Persoverzicht Tsjetsjenië - juni 2011

1 juni 2011

Politkovskaya murder suspect detained in Chechnya: Rustam Makhmudov, the suspected killer of Novaya Gazeta reporter Anna Politkovskaya, was detained on Tuesday in Chechnya. A spokesman for the Investigative Committee said Makhmudov has been detained with assistance from law enforcement agencies of Belgium. Earlier reports suggested that he was hiding in Belgium. Meanwhile, the defence lawyer for one of the brothers of the detained suspect argued that Rustam Makhmudov planned to turn himself in to the police. Some commentators are sceptical that the arrest of the main suspect would help solve the crime. Politkovskaya was killed on 7 October 2006 in Moscow. In 2009, a jury acquitted three defendants of playing roles in the murder, including brothers Dzhabrail and Ibragim Makhmudov. (All media)

Suspected killer of North Ossetian poet killed in Vladikavkaz: (i) David Murashev, suspected of involvement in the killing last week of North Ossetian poet and public figure Shamil Dzhikayev, was killed in an operation yesterday in Vladikavkaz. Police said Murashev had links to radical Islamists. The media reported that the murder could be revenge for Dzhikayev's verse which allegedly contained criticism of Muslims. (ii) Two alleged militants have been detained in Ingushetia on suspicion of involvement in a September 2010 suicide bombing near the central market in Vladikavkaz which killed 19 people and injured up to 200. (iii) A court in Copenhagen on Tuesday sentenced to 12 years imprisonment native of Chechnya Lors Dukayev, who has been found guilty of attempted terrorism. (iv) Vedomosti publishes an interview with Presidential envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District Alexander Khloponin on the socioeconomic and security situation in the region. (Gazeta.ru, Izvestia, Kommersant, Lenta.ru, RIAN, Vedomosti)

2 juni 2011

Austrian court convicts three Russian nationals in Chechen murder case: A court in Vienna on Wednesday convicted three natives of Chechnya of playing roles in the 2009 murder of Umar Israilov, a Chechen refugee in Austria and former bodyguard and critic of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. The three men were sentenced to life imprisonment, 19 years and 16 years. Kommersant reports that Austrian investigators suspected Ramzan Kadyrov of involvement in the kidnapping and murder of Israilov, but failed to gather evidence of Kadyrov's involvement. The daily adds that defence lawyer for the Chechen leader, Andrey Krasnenkov, earlier argued that Israilov was not a bodyguard of Kadyrov, but was a member of illegal armed groups involved in abductions of civilians and attacks on federal troops in Chechnya. (Gazeta.ru, Kommersant; Ekho Moskvy)

Presidential Human Rights Council holds session in Dagestan:The Presidential Council for Human Rights and Civil Society Institutions, chaired by Mikhail Fedotov, opened its session yesterday in Makhachkala. Kommersant writes that hundreds of residents of Dagestan gathered outside the building of the National Library, where the meeting was held, trying to inform the Council about rights violations. (Kommersant)

3 juni 2011

Politkovskaya murder suspect indicted: Investigators have charged Chechen native Rustam Makhmudov with the murder of Novaya Gazeta reporter Anna Politkovskaya in October 2006 in Moscow. Makhmudov was detained on Tuesday in Chechnya. Investigators said that Makhmudov had also been wanted in connection with abduction and extortion committed in the 1990s. Meanwhile, observers note that the mastermind of the murder of Politkovskaya has not been established. (Kommersant, MT; Ekho Moskvy)

6 juni 2011

Violations of anti-corruption laws uncovered among police in North Caucasus District: The Prosecutor General's Office has uncovered violations of anti-corruption legislation in the Interior Ministry's main department for the North Caucasus Federal District. According to prosecutors' checks, many police officers were involved in business activity and concealed their incomes. (Kommersant)

8 juni 2011

Investments in construction of resorts in North Caucasus could grow: According to Moskovskie Novosti, investments in construction of resorts in the Northern Caucasus could grow from the current RUR450 billion to RUR1 trillion. Billionaire Suleiman Kerimov is ready to invest in the project. (MN)

10 juni 2011

Prosecutor asks court to fine Memorial head for slandering Chechen leader: The prosecutor on Thursday asked a Moscow district court to fine head of the Memorial human rights centre Oleg Orlov RUR150,000 (around $5,400) in a slander case against Orlov over his claim that Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov was allegedly responsible for the murder of human rights activist Natalia Estemirova in July 2009. Kadyrov's lawyer Andrey Krasnenkov asked the court to sentence Orlov to three years imprisonment – the maximum punishment under the relevant article of the Russian Criminal Code. (Gazeta.ru, Kommersant, MN)

14 juni 2011

Ex-colonel Budanov convicted of killing Chechen woman shot dead in Moscow: Former army colonel Yury Budanov, who had been convicted of killing 18-year-old Chechen girl Elza Kungayeva whom he suspected of being a militant sniper in 2000, was shot dead on 10 June in Moscow. Revenge and a provocation are considered by investigators as possible theories behind the murder of Budanov. Kommersant writes that investigators do not rule that the killing could be revenge not for Kungayeva's death, but for other crimes committed during the second Chechen military campaign. Duma member and close associate to Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, Adam Delimkhanov, told Gazeta.ru that Budanov's killing was "retribution". Komsomolskaya Pravda recalls that lawyer Stanislav Markelov, who represented the Kungayev family, was killed in Moscow in January 2009. However, the investigation had established no link between Markelov's murder and the Budanov case. Budanov was released on parole in 2009 after he served more than eight years of his ten-year prison term. The press cites fears that his murder could spark ethnic tensions as some nationalists view Budanov as a hero and martyr. The military honours were reportedly performed at Budanov's funeral yesterday in Khimki near Moscow. The leader of the Liberal Democratic Party Vladimir Zhirinovsky attended the funeral. (All media)

Nine militants, two police officers killed in Kabardino-Balkaria and Dagestan: (i) Six militants were killed in an operation in Kabardino-Balkaria's Elbrus district last Friday. One police officer was killed and five others were wounded in the operation. In another operation in Baksan, deputy head of the anti-extremism centre of Kabardino-Balkaria's Interior Ministry Khasan Bogatyryov was killed. In a separate incident on Friday, three militants were killed in a shootout with police in Dagestan. The imam of a village mosque was killed in Dagestan's Kizlyar district early on Tuesday. (ii) Russian Interior Minister Nurgaliyev said on Saturday that over 70 law enforcement officers and military servicemen have been killed in militant attacks in the Northern Caucasus since the beginning of 2011. (Gazeta.ru, Interfax, Kommersant)

15 juni 2011

Court acquits Memorial head Orlov of slandering Chechen leader: A Moscow court on Tuesday found head of the Memorial human rights centre Oleg Orlov not guilty of slandering Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. The slander case against Orlov was launched in connection with his claims that Kadyrov was allegedly responsible for the death of rights activist Natalia Estemirova, who was killed in the Northern Caucasus in July 2009. Kadyrov's lawyers said they plan to appeal against the ruling. Commentators view the court ruling as "unexpected", saying that the decision came as a "surprise" for Orlov and was welcomed by human rights advocates. The media recall that President Dmitry Medvedev has recently submitted legislative amendments decriminalizing slander. (Gazeta.ru, Kommersant, MN, MT, Novaya Gazeta)

Expert doubtful about 'Chechen trace' in ex-colonel Budanov's killing: The press reports on an investigation into the murder of former colonel Yury Budanov, who was killed last Friday in Moscow. Experts, cited by Moskovsky Komsomolets, are doubtful that the murder of Budanov was an act of revenge for the killing of a young Chechen woman in 2000. The daily suggests, citing comments by a former officer of the special services on some details of the crime, that the killing might have been a provocation. (Izvestia, KP, MK, Novaya Gazeta, RG)

16 juni 2011

Ex-officer convicted of killing civilians in Chechnya appeals to Putin: Former serviceman of the Russian Interior Troops Sergey Arakcheyev, who had been convicted of killing civilians in Chechnya and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, has recorded a video appeal to PM Vladimir Putin with a request to look into his criminal case. Arakcheyev pledged that he did not kill anyone. Komsomolskaya Pravda reports that about 12,000 people have already left their signatures under Arakcheyev's appeal in the Internet. Novye Izvestia notes that the video appeal was recorded on the same day when former army officer Yury Budanov, convicted of killing a young Chechen woman in 2000, was gunned down in Moscow. (KP, Novye Izvestia; Ekho Moskvy)

Chechnyato draft development strategy through 2025: Kommersant reports on Chechen authorities' plans to draft a strategy of the socioeconomic development of Chechnya until 2025. The daily recalls that in April, the Chechen authorities asked the federal Government to allocate almost RUR500 billion for socioeconomic development of Chechnya until 2025. (Kommersant)

17 juni 2011

Interethnic conflict in Leningrad region?: A criminal case on charges of hooliganism has been opened into a brawl between local residents and natives of the Northern Caucasus in the village of Kobralovo (the Leningrad region). The incident took place on 12 June during celebrations of Russia Day. Eight people, including two women, have received injuries. Some commentators warn of another 'Kondopoga' [reference to ethnic riots in Kondopoga (Karelia) in 2006]. (KP, Novaya Gazeta; Ekho Moskvy)

20 juni 2011

France to take part in developing North Caucasus resorts: Russia and France signed a deal at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum to jointly develop a chain of ski resorts in the Northern Caucasus. (MT)

Militant leader killed in Dagestan: (i) Leader of the so-called Izberbash subversive terrorist group, Shamil Payzullayev (nicknamed 'Abdusalam'), was killed in an operation on Sunday in Makhachkala. The National Antiterrorism Committee (NAK) said in a statement that Payzullayev had been involved in plotting a terrorist attack in Moscow on 31 December 2010. In a separate incident early on Monday, a Federal Security Service (FSB) officer was killed in Makhachkala. (ii) Kommersant reports that a series of bombings have been prevented in Dagestan in the past few days. (iii) In three explosions in Chechnya on Sunday, one contract serviceman was killed and several others were wounded. (Gazeta.ru, Kommersant, RIAN)

22 juni 2011

Chechen investigators collect data on federal servicemen: Investigators in Chechnya have reportedly sent requests to the Russian Defence Ministry to provide personal details about federal servicemen who served in Chechnya and participated in counterterrorism operations. Komsomolskaya Pravda writes that copies of the requests were published after the killing in Moscow of former army colonel Yury Budanov, who had been convicted of killing a young Chechen woman. The press service of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said in a comment that the information is needed for investigation of war crimes. (MK, KP, Lenta.ru)

23 juni 2011

Large-scale operation in Dagestan: (i) A large-scale operation against militants has been conducted in Dagestan's Kizlyar district since Tuesday. According to media reports, law enforcement agencies use aviation and heavy armoured vehicles. Seven special task force servicemen have been killed and 16 others have been wounded in the operation. (ii) An Interior Troops officer survived an attack in Moscow on 21 June. The media note that the officer participated in operations in the Northern Caucasus, but add that it remains unclear whether the attack is linked to his missions to the region. (Gazeta.ru, KP, Lenta.ru, RG)

24 juni 2011

Polygraph test indicates that ex-officer innocent in killing Chechen civilians: A lawyer for former officer of the Russian Interior Troops Sergey Arakcheyev, who had been sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for killing civilians in Chechnya in 2003, said that Arakcheyev will seek a retrial after a polygraph test indicated his innocence. Observers say that the planned appeal could further fuel tensions after another Chechen war veteran, former army colonel Yury Budanov was killed in Moscow on 10 June. (MT, RG)

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