Persoverzicht Tsjetsjenië - juli 2011

4 juli 2011

Situation in Northern Caucasus remains tense:(i) According to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, at least 360 people, including about 200 militants and more than 80 military servicemen and policemen, were killed and more than 300 were wounded in the past six months in the Northern Caucasus. The situation in the region remains tense. Moskovskie Novosti reports on a large-scale operation against a group of up to 10-12 militants since Saturday in Chechnya. One police officer was killed and two others were wounded in the operation. Chechen authorities do not rule out that militant leaders, the Gakayev brothers — Khusein and Muslim — could be in the group. The same daily cites reports alleging that a group of up to 70 militants have crossed into Russia from Georgia's Pankisi Gorge. The reports, however, were dismissed by Georgian authorities. (ii) Komsomolskaya Pravda reports that a Bulgarian court has decided to extradite to Russia Akhmed Chatayev, who is suspected of involvement in terrorist attacks. (KP, MN, NG)

6 juli 2011

Human Rights Council submits to Medvedev preliminary report on lawyer Magnitsky's death:At a meeting on Tuesday in Nalchik (capital of Kabardino-Balkaria), the Presidential Council for Human Rights and Civil Society Institutions submitted to President Dmitry Medvedev preliminary conclusions on the death in custody of Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergey Magnitsky. Commentators point out that the findings of rights activists who participated in an independent inquiry differ from the conclusions by the Investigative Committee. While the Investigative Committee blamed prison doctors for the lawyer's death, the independent inquiry implicated also investigator Oleg Silchenko and some other law enforcement officials. The independent inquiry had determined that the investigators who had charged Magnitsky with tax fraud should never have been involved in the case because of a conflict of interest. The press highlights that the preliminary conclusions revealed that Magnitsky may have died after being beaten. Medvedev is expected to hand over the conclusions to investigators. (ii) Member of the Memorial human rights centre Svetlana Gannushkina submitted to President Medvedev yesterday in Nalchik a report on the investigation of the murder of human rights activist Natalia Estemirova, who was killed in the Northern Caucasus in July 2009. (Gazeta.ru, Interfax, Izvestia, Kommersant, MN, MT, NG, RBK daily, RG, Vedomosti)

Counterterrorism operations in Northern Caucasus: Large-scale counterterrorism operations will be conducted by law enforcement officers in three districts of Chechnya from 5 July until 30 November. In the same period, operations against militants will be carried out in Ingushetia. In an interview with Moskovsky Komsomolets, Ingush leader Yunus-Bek Yevkurov pointed to positive changes in the security situation in Ingushetia. Kommersant reports on Yevkurov's initiative that the bodies of militants should be handed over to their relatives. (Kommersant, KP, MK)

Long prison terms proposed for laser attacks at airplanes: The press reports on new attempts to blind aircraft crews with laser beams in Moscow and Grozny. Since the beginning of 2011, there have been more than 30 laser attacks on pilots. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has banned the sale of laser pointers in Chechnya. Authorities proposed 10-year prison terms for people who blind pilots. (KP, Lenta.ru, MK, MT)

8 juli 2011

Nationalist leaders visit Chechnya: (i) The media address the recent visit to Chechnya by nationalist leaders, including the former leader of the banned Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI) Alexander Belov (Potkin), former leader of the banned Slavic Union Dmitry Dyomushkin and some others, on an invitation from the Chechen authorities. During the visit, they met with Chechen officials. The visit came amid growing interethnic tensions in Russian regions. The press reports that the nationalists praised Chechnya as a "model" for the rest of the country. (ii) Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin visited the village of Sagra (the Sverdlovsk region) in connection with an investigation of a mass brawl between local residents and visitors from Yekaterinburg, natives of Azerbaijan. Police deny that the brawl, in which one man was killed, was ethnically motivated. (Gazeta.ru, KP, MK, MT, NG, RG, Trud)

11 juli 2011

Kremlin official: Putin was sent to Russia by God: Dailies cite statements in an interview with state-run Chechen TV by the first deputy head of the Presidential Administration Vladislav Surkov. Surkov stressed inter alia that the Northern Caucasus will always be a part of Russia. He also said that PM Vladimir Putin was sent to Russia by God at a difficult time for Russia. (MK, MT, RG)

14 juli 2011

Human Rights Council suggests that North Caucasus strategy be changed: Moskovskie Novosti reports on a proposal by the Presidential Human Rights Council to change the Russian authorities' strategy in the Northern Caucasus. Council members call inter alia to revive the justice system and social and cultural policy in the region. (MN)

Spa project for foreign firms in North Caucasus:PM Putin instructed the Government to consider steps to build a spa resort in the North Caucasus similar to Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic. The spa resort should be based on the existing spa resorts in Kislovodsk, Pyatigorsk and Zheleznovodsk and attract foreigners. The authors of the idea propose to ask a foreign firm to lead the project. They cite the signing of the contract to build ski resorts in the Caucasus with a French firm in June as a good example. (Vedomosti)

15 juli 2011

Dagestan riot police deputy commander killed in Makhachkala:(i) Deputy commander of the Dagestani Interior Ministry's riot police force (OMON) Shamil Murtuzaliyev was killed yesterday in Makhachkala. Three militants suspected of involvement in the killing of Murtuzaliyev were killed late on Thursday in Dagestan. One police officer was killed and seven others were wounded in a clash with militants on Wednesday in Chechnya. (ii) The media report on the detention in the Stavropol territory of 'Russian Wahhabi' Viktor Dvorakovsky, who was suspected of preparing a terrorist attack at Moscow's Kazansky railway station and involvement in the Minsk metro bombing in April. During the detention, Dvorakovsky threw a grenade at police officers, while another explosive device exploded in his hands. (Interfax, Izvestia, Kommersant, KP, Lenta.ru, MK, MN)

Human rights activists criticise investigation of Estemirova murder case:In a report, made public on Thursday, human rights activists criticised the investigation into the murder of Memorial human rights centre activist Natalia Estemirova, who was abducted and killed in the Northern Caucasus in July 2009. The authors of the report expressed the view that Estemirova's investigation of a public execution in a Chechen village could have been the motive behind her death. The report was presented to President Medvedev at his meeting with members of the Presidential Human Rights Council on 5 July in Nalchik. (Gazeta.ru, Novaya Gazeta, RIAN)

20 juli 2011

Putin meets with NGOs: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had a meeting with the representatives of Russian nongovernmental organizations yesterday. The idea of this meeting was to promote participation of NGOs in Narodni Front (people’s front) movement. Heads of religious confessions along with the leaders of the national communities were present. Among the issues discussed were such as a taxation of NGOs, interethnic relations, multicultural and migration policy. (Kommersant, Moskovskiye Novosty)

Electoral Commission does not want international observers: A number of Russian NGOs which have close contacts with the Central Electoral Commission made a statement yesterday regarding participation of international institutions in monitoring elections in Russia. According to this statement, the international institutions has been discredited, and Russian NGOs can do monitoring of elections without international assistance. The observers note that the statement was made on the eve of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights visit to negotiate elections monitoring. (Kommersant)

21 juli 2011

The Caucasus under security dome:The new security system for the Caucasian health resorts will probably be developed by French or Israeli companies. These companies have experience in developing security systems in Mexico and Jerusalem. The French company has already submitted proposal called “Security Dome”. (Vedomosty)

Investment in North Caucasus: The oil company Nafta Moskva controlled by the billionaire Suleiman Kerimov will invest $1.4 billion in the construction of stadiums and tourist infrastructure in Dagestan. In April 2010, President Medvedev asked to create a tourist cluster in North Caucasus worth 450 billion roubles. (Izvestiya)

25 juli 2011

Umarov makes statement about Budanov assassination:A leader of the terrorist organization in Russia’s North Caucasus made a statement allegedly taking over the responsibility for last month’s murder of Yury Budanov, the former Russian army colonel who served nine years for the murder of a Chechen woman during the second war in Chechnya. Observers note that the close examination of the text shows that he only praises the assassination but not taking direct responsibility. (Rossiskaya Gazeta, Moskovskiye Novosty, The Moscow Times)

26 juli 2011

Situation in Ingushetia:Russia has imposed a counter-terrorism regime in two areas of its North Caucasus Republic of Ingushetia as local law enforcers continue to deal with unverified information about a powerful explosive device allegedly on stand-by in the city of Nazran. The search for the possible bomb is under way, with Nazran police already on heightened alert. (Interfax, The Voice of Russia)

27 juli 2011

Kadyrov fired corrupt officials:Kadyrov has sacked all deputy heads of Grozny municipal administration and 17 heads of departments in the city’s administration, due to corruption. Reportedly the move was provoked by the Chechen’s Internal Ministry report on corruption. (Rossiiskaya Gazeta, Moscow News)

29 juli 2011

Data of servicemen who served in hotspots to be classified: The Russian Defence Ministry intends to classify personal information about military servicemen who served in so-called hotspots both in Russia and abroad. Earlier, the media reported on requests sent by Chechen prosecutors to the Defence Ministry to provide personal data of servicemen who served in Chechnya during counterterrorist operations. (Trud)

Associate to North Caucasus militant leader gets 17 years for plotting attacks in Moscow:The Moscow City Court has sentenced to 17 years imprisonment Ruslan Korovin-Ozniyev, an associate to North Caucasus militant leader Doku Umarov, after having found him guilty of preparing terrorist attacks in Moscow in 2009. (Kommersant, KP, RG)

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