1 maart 2014
‘Right Sector’ leader calls on North Caucasus militant leader for support: Gazeta.ru cites an appeal by leader of Ukraine’s radical nationalist group ‘Right Sector’ Yarosh, who has called on North Caucasus militant leader Doku Umarov “to support Ukraine.”
4 maart 2014
Russian investigators open case against leader of Ukraine's 'Right Sector': Russian investigators have opened a case against the leader of Ukraine's radical nationalist group 'Right Sector' Yarosh on terrorism and extremism related charges over Yarosh's alleged appeal via a social network to North Caucasus militant leader Doku Umarov for support. Gazeta.ru, MT, NG, RG)
6 maart 2014
Leader of Ukraine's 'Right Sector' declared internationally wanted: The Russian authorities have issued an international arrest warrant for the leader of Ukraine's radical nationalist group 'Right Sector' Yarosh. Earlier, Russian investigators opened a case against Yarosh on terrorism and extremism related charges over his alleged call on North Caucasus militant leader Doku Umarov for support. Governmental Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports on Yarosh's intention to expose the 'fifth column' in Ukraine — politicians, public figures and journalists working for Moscow. The newspaper writes that Ukrainian journalist Oles Buzina received threats over his comments on Russian television, and adds that militants from 'Right Sector' are stepping up pressure on Russian-speakers in Ukraine's western regions. (RG)
7 maart 2014
Vedomosti, 7 March
In the "Crimea's adhesion" editorial, Vedomosti analyses the positive and negative effect of a potential annexation of the peninsula by Russia. On the good side, it will permanently settle the issue of Sevastopol and the Russian Black Sea Fleet and would allow Russians to travel to Crimea without foreign passports. The negative consequences are much more substantial. It would provoke separatist tensions both inside Russia and around its borders. There is a risk that Tatarstan and the North Caucasian republics could ask for independence again. Also, it would set a precedent for Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transnistria in terms of a tool for solving their currently unrecognized status.
Two militants detained in Volgograd region: Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on the detention on 5 March in the Volgograd region of two militants from Dagestan. According to a source in law enforcement agencies, the militants had planned to commit terror attacks during the Paralympic flame relay in Volgograd. (NG)
8 maart 2014
Russia awaiting international reaction to threats from Ukraine’s radical group: The Russian Foreign Ministry said Saturday that Moscow was awaiting a reaction by foreign countries to threats by the leader of Ukraine’s radical nationalist group ‘Right Sector’ Yarosh against Russia and Russian citizens. The Ministry slammed as “a flagrant act of discrimination against the freedom of the press” the denial of entry to Ukraine to Russian journalists. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov told journalists on Saturday that the current Ukrainian Government is “dependent on radical nationalists who seized power in an armed coup.” (ii) Russian investigators have opened cases over threats to the governors of Russia’s Belgorod, Kursk, Bryansk and Voronezh regions from a far-right Ukrainian group. Russian investigators also opened a case against Ukrainian nationalist Muzychko (aka ‘Sashko Bilyi’) on suspicion of involvement in torturing and murdering Russian soldiers during the first Chechen war in 1994-1995.
13 maart 2014
Opposition activist Alexey Navalny has classified the fact of Crimea being part of Ukraine as unjust and not right. He states, however, that he does not support the referendum due to a number of reasons. One of them is the possibility of creating a precedent for the vulnerable Russian regions i.e. North Caucasus, Tatarstan or Kaliningrad.
An open letter expressing support for Putin's policy towards Crimea was signed by over 100 Russian prominent cultural personalities. In support of his signature, Sergey Bezrukov has stated that for the first time in sixty years the people of Crimea were given the chance to express their will and people should respect this.
18 maart 2014
Russian investors announce projects in Crimea: Russian businessmen are eager to invest in the tourist infrastructure of Crimea. The owner of Tuva Energy Industrial corporation Ruslan Baysarov said that he is willing to invest 12 billion roubles in the construction of new resorts in Crimea. The businessman also undertakes a large construction project in Chechnya using a loan from Vnesheconombank. Meanwhile, the Crimean authorities propose to create a special economic zone in Crimea. (Kommersant)
19 maart 2014
Chechnya refuses to lease Superjets: The Ministry of Transport of Chechnya and the Chechen airline Grozny Avia refused to take on lease Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ-100) from the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), and are considering buying Airbus 3109 planes instead. As the Chechen side explained, the price of SSJ was too high and the UAC actually refused to accept roubles. According to the UAC, the currency risks are too high, since imported parts constitute 80% of a SSJ-100. (Izvestia)
North Caucasus militant leader Umarov dead?: Websites linked to North Caucasus militants published reports about the death of the leader of the banned 'Imarat Kavkaz' ('Caucasus Emirate') Doku Umarov. Kommersant writes that his former supporters claim that Umarov had died last summer. However, the Russian law enforcement agencies declined to comment on the reports. (Gazeta.ru, Kommersant)
25 maart 2014
Four militants killed in Dagestan: The National Antiterrorism Committee said in a statement that four militants, including the leader of the so-called Babayurt gang, have been killed in an operation in the Dagestani town of Khasavyurt.
Russia ranks 2nd in number of asylum seekers: According to the UN Refugee Agency's report, Russia was second [after Syria] in terms of the number of asylum seekers it generated in 2013. In an editorial, Vedomosti reports that many Russian applicants are residents of Chechnya. (MT, Vedomosti)
Tymoshenko conversation sparks controversy: (i) Media report on a leaked phone conversation between Ukraine's former PM Tymoshenko and Ukrainian MP Shufrich, during which Tymoshenko allegedly said that she would use nuclear weapons against Russians in Ukraine. Tymoshenko, however, said that the conversation had been fabricated. (ii) Kommersant reports that armed groups in Ukraine are not in a hurry to surrender arms. ITAR-TASS speculates that a foreign private military company, Greystone Limited, could be hired by the Ukrainian authorities to suppress protest actions in Ukraine's eastern regions. (iii) Activist of Ukraine's ultra-nationalist group 'Right Sector' Muzychko (aka 'Sashko Bilyi') has been killed in Rovno (western Ukraine). Earlier, the press reported that Russian investigators had opened a case against Muzychko on suspicion of torturing and murdering Russian soldiers during the First Chechen War in 1994-1995. (Gazeta.ru, ITAR-TASS, Kommersant, RG; Ekho Moskvy)
26 maart 2014
Obama reiterates threat of more sanctions, calls Russia a 'regional power': Media cite statements made at the Nuclear Security Summit on Tuesday in The Hague by US President Obama, who called Russia a 'regional power' which is threatening some of its neighbors out of weakness rather than strength. Obama also reiterated a threat of further sanctions against Moscow. Gazeta.ru reports that Kazakh President Nazarbayev at a meeting with Obama in The Hague hinted at his readiness to mediate in a standoff between Russia and the West. Commenting on a meeting between Obama and Chinese leader Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit, Nezavisimaya Gazeta does not rule out that Beijing might play a mediating role between Moscow and Kiev. On the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Lavrov met with the Chinese leader to discuss the Ukraine crisis. Kommersant pays attention to an OSCE mission, whose mandate applies to 10 Ukrainian cities [the mission does not cover Crimea], and says that the creation of this mission could turn the OSCE into a key instrument in settling the Ukraine crisis. (ii) A poll by VTSIOM has revealed that Russians are not scared of US and EU sanctions and showed that 52% of respondents suggested that Russia's relations with the West may be only tense. (iii) Nezavisimaya Gazeta cites Japanese Minister for Economic Revitalization Akira Amari as saying that Tokyo backs restoration of Russia's participation in the G8 after the resolution of the Ukrainian crisis. (iv) Izvestia reports that Russia has intensified contacts with various countries across the world and mentions that Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has recently visited Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Jordan and Israel. This week, Foreign Minister Lavrov is scheduled to visit Cyprus, while Deputy PM Golodets intends to visit China. On 29 March, Deputy PM Dvorkovich is expected to visit Iraq. Expert Semyon Bagdasarov stressed the need for Moscow to develop ties with Middle Eastern countries and the Persian Gulf region. At the same time, Bagdasarov noted that softening of sanctions on Iran could play against Russia in the situation of the Ukraine crisis. (Gazeta.ru, ITAR-TASS, Izvestia, Kommersant, RG; Ekho Moskvy)
Five militants, one security forces officer killed in Dagestan operation: The National Antiterrorism Committee said Tuesday that five militants, including the leader of the so-called Khasavyurt gang, have been killed in an operation in Dagestan's Khasavyurt district. One security forces officer was killed and another was injured in the clash. (Interfax, Kommersant)
27 maart 2014
The Director of the Research Centre on Post-Industrial Society Vladislav Inozemtsev argues that Russia does not have grounds for "protecting" its "compatriots", "Russian-speakers" or "orthodox". Moreover, the Russians in Ukraine and especially Crimea were under no any form of threat. What will happen if a Muslim country will want to "protect" the rights of other Muslims or compatriots in Germany or France? The UN Declaration of 1960 regarding the "nation's right to self-determination" concerned the colonized territories. The Russian minority in Crimea was not a stateless ethnos and thus, Crimea's referendum falls under the heading of 'separatism'. The author brings the Chechen wars as an example of how Russia deals with separatist regions.
Inozemtsev concludes that, those who argue that Russia is falling behind the West by 30-40 years are wrong. Russia lags behind by 365 years when the Westphalia put an end to religious wars.