prosecutor of the Sverdlovsk region, Mikhail Savchin, has been appointed new prosecutor of Chechnya. (Gazeta, Kommersant, RG, VN)

28 november 2008

- Terrorist attacks in Mumbai: The media reports broadly on terrorist attacks in Mumbai. According to the latest reports, more than 130 people have been killed in the shootouts. Police have freed three Russians besieged at Mumbai’s Trident Oberoi hotel. RBK daily writes in a comment that the Indian authorities hinted that there was a “Pakistani track” behind the attacks. The daily does not exclude that “the terrorist attacks in Mumbai could become a cause for another Indo-Pakistani conflict”. Interfax quotes Russian Presidential envoy for international cooperation in the fight against terrorism, Anatoly Safronov, who said the terrorists in Mumbai used the same tactics as Chechen militants during their raids of Russian towns in the 1990s. (All media)

- FSB says international terrorists behind Vladikavkaz blast of 6 November: (i) The head of the Federal Security Service (FSB), Alexander Bortnikov, yesterday announced that a gang connected to international terrorist organisations was behind the 6 November explosion in Vladikavkaz in which 12 people were killed and more than 40 wounded. Bortnikov emphasized that international terrorist organisations were trying to spread their activity from Afghanistan and Pakistan into Europe, including Russia. (ii) A police officer from the Lipetsk region was killed and other two policemen were wounded in a militant attack in Dagestan’s town of Khasavyurt on Wednesday. In a separate attack late on Wednesday, a border service guard was killed in Makhachkala. (iii) The press reports on an investigation into the killing of six young women in Chechnya. Chief investigator with the Investigations Committee’s Chechen branch, Viktor Ledenev, did not rule out that the women might have been targeted because they were seen as leading “amoral lifestyles”. (Interfax, Izvestia, Kommersant, MT, VN)

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