Persoverzicht Tsjetsjenië – april 2013

1 april 2013

Chechen leader proposes to ban high-ranking officials from travelling abroad?: In an article in Izvestia, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov proposes that current and former high-ranking officials, who had access to state secrets, should be banned from travelling abroad. (Izvestia)

2 april 2013

Duma deputy asks chief prosecutor to check claims on Ingush authorities' links with militants: (i) In a front-page article, Izvestia writes that United Russia Duma deputy Shamsail Saraliyev has asked Prosecutor General Yury Chaika to check reports alleging that head of the Ingush government Musa Chiliyev handed over large amounts of money to militants. Expert Rostislav Turovsky did not rule out that the claims might be politically motivated. (ii) Last week, the press reported that one of militants killed in an operation in Dagestan has been identified as a local United Russia deputy. (Izvestia, RIAN; Ekho Moskvy)

3 april 2013

Ingush leader dismisses as 'provocation' militant payoff claims: (i) Ingush leader Yunus-Bek Yevkurov has dismissed as a 'provocation' reports alleging that the head of the Ingush government Musa Chiliyev gave $1 million a month to militants. Yekurov linked the claims to the election of Ingushetia's head, planned in September. (ii) Kommersant writes that one of the militants killed in an operation in Dagestan last month has been identified as Ibragim Gadzhidadayev, who had extorted money from Dagestani businessmen and officials. (Gazeta.ru, Kommersant, MT)

5 april 2013

Militants step up activities in North Caucasus: (i) Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on a number of explosions staged by militants in Dagestan, Ingushetia and Chechnya. A military officer was killed in a car blast yesterday in Buinaksk (Dagestan). On 2 April, at least seven riot police officers and military officers were injured in a mine explosion in Ingushetia's Sunzha district. One of them has died in the hospital. (ii) A court in Ingushetia has recognised the opposition website Ingushetiyaru.org as extremist. The website's owner and chief editor Magomed Khazbiyev linked the move to the planned election of the republic's head in September. (iii) Press reports on a fire in a Grozny City skyscraper on Wednesday. (Gazeta.ru, Kommersant)

9 april 2013

Dagestani officials suspected of involvement in crimes: (i) Several law enforcement officers in Dagestan, including police officers and a former aide to the Kizlyar prosecutor, are suspected of involvement in a number of high-profile crimes, including attacks on law enforcement officers. (ii) Four militants and one police officer were killed in a clash on Monday in Ingushetia. (Gazeta.ru, Kommersant, RG)

11 april 2013

Criminal case against ex-head of 'North Caucasus Resorts' company:A case on charges of abuse of office has been opened against former head of the 'North Caucasus Resorts' company and former Vice President of the Russian National Olympic Committee Akhmed Bilalov. Reportedly, Bilalov is currently abroad. (Izvestia, Kommersant, RG, Vedomosti)

15 april 2013

Magnitsky blacklist: The U.S. government released the long-awaited public portion of the Magnitsky blacklist, naming 18 Russians implicated in human rights abuses. Some Russian observers note that it is partly a symbolic gesture because the list does not include some senior officials like Investigative Committee chief Alexander Bastrikin, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, or any other top officials, as some observers had expected it to. Experts attribute this to Washington’s desire not to overly anger Moscow. The Magnitsky Act is named after lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in jail in 2009 after being arrested by Russian officials whom he had accused of defrauding the Russian government. (All Media)

16 april 2013

New NGO scandal:The Russian Prosecutor General’s office refused to send its representative to a session of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights to discuss the recent inspections of Russian non-governmental organizations. Council members criticized the move as “disrespect” to the Council and the President, while prosecutors explained it was “impractical” to discuss the checks before they are over. Earlier the members of Russia’s presidential human rights council have held a news conference in Moscow to criticize the ongoing inspection of nongovernmental organizations such as Memorial, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International. (Kommersant, Vedomosti, Noviye Izvestiya)

17 april 2013

Chechen leader criticises Rosneft activities in Chechnya: Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov criticised the work of Grozneftegaz in Chechnya. Rosneft owns 51% of Grozneftegaz and the rest is owned by the Chechen government. Kadyrov said that Grozneftegaz makes insufficient contributions to the regional budget and cuts jobs. (Kommersant)

'North Caucasus Resorts' company searched: Law enforcement officers on Tuesday searched the offices of the 'North Caucasus Resorts' company as part of the investigation of a case against the former head of the company Akhmed Bilalov, who is suspected of abuse of office. (RG)

19 april 2013

Dagestan lawmakers vote against direct governor elections: Dagestan's lawmakers voted on Thursday against direct gubernatorial elections in the republic. Dagestan has become the first Russian region to cancel gubernatorial elections. Dagestani deputies also appealed to President Vladimir Putin for permission to elect the head of Dagestan before the single voting day on 8 September. According to Kommersant, Ingushetia's legislature plans to consider the issue of cancelling gubernatorial elections in the republic on 24 April. Meanwhile, Chechen Parliament speaker Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov is quoted as saying that Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov supports direct elections of the region's head. (Gazeta.ru, Kommersant, MT, RG)

22 april 2013

Bostonbombings: Media report extensively on the operation by US police to apprehend the Tsarnaev brothers suspected of carrying out the deadly bombings during the Boston Marathon last week which killed three people and injured more than 170 others. One of the suspects, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was captured late on Friday. A second suspect, older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, has been killed in a shootout. The Tsarnaev brothers were born in an ethnic Chechen family which moved to Dagestan from Kyrgyzstan more than a decade ago. Allegedly, Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) in 2011 asked the FBI to investigate Tamerlan Tsarnaev, whom the Russian side suspected of being a follower of radical Islam. Some sources say that there is no evidence about a possible connection between the Tsarnaev brothers and North Caucasus militants. According to latest reports, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has regained consciousness and is capable to answer questions in writing. Commenting on a telephone conversation on Friday between President Vladimir Putin and President Barack Obama on an initiative of the Russian leader, Vedomosti does not rule out that the investigation of the Boston bombings could help improve an exchange of information on terrorism between Moscow and Washington. (All media)

Ingushetia may become second Russian region to cancel direct governor elections: (i) The Council of the Peoples of Ingushetia on Saturday recommended that the republic's legislature elect the head of Ingushetia. Ingushetia may thus become the second Russian region (after Dagestan) to cancel direct gubernatorial elections. (ii) Media report on a territorial dispute between Chechnya and Ingushetia and comment on a brawl on Thursday between police officers from Chechnya and Ingushetia in the Ingush village of Arshty (Ingushetia's Sunzha district). (Izvestia, Kommersant, MK, NG, Novye Izvestia)

USState Department critical of Russia's human rights record: (i) In its annual report on the human rights situation around the world, the US State Department has expressed concern over the human rights situation in Russia. Kommersant writes that the report cites inter alia restrictions on the activities of NGOs, pressure on the media and violations during the 2012 Presidential elections. (ii) The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Chechen police kidnapped and murdered a man from Chechnya in 2009 and awarded the victim's mother more than $80,000 in compensation. (Kommersant, MT)

23 april 2013

Bostonbombing suspect charged: The US authorities have charged 19-year-old ethnic Chechen Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with using a weapon of mass destruction during the Boston Marathon on 15 April resulting in death. Press, meanwhile, provides more details about the late Boston bombing suspect, Dzhokhar's older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, including his six-month trip to Dagestan and Chechnya last year. Some reports suggest that he might have been radicalized during the trip and may have been sympathetic to the militant underground in the North Caucasus. Experts, contacted by Izvestia, expressed the view that it is more profitable for the US authorities to argue that the Tsarnaev brothers acted alone. Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports that Belgian special services stressed the need to enhance monitoring of suspected Chechen extremists in Belgium. (Izvestia, MK, MT, NG, RG, RIAN)

24 april 2013

Boston bombing suspect recruited through Georgia's fund?: (i) A team of US investigators interviewed in Dagestan the parents of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev suspected of carrying out last week's deadly blasts at the Boston Marathon. Meanwhile, Izvestia obtained documents of the Georgian Interior Ministry's counter-intelligence department which confirm that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed during the detention, had attended in 2012 some seminars organised by Georgia's 'Caucasus Fund' which cooperates with the Jamestown Foundation. Reportedly, the 'Caucasus Fund' has been involved in recruiting residents of the North Caucasus to work in the interests of the US and Georgia. (ii) Media report on the detention by Spanish police of two suspected members of al-Qaeda "with a similar profile" to the Boston bombing suspects, while two men have been charged in Canada with an attempt to blow up a rail line between Canada and the US. (Gazeta.ru, Izvestia, MT, Novaya Gazeta, RG)

25 april 2013

Bostonbombing suspect on US list of potential terrorists:Media reveal more evidence about the Tsarnaev brothers suspected of carrying out the 15 April deadly blasts at the Boston Marathon. Reportedly, the name of the older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed in a shootout with police, was included in the US National Counterterrorism Centre's classified database of people whom the US authorities view as potential terrorists. Allegedly, the surviving suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has told investigators that he and his brother were motivated by religion. Izvestia reports on reactions in Georgia to the publication alleging that Tamerlan Tsarnaev attended seminars organized by Georgia's 'Fund of the Caucasus' in 2012. Head of the Fund Givi Gambashidze admitted that the Fund of the Caucasus held a conference last year, but denied that Tsarnaev was among its participants. (Izvestia, MK, MT, Novye Izvestia; Ekho Moskvy)

Ingush lawmakers vote against direct governor elections: The Ingush Parliament on Wednesday passed a first reading of a draft bill on elections of the head of Ingushetia by Parliamentary vote. Last week, the legislature of Dagestan voted against holding direct gubernatorial elections in the republic. (Gazeta.ru, RG)

29 april 2013

Former Olympics official poisoned with mercury?: Reportedly, former Vice-President of Russia's Olympic Committee and former head of the 'North Caucasus Resorts' company Akhmed Bilalov said that he is being treated in Germany for mercury poisoning. Some sources said that mercury was found in Bilalov's office in Moscow. Some commentators do not rule out that Bilalov's statement about poisoning could help him get political asylum abroad. Media recall that criminal proceedings on charges of abuse of office have been launched against Bilalov in Russia. (Izvestia, Kommersant, MT, RIAN)

30 april 2013

Jury hands down guilty verdict in Budanov murder case: A jury at the Moscow City Court on Monday found Chechen native Yusup Temerkhanov guilty of murdering former army colonel Yury Budanov in Moscow in 2011. However, the jury found that the motive of the crime was not proved. According to investigators, the murder was motivated by Temerkhanov's hatred to servicemen as a social group. (Gazeta.ru, Kommersant, Ekho Moskvy)

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De Groenen/EVAGroenen en Europese Vrije Alliantie in het Europees Parlement.


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