Lawrence Uzzell

Lawrence A. Uzzell is a senior Jamestown Foundation fellow who opened Jamestown’s Moscow office in 1992. A specialist in the former Soviet Union since 1989, a Yale graduate and widely published in the American, British and Russian media, Uzzell is President of International Religious Freedom Watch (formerly Keston USA).

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Articles by Lawrence Uzzell

ZAKAEV CONDEMNS HOSTAGE-TAKING…

Akhmed Zakaev, the London-based representative of the underground government of Aslan Maskhadov, released a statement on November 1 condemning the terrorist warlord Shamil Basaev. As reported by the Newsru.com website,

…AS QUESTIONS LINGER OVER DUBROVKA SIEGE

Though now overshadowed by the greater tragedy of Beslan, the October 2002 hostage episode at Moscow's Dubrovka theater continues to raise questions. Some two years later, the federal authorities have

USTINOV PROPOSES COUNTER-HOSTAGE-TAKING

Neo-Stalinist concepts of collective responsibility for individual crimes are still thriving in Russia's security agencies. According to an October 29 article by Maria Tsvetkova and Yelena Rudnieva on the Gazeta.ru

AUSHEV EARNS RELUCTANT PRAISE

FSB head Nikolai Patrushev reluctantly admitted to the Duma last week that one of the Kremlin's least favorite political figures deserves praise rather than blame for his activities during the

CHECHEN COMPENSATION MARRED BY CORRUPTION

Bribery and extortion continue to be common abuses in the process by which Chechens seek financial compensation from the federal government for their homes damaged or destroyed during the war,

CHECHENS NOT BEING DRAFTED

Russia supposedly has military conscription for all healthy young males, but the Novosti news agency reported on October 28 that Chechens are not being drafted this year—even though the federal

REBELS ATTACK WOUNDED KADYROVTSY

Disregard of the Geneva Convention and other rules of civilized warfare has long since become routine on both sides in Chechnya, as was shown again on October 31 by a

PRO-MOSCOW CHECHEN FIGHTER PROFILED

A rare glimpse at the activities of the pro-Moscow forces commanded by Chechen warlord Sulim Yamadaev came in an article published by Le Monde on October 27. The Paris daily's

MASKAHDOV AIDES DISAGREE OVER POSSIBLE PEACE TERMS

A disagreement within Chechnya's underground separatist government became public over the weekend as one aide to its president Aslan Maskhadov rebuked another for stating that Maskhadov's resignation could be part

BRIEFS

--NO SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONE FOR CHECHNYA? The latest version of a draft treaty on future relations between the federal government and the pro-Moscow administration in Chechnya does not include provisions

ALKSNIS WANTS SOLDIERS’ MOTHERS INVESTIGATED

Viktor Alksnis, one of the Russian parliament's most strident ultra-nationalists, harshly assailed the Union of Committees of Soldiers' Mothers last week for its recent offer to help promote peace negotiations

KADYROV JR. CLAIMS MASKHADOV WANTS TO GIVE UP

In what appears to be another case of his impulsively talking before thinking, Ramzan Kadyrov announced last week that the president of Chechnya's underground separatist government was about to surrender.

LARGE ANTI-WAR PROTEST HELD IN MOSCOW

Last weekend, Moscow's Pushkin Square witnessed the largest anti-war demonstration in many years, with almost 10 times as many participants as in such demonstrations in the recent past. The demonstration

BRIEFS

--NORTH OSSETIA-INGUSHETIA SITUATION SIMMERS Tensions are continuing to run high along the border between North Ossetia and Ingushetia, where a group of North Ossetian vigilantes temporarily seized a checkpoint last

APPOINTED GOVERNORS: DISASTROUS FOR THE CAUCASUS?

The federal government has no visible long-term strategy for handling the crisis in the North Caucasus, one of Russia's leading specialists in the region told correspondent Dmitry Taratorin of Novye

INGUSH-OSSETIAN TENSIONS GROW

Shamil Basaev has achieved the goal of his Beslan operation, concluded Sanobar Shermatova in an October 15 article for the weekly Moskovskie novosti. "After Beslan the peoples of the Caucasus

SECURITY FORCES SWEEP NOVYE ATAGI

Belying the authorities' denials of continuing human-rights abuses in Chechnya, a massive zachistka security sweep paralyzed the town of Novye Atagi southeast of Grozny last week. According to an October

CHECHENS NOW EUROPE’S LARGEST REFUGEE GROUP

Chechen refugees now constitute the largest national group seeking asylum in the European Union, according to an October 15 report in the Irish Times—far outstripping those fleeing wars in more

EMIGRES’ HOMES HIT BY ARSON ATTACKS

A mysterious arson attack caused minor damage last week to the home of Chechen diplomat Akhmed Zakaev, London representative of the underground Maskhadov government. The Reuters news service reported on

ASLAKHANOV: BESLAN TERRORISTS HAD LIST OF DEMANDS

Yet more information has emerged contradicting last month's attempts to create the impression that the Beslan terrorists did not have a clear set of negotiating demands. Putin aide Aslanbek Aslakhanov

ARE THE AUTHORITIES SMEARING RUSLAN AUSHEV?

The official commission charged with investigating the Beslan affair seems to be laying the groundwork to achieve two goals: a cover-up of what really happened, and a slander campaign against

SOLDIERS’ MOTHERS OFFER TO MEDIATE

The Committee of Soldiers' Mothers, which for years has worked to protect Russian draftees from abuses by their own superiors, announced on October 13 that it will try to mediate

KADYROV JR. APPOINTED FIRST DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

If Alu Alkhanov, the new president of Chechnya's pro-Moscow administration, plans gradually to squeeze Ramzan Kadyrov out of power, that is not evident from his recent personnel appointments. Alkhanov has

BRIEFS

--INTERNET CAFES SHUT DOWN IN INGUSHETIA The pro-Moscow administration in Ingushetia has now shut down the last surviving Internet cafes in that republic, Radio Liberty reported on October 18. The

BESLAN TERRORISTS EXECUTED SCHOOLBOYS…

Further confirmation that the Beslan terrorists killed schoolboys, not just grown men, in cold blood came in an October 4 article in Novaya gazeta by Kseniya Leonova, who interviewed 14-year-old

…AND THE AUTHORITIES USED INDISCRIMINATE FIREPOWER

Pavel Felgenhauer, the well-known independent military analyst, cited further evidence last week suggesting that the assault on the school was consciously planned in advance by the Russian authorities "not as

PACE RESOLUTION: A HALF LOAF FOR RUSSIA?

Russia won a partial victory last week in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which passed a resolution calling for a political settlement of the conflict in the

FSB TARGETS ANOTHER JOURNALIST

Yet another reporter was prevented by the Russian authorities from covering the hostage crisis in Beslan, according to an October 11 article in the English-language Moscow Times. Yuri Bagrov, an

DOES BASAEV HAVE FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES?

Interviews in Gazeta last week provided further indications that elements in the security agencies are helping the terrorist warlord Shamil Basaev avoid arrest—in spite of repeated announcements that the Russian

A SOUTH OSSETIAN ROLE IN BESLAN?

The "local" vigilantes whose gunfire helped cause the Beslan hostage standoff to explode out of control on September 3 included visitors who were not local at all, according to a

WAS AN ASSAULT PREORDAINED?

Were the Beslan explosions and gunbattle of September 3 accidental? Eyewitness Rustam Kaliev told Chechnya Weekly that in his view the terrorists must have studied carefully the Nord-Ost experience of

… AND AUSHEV PUTS FORWARD HIS VERSION OF EVENTS

Ruslan Aushev, former president of Ingushetia, continued to contradict the official version of the Beslan atrocity in an interview with the Interfax news agency published on September 28. Aushev said

EXPERTS SEE MASKHADOV AS A SPENT FORCE

Many of the experts who spoke to Chechnya Weekly, including those sympathetic to Aslan Maskhadov, have now concluded that his political strength among his fellow Chechens has fallen sharply. Svetlana

CONFLICT’S UNCHECKED BRUTALITY FOSTERS DESPAIR

Svetlana Gannushkina of Memorial said that feelings of despair are now running so high among Chechens that her own organization was finding it difficult to persuade its Chechen employees to

WHO’S REALLY IN CHARGE OF THE CHECHNYA OPERATION?

Russia's "anti-terrorist operation" in Chechnya is nominally conducted by a combined force reporting to the federal Interior Ministry. But an analysis recently published by the Agentura.ru website provides further evidence

Satarov: Official Lies Can Be Deadly

In a September 9 analysis for Gazeta.ru, the Moscow political scientist and former Yeltsin adviser Georgi Satarov suggested that the Russian and North Ossetian authorities' repeated falsehoods about the Beslan

Reporter Puts Forward Another Version Of Events

In the September 11 issue of Moskovski komsomolets, Aleksandr Khinshtein published a version of the Beslan events with details that apparently have not appeared elsewhere. He was vague about his

Beslan Raid Bears Basayev’s Fingerprints

It is becoming increasingly difficult to doubt that there were connections between the June raid in Ingushetia and the Beslan attack—despite the latter's far harsher tactics. Grani.ru on September 9

Authorities Organize Anti-terrorist Demonstrations

Last week's political demonstrations "against terrorism," both in Moscow and in the North Ossetia capital of Vladikavkaz, were somewhat similar to Soviet-era rallies—planned and organized by the government itself for

Is Georgia The First Candidate For Pre-emption?

Last week's vague threats by Russia's defense establishment to launch pre-emptive attacks against foreign terrorist bases may be intended to lay the groundwork for military strikes, or at least heightened

Could The Beslan Tragedy Have Been Avoided?

The Beslan horror marks a threefold escalation in Russia's civil war. First, the terrorists who seized that North Ossetian town's School No. 1 used new, gratuitously cruel tactics, not only

Basayev Denies Responsibility

The Chechen terrorist warlord Shamil Basayev, whom some think is more likely to claim responsibility for the terrorist actions of others than to deny responsibility for his own, stated firmly

What Was Roshal’s Role?

A curious detail about the hostage crisis was noted by the Grani.ru website in a September 2 report. The pediatrician Leonid Roshal, whom the Beslan hostage-takers specifically sought by name

Politkovskaya Is Poisoned…

Anna Politkovskaya, the Novaya gazeta correspondent who has written many fearless reports from Chechnya, was poisoned under suspicious circumstances while on her way to cover the hostage crisis in Beslan.

Chechnya’s Presidential Election Goes As Planned…

The August 29 special election to fill the vacant presidency of Chechnya's pro-Moscow administration produced no surprises. Despite the authorities' efforts to control the flow of information, independent journalists managed

…leaving Moscow With A Tricky Balancing Act

With Chechnya's latest rigged election now safely behind them, Kremlin decision-makers will now probably pursue a balancing game in their relations with Grozny's pro-Moscow administration—trying to keep in power both

Popular Newspaper Lambastes Chechnya Policy

The Putin administration's continually tightening controls over the broadcast media have shielded ordinary Russians from sights and sounds that would undermine the Kremlin's own spin about normalization and pacification in

Maskhadov Backs Georgia In South Ossetia Conflict

Trying to take advantage of the mounting tensions between Georgia and Russia, the head of Chechnya's underground separatist government said in a taped interview broadcast last week on the Georgian

Terrorists Brought Down The Airliners

It was not until Friday, August 27—three days after the crashes of two Russian passenger jets—that the FSB finally acknowledged the likelihood that the tragedy was the result of a

Kadyrov Yes, Starovoitova No

The renaming of a Moscow street in honor of Akhmad Kadyrov (see Chechnya Weekly, August 25) seems to reveal a double standard on the part of the municipal authorities. Not

Some Passports Are More Equal Than Others

As readers will recall from the July 28 issue of Chechnya Weekly, the strongest rival to the Kremlin's preferred candidate in this coming weekend's special election for the presidency of

…while Authorities Target One Of His Opponents

As if the exclusion on technical grounds of Alu Alkhanov's one serious rival in the August 29 election were not sufficient, the authorities of Chechnya's pro-Moscow administration have now conducted

Support For Chechen War Erodes – But Slowly

New findings released on August 5 by the Levada.ru website, voice of Russia's most authoritative independent opinion-poll service, show continued long-term erosion in popular support for the war in Chechnya.

Moscow Gets A Kadyrov Street

Moscow municipal authorities have decided to name a city street for the assassinated Chechen leader Akhmad Kadyrov, according to an Interfax report of August 17. The renaming of the street,

Akhmadov Granted Asylum

In early August, Ilyas Akhmadov, foreign minister in the underground separatist government of Aslan Maskhadov, finally won his long quest for permanent political asylum in the United States. The final

Briefs

--RAMZAN OFFERS FORCES FOR SOUTH OSSETIA Further solidifying his reputation as a rhetorical loose cannon, Ramzan Kadyrov told the Georgian television station Mze in an August 21 interview that he

Maskhadov Enunciates A Harder Line

One of Russia's most well-connected, pro-establishment business leaders urged the Putin administration to open informal talks with Aslan Maskhadov, president of Chechnya's underground separatist government, in spite of Maskhadov's claim

Harassment Of Chechen Refugees Continues

Harassment and intimidation of Chechen refugees in Ingushetia continued last week. The Prima human-rights news agency reported on July 28 that 50 "officers of security structures" had raided the Kristall

A Basaev Thrives In The Russian Heartland

An article by Aleksandr Yelisov published in Moskovsky komsomolyets on July 30 deepens questions about the relations between the Russian security agencies and the terrorist warlord Shamil Basaev. Most of

Saidullaev Removed From Chechnya’s Presidential Race

On July 22, the election officials of Chechnya's pro-Moscow administration formally rejected the registration of Malik Saidullaev as a candidate in the republic's special presidential election scheduled for the end

Tensions Rising Between Kremlin And Kadyrov Clan

A strikingly candid discussion of the behind-the-scenes tensions between the Kremlin and the Kadyrov clan appeared on the Strana.ru website on July 23. The article by Fyodor Chekhoev predictably gave

Poll Of Chechens Finds Optimists In Short Supply

Not surprisingly, distrust and pessimism continue to be hallmarks of public opinion in Chechnya. In early July, the Institute of Social Marketing conducted an opinion survey in 74 Chechen cities,

Has Unemployment Fueled Chechnya’s War?

A July 21 article for the Polit.ru website by Aleksandr Cherkasov of the Memorial human rights group suggests that Chechnya-watchers should give more weight to ongoing unemployment as a contributing

Another Violent Week In The North Caucasus

Yet another sign that Chechnya's war is heating up came from the Associated Press on July 25, which as usual provided new reports on federal casualties from its sources inside

Notable Quotes

"The demagogic view that Chechnya was truly presented with a chance for independence during the period from 1997 to 1997 cannot survive serious examination….In fact Chechnya was not a legal

Briefs

--MORE REFUGEES FORCED TO LEAVE INGUSHETIA Last week yet another small settlement of Chechen refugees was on the way to being forcibly vacated. According to an article published by the

…as Battles Rage Elsewhere

There was also a large battle on July 13 near the village of Avtury in the Shali district southeast of Grozny. The official Itar-Tass news agency admitted in a July

Seven Russian Soldiers Killed Over July 16-17

Seven Russian soldiers were killed and five wounded in Chechnya during a 24-hour period ending on July 17, an unnamed official of the republic's pro-Moscow administration told the Associated Press.

Maskhadov Warns Of New Attacks Outside Chechnya

Aslan Maskhadov, president of Chechnya's underground secessionist government, said in an e-mail communication to the Reuters news agency last weekend that attacks similar to the June raid on Ingushetia may

Russians Pessimistic About Chechnya

The Russian public continues to be pessimistic about the war in Chechnya, according to the latest findings of the independent, widely respected Levada polling center. The center published a summary

Drawing The Wrong Lessons From Yermolov

According to a recent poll conducted by the All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM) and published in Novye izvestia on July 17, two-thirds of Russians surveyed (67.6

Registration Ends For Chechen Presidential Candidates

On July 14, the election authorities of the pro-Moscow administration in Grozny formally closed the reception of registration documents from would-be candidates for president in the August 29 special election.

Putin Shakes Up Military Over Ingushetia Raids

As predicted by various well-placed sources in Moscow earlier this month (see Chechnya Weekly, July 7), General Anatoly Kvashnin has been fired from his position as chief of staff of

Fsb Kidnapping Operation Documented

Apparently for the first time, an official of Ingushetia's Prosecutor's Office has specifically admitted the existence of a phenomenon which has long been discussed by journalists and human-rights activists: the

Russians In Qatar Could Still Face Death Penalty

Last week's Moskovskie novosti reported that the two Russian intelligence-agents sentenced to life in prison for murdering a Chechen extremist in Qatar have filed an appeal to a higher court.

Briefs

--OSCE WILL NOT MONITOR CHECHEN ELECTION The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has decided not to send official observers to monitor the August 29 election. In a July

Holocaust Museum Hosts Panel On Chechnya

This evening (Wednesday, July 14), the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., is to host a panel of experts on the topic "Chechnya after a Decade of Destruction." Featured speakers

Acpc Welcomes Call For Negotiations

The American Committee for Peace in Chechnya released a statement on July 7 welcoming calls for peace talks by Aslan Maskhadov, president of Chechnya's underground separatist government, and Ingush President

Ingushetia’s President In Denial

An even bigger loser than Vladimir Putin from last month's guerrilla raid on Ingushetia turns out to be that republic's president Murat Zyazikov. The latter, a Federal Security Service (FSB)

Ingush Rebels Declare Jihad

Further confirmation of the transformation of the Chechen war into a wider Chechen-Ingush war came last week as a Chechen extremist website reported the proclamation by Ingush rebels of a

Grozny Braces For Possible Rebel Raid

A guerrilla raid on well-defended Grozny would be a more difficult challenge for the separatist rebels than the recent raid on Ingushetia, and a much more impressive achievement should it

Eight Russian Troops Killed In 24-hour Period

Eight Russian troops were slain in Chechnya during a 24-hour period ending on July 10, according to the Associated Press. An unnamed official in Grozny's pro-Moscow administration told the news

Trepashkin’s Health Deteriorates In Prison

Though seriously ill, the dissident lawyer Mikhail Trepashkin is being held illegally in a Moscow isolation cell, according to a July 9 article on the Newsru.com website. The terms of

Dubrovka Victims Lose Suit Against Kremlin

It was entirely predictable that the Moscow district court considering the Dubrovka lawsuit against Vladimir Putin would rule in Putin's favor. What was not so predictable was that the court

Briefs

--INGUSHETIAN AUTHORITIES FORCING OUT CHECHEN REFUGEES A July 5 report on the Caucasian Knot website provided further evidence that the federal and Ingushetian authorities are successfully exploiting last month's guerilla

Will Kvashnin Take The Fall For Ingushetia?

Powerful forces within the Putin administration are trying to make Anatoly Kvashnin, head of the Russian armed forces' general staff, the scapegoat for last month's fiasco in Ingushetia. A June

Hostage-taking: A Growth Industry?

The human and economic disaster area that is today's Chechnya nevertheless offers multiple opportunities for getting rich—nearly all of them dishonest. Free-lance Chechen journalist Mainat Abdulaeva discussed several of these

Extortion At Checkpoints: Fresh Details

A July 1 article by Chechen journalists Aslambek Badilayev and Kazbek Vakhayev for the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting essentially confirmed the picture of extortion and bribery at

Special Services Unhappy Over Qatar Events

Will elements in Russia's security services now push for a special operation to set up a jailbreak for two of their colleagues convicted last week of murder in Qatar? The

Briefs

--SOME INGUSHETIA RAIDERS HAD GRU DOCUMENTS According to the brother of an FSB officer slain in the late-June raid on Ingushetia, at least some of the guerrilla raiders were equipped

…as Ingushetian Police Roust Chechen Refugees

Last week, police of Ingushetia's pro-Moscow administration mounted a security sweep on the small refugee center located on the former Altievo dairy farm, Gazeta.ru reported on June 25. Beslan Khamkhoev,

Ramzan Kadyrov, Attorney At Law

Q. What sort of education do you have? A. A post-graduate legal education. I'm finishing now, I'll be taking examinations. Q. What kind of examinations? A. What do you mean,

Soldiers Vigilantly Extort Chechen Drivers

Contrary to the impression fostered by Kremlin spokesmen, Chechnya's highways still have an extensive network of military checkpoints that are used by federal soldiers to extort bribes from civilians. In

Briefs

--EX-JUDGE SAYS INGUSHETIA ATTACKS STEM FROM FSB DEPREDATIONS Boris Ozdoyev, the retired Ingush judge whose son Rashid was apparently kidnapped by the FSB after he tried to warn his colleagues

Correction

Last week's issue of Chechnya Weekly mistakenly referred to Nazran as the capital of Ingushetia. In fact, the Ingush capital was transferred from Nazran to the newly built city of

Guerrillas Strike Ingushetia’s Capital

In what appeared to be a bold escalation in tactics and targeting by Chechnya's separatist guerrillas, the headquarters of Ingushetia's interior ministry in the republic's capital of Nazran was seized

Maskhadov On Why They Fight

"We tried to approach the Russian government with our proposal several times. We told them, 'Let's stop this war ourselves without involving anyone into this process.' We are fighting to

Kadyrov’s Likely Heir Is Not Without Challengers

Removing whatever slight shade of doubt might have existed about his willingness to accept the artificially engineered "draft Alkhanov" campaign of the last few weeks, Alu Alkhanov visited President Vladimir

Rights Activists Want Chechen Vote Postponed

Leaders of Russia's most prominent independent human rights organizations have proposed that the special election for the presidency of Chechnya, scheduled to take place on August 29, be postponed. As

Msf And Dutch Government Trade Accusations Over Erkel

The escalating dispute between the government of the Netherlands and the international medical charity Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), or MSF, constitutes another victory for the Russian secret police

Returning Refugees Resettled Amid Ruins

Now that the Russian and Ingush authorities have succeeded in closing Ingushetia's last tent camps for Chechen refugees, what conditions await the camps' former residents? According to a report released

Briefs

--TWELVE RUSSIAN SERVICEMEN KILLED OVER 24-HOUR PERIOD Lending further credence to claims by separatist president Maskhadov that the rebel guerrillas have stepped up their activity in recent weeks, an official

Norway Ignores Russian Request To Extradite Zakaev

The Russian Foreign Ministry suffered another diplomatic defeat last week in its continuing campaign to pressure western countries to classify separatist Chechen diplomat Akhmed Zakaev as an "international terrorist." Zakaev

Ramzan Kadyrov Embraces Collective Punishment

Ramzan Kadyrov is now threatening publicly to apply to all separatist guerrillas what previously he has denied doing: retaliating against their relatives. Once again showing his lack of political finesse,

Briefs

--WEEKLY RESUMES ITS CRITICISM OF KREMLIN'S CHECHNYA POLICY Though Russia's electronic broadcast media are increasingly timid about Chechnya, the reformist weekly Novoye Vremya is back in action after an ownership

Moscow’s Body Count Doesn’t Add Up

Yelena Shesternina is not the first Russian journalist to do it, but she has performed a valuable service by bringing the figures up to date. The correspondent for Russky Kurier

Power Brokers Ponder Whom To Back For Chechen President

Gross manipulation of elections is easy in a completely totalitarian state, but can have self-defeating results in a semi-totalitarian one. The Kremlin’s interference in last autumn’s presidential election for the

Briefs

--WHILE FEWER THAN EVER ARE WILLING TO SERVE… As in other recent years, this spring’s Russian military call-up is seeing massive draft evasion. According to a report broadcast on Radio

Chechen Rebels Show New Boldness

Both federal and separatist accounts of the day-to-day course of combat operations in Chechnya are so self-serving that it is extremely difficult to discern the truth behind the propaganda. One

A Ransom Was Apparently Paid For Dutch Msf Worker

Governments and other organizations with “deep pockets” usually deny paying ransoms or bribes, and the terrorists or corrupt bureaucrats who receive such payments also usually prefer to keep them secret.

Fsb Death Squad Operating In Ingushetia?

The May 27 issue of Novaya Gazeta includes a document that claims to be a letter from an FSB officer in southern Russia’s Stavropol region. If authentic, the letter sheds

Eldest Son Of Akhmad Kadyrov Dies

The prevailing opinion among independent observers seems to be that Zelimkhan Kadyrov died of natural causes, despite inconsistent reports from Chechnya’s pro-Moscow administration. Russian news agencies reported mid-evening on May

Briefs

--MILITARY REINFORCEMENTS REPORTEDLY SENT TO CHECHNYA Is the number of new Russian reinforcements in Chechnya even greater than acknowledged by the Kremlin? In addition to new Chechen gunmen for the

Little Mourning For Kadyrov In North Caucasus

In the mostly Muslim provinces of southern Russia neighboring Chechnya, the reaction to Akhmad Kadyrov's death has been lukewarm. Public statements by officials, memorial services and the like have focused

Chechen Children Increasingly Targets Of Kidnapping

Pro-Moscow forces in Chechnya are increasingly now capturing children and adolescents. Though it cannot be excluded that older male adolescents may be participants in separatist guerrilla units, the usual practice

Trepashkin Sentenced To Four Years In Prison

Mikhail Trepashkin, the dissident ex-FSB lawyer who tried to investigate his former employer's links to the 1999 apartment bombings that gave Vladimir Putin his justification for the second Chechen war,

Briefs

-- THE PROS AND CONS OF STRONGMAN RULE IN CHECHNYA "In the economic context Russia has no interest in seeing the emergence in Chechnya of a strong new leader [who

Is Georgia Starting To See Chechnya Moscow’s Way?

Georgia's new government under President Mikheil Saakashvili may be tilting toward Russia on Chechnya-related issues in order to win concessions in other areas. In early May, the Paris-based International Federation

Gref Predicts Economic Miracles In Chechnya …

By putting German Gref - head of the federal Ministry for Economic Development and Trade - in charge of Chechnya's economic restoration, Putin is raising expectations that will be difficult

Basaev Claims Responsibility For Kadyrov Death

A week after the Kadyrov assassination, terrorist warlord Shamil Basaev claimed responsibility for it. During the night of May 16-17, the extremist rebel website Kavkaz-center published what it said was

Briefs

--LAWYERS FOR MURDERED CHECHENS WILL APPEAL ACQUITTAL OF ACCUSED As expected, the recent not-guilty verdict for four officers of Russia's military intelligence accused of murdering six Chechen civilians (see Chechnya

Chechnya After The Assassination: An Analysis

Russian President Vladimir Putin has turned out to be a victim of his own success in Chechnya. Having systematically removed from the political game all possible rivals to Akhmad Kadyrov

Maskhadov Issues Statement

Chechenpress, one of the organs of Chechnya's underground separatist government, published the following statement from President Aslan Maskhadov on May 10: "In connection with the terrorist act at the Dynamo

Rights Group Reports On Kidnappings

From the beginning of the year 2004 until the end of April, some 136 people were kidnapped in Chechnya, Dmitry Grushkin of the human rights center Memorial told Radio Liberty

Drive To Capture Maskhadov Comes To Naught

It appears that both federal troops and Akhmad Kadyrov's forces failed in a special, intensive push to capture Aslan Maskhadov as a trophy for Vladimir Putin's second inauguration. If they

Kremlin Pressures Human Rights Advocates

Now that the Putin administration has largely neutralized opposition in the parliament and the broadcast news media, the next logical step is to cripple - or at least discredit -

Briefs

--RUSSIAN MOTHERS GROUP IS RECOGNIZED The Organization of Soldiers' Mothers is to receive an Aachen Peace Prize on September 1 for its work in defending the human rights of Russian

Russian Pilots Likely To Go Unpunished

Chances are fading that the Russian aviator or aviators who killed six young Chechen children and their mother on April 8 (see Chechnya Weekly, April 21) will face serious penalties.

Former Maskhadov Defense Chief Speaks To Media

On April 28 the Strana.ru website published a detailed interview with Magomed Khanbiev, the former minister of defense of the underground Maskhadov government. (In previous reports in the Russian media

Briefs

--DISAGREEMENT OVER HUMAN RIGHTS POST Vladimir Lukin, the Putin administration's new human rights chief (who is also a former ambassador to Washington), recently recommended that Moscow revive the position of

Link Between Separatists And Al-qaeda Discounted

A startling admission can be found buried deep within a recent interview given by a high ranking official of the administration of Akhmad Kadyrov. The official, Deputy Premier Adlan Magomadov,

Some German States Deporting Chechen Refugees

The German human rights organization Gesellschaft fuer bedrohte Voelker ("Society for Threatened Peoples;" website www.gfbv.de) warned in an April 22 statement that the authorities in several German states are moving

Russian Armed Forces Pressured Over Atrocity

In what can only be interpreted as a strong new confirmation of his confidence in the Putin administration's backing for his continued rule in Chechnya, Akhmad Kadyrov has identified and

Qatar Assassinations Linked To Past Kgb Practices

Aleksandr Litvinenko, the former officer of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) now living in the United Kingdom, shared with the pro-separatist "Chechenpress" website his thoughts about the current assassination

Putin Official Criticizes Kadyrov’s Effectiveness

Despite Akhmad Kadyrov's striking success in winning what amounts to monopolistic personal control over Chechnya's internal political institutions, he still has strong opponents in the federal power structures. Last week

Reports Question Death Of Chechen Prisoner

Lecha Islamov, a Chechen gangster and former rebel guerrilla commander now serving a ten-year prison sentence, died on April 21 after having been hospitalized in Volgograd with a mysterious illness,

Claims Of Imminent Rebel Demise Appear Exaggerated

The Kadyrov administration is issuing increasingly self-confident predictions about the imminent demise of the rebel guerrillas. These predictions might come back to haunt them in the future if Russia and

Maskhadov’s Importance Is Underscored

"Neutralizing a [separatist] field commander - whether by killing him in battle or by persuading him to surrender - gives [the federal forces] a result which can be shown triumphantly

Briefs

--LAST REFUGEE CAMP BEING DISMANTLED The long foreseen and feared dismantling of the last refugee camp in Ingushetia has now begun. According to an April 21 report from Prava cheloveka

Federal Soldiers Battle For Combat Pay

Dissident journalists in Russia have written a number of articles about federal soldiers being denied the combat pay to which they are legally entitled for having served in Chechnya and

Air Attack Kills Chechen Woman And Children

A Russian aircraft killed a Chechen woman and five of her children in the southern highland village of Rigakhoy, according to a report distributed on April 13 by the Russian

Waiting For Maskhadov

Hints continue to emerge from the administration of Akhmad Kadyrov about the possible “voluntary surrender” of Aslan Maskhadov, the head of Chechnya’s underground separatist government. Andrei Riskin noted in the

Tempers Cool In Qatar Assassination Row

Last weekend brought another indication that Russia and Qatar may be able to negotiate a settlement in their dispute over the alleged involvement of Russian intelligence operatives in the assassination

French Journalist Examines The Chechen Tragedy

The distinguished French journalist Sophie Shihab has written regularly about Chechnya for Le Monde and other periodicals since well before the outbreak of the first Chechen war a decade ago.

Media Censorship Grows In Ingushetia

The April 15 issue of Novaya gazeta included a long article by Anna Politkovskaya about the deteriorating situation in Ingushetia, including Soviet-style censorship of the local mass media. She found

Kadyrov And Gazprom Settle Dispute

The dispute between the Kadryov administration and Gazprom, Russia’s powerful natural gas monopoly, has finally been settled, according to an April 14 article by Aleseik Grivach in Vremya novostei. Kadyrov

Briefs

--REBELS ARMS THEMSELVES An April 15 report by Umalt Dudayev for the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting (website www.iwpr.net ) shed light on the use of cheap, homemade

Russian Security Agency Reportedly Targeting Widows

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB; the renamed KGB) appears now to be using a new, stunningly self-defeating tactic to try to forestall possible terrorist attacks: kidnapping widows of Chechen men

Video Images Suggest Russian Atrocities In Chechnya

Federal forces first betrayed, then tortured and murdered separatist guerrillas in the Urus-Martan district southwest of Grozny after the guerrillas surrendered some four years ago in response to an offer

Trial Of Russian Agents Begins In Qatar

On April 11 began the long awaited trial of two Russian intelligence agents charged with murdering a Chechen extremist in Qatar. According to QNA, the Persian Gulf sheikhdom's state controlled

Aid Worker’s Release Leaves Unanswered Questions

A volunteer for the international medical charity Medecins sans Frontieres ("Doctors Without Borders") was freed last weekend some 607 days after his kidnapping in Dagestan. Arjan Erkel is now safely

Briefs

--STUDY HIGHLIGHTS ETHNIC PREJUDICES A Russian citizen who specializes in studying the country's ethnic minorities has found disturbing new evidence of ethnic-Russian chauvinism even in the country's mainstream news media.

Correction

CORRECTION: The March 31 issue of Chechnya Weekly confused two different demonstrations in Moscow during the Brezhnev years, each of which in its own way was a milestone in the

Criticism Directed At Street Demonstration Bill

Last week the federal Duma gave preliminary approval to a controversial bill that would limit the rights of Russians to organize street demonstrations such as those that have taken place

Russian Forces Face Upsurge In Fighting

Contrary to the reassuring news that most Russians are receiving via the state television networks--now tightly controlled by the Putin administration--the arrival of spring has brought a sharp increase in

Briefs:

--CONTROVERSIAL FILM NIXED A film festival in Chicago has unexpectedly canceled plans to include Russian director Andrei Nekrasov's documentary about the 1999 apartment bombings that helped Vladimir Putin justify the

Kadyrov And The Consolidation Of Power In Chechnya

Though the Kremlin's official line continues to be an unwavering refusal to negotiate with Aslan Maskhadov, Akhmad Kadyrov's son and the head of his security service said some surprisingly pleasant

Integration Of Islamic Clergy Is Urged

Akhmad Kadyrov, who also continues to seek a role in shaping nationwide policies far beyond the borders of Chechnya, appealed on March 26 for the creation of a single, integrated

Ingushetia Buffeted Anew By Chechen Hostilities

In what may be the final push to close the last remaining camps for refugees in Ingushetia, the Kadyrov administration's security agencies have apparently blocked off the Sputnik and Satsita

Court Cases Highlight Russian Abuses In Chechnya

The Presidium of Russia's Supreme Court has upheld the ten-year prison sentence received by Yury Budanov, the Russian tank officer convicted last year of killing an 18-year-old Chechen woman. According

Poll Shows Mixed Views Toward Chechnya

Russia's leading independent pollster, Yury Levada, has found that despite the Russian media's increasingly monolithic line on Chechnya, willingness among ordinary Russians to accept independence for the southern republic has

Briefs

--GENERAL ADMITS CONTINUING DIFFICULTIES Less than two weeks after Putin's triumphant reelection, a key Russian general in effect admitted that the military situation in Chechnya is not nearly as hopeful

No Letup In Pressure On Refugees

According to an Interfax report on March 17, the federal, Chechen and Ingush authorities are continuing with their plans to dismantle the remaining refugee camps in Ingushetia, and human rights

Deportation Demonstrators Under Duress

As expected, a local municipal court in Moscow has fined Lev Ponomarev, director of the For Human Rights movement, for organizing an unsanctioned demonstration last month to mark the sixtieth

Battle Intensifies For Control Of Oil Resources

Now that Russian President Vladimir Putin has solidified his power--if not his legitimacy--with his stage managed reelection, he has the opportunity to make some fundamental changes in his Chechnya policies.

Chechnya Suffers Information Blockade

Aslan Doukaev, director of the North Caucasus service of Radio Liberty, has provided some revealing observations about Chechens' current reading habits in an interview published in the March/April issue of

Briefs

--KIDNAPPINGS ARE HIGHLIGHTED From the beginning of January through mid-March at least sixty-three Chechen civilians have been kidnapped, according to the Moscow-based human rights center Memorial. Of that total, twenty-six

Correction

The March 3 issue of Chechnya Weekly mistakenly referred to our contributor Zaindi Choltaev as "a former official of the separatist Maskhadov government." In fact, Mr. Choltaev never served under

No Letup In Pressure On Chechen Refugees

More details have emerged about the March 6 raid on the Satsita refugee camp in Ingushetia (see Chechnya Weekly, March 10). According to a March 10 article in Nezavisimaya gazeta,

Russian Security Agencies Accused In Kidnapping

In a sensational accusation, the head of the international medical charity Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) charged on March 10 that Russian security agencies were involved in the 2002

Moscow Pressures Un Over Chechen Conflict

The credibility of the United Nations is on the line as the international body faces pressure from the Russian Federation to remove the phrase "armed conflict" from a report on

Khambiev Surrender Seen As Heavy Blow To Maskhadov

The coincidence seems just a bit too perfect: Precisely during the last week before Russia's March 14 presidential election, several key leaders of Aslan Maskhadov's underground separatist government were reported

Police Raids On Mosques Are Denounced

At a March 11 press conference in Moscow, representatives of various religious minorities denounced heavy handed police raids on several mosques in the Russian capital that had taken place two

Deadly Firefights Continue

Talk of "normalization" continues in Chechnya and neighboring regions, but so does the fighting and dying. Two police officers in the Stavropol province of southern Russia were killed in firefights

Minister For Maskhadov Government Surrenders

Pro-Moscow security agencies in Chechnya won a major victory on March 7 with the surrender of Magomed Khambiev, minister of defense in the underground separatist government of Aslan Maskhadov. Many,

Election Approach Intensifies Pressures On Refugees

With Russian President Vladimir Putin's expected reelection triumph just days away--and looking more and more like the October 2003 pseudo-election of Akhmad Kadyrov--the Russian authorities are further intensifying their pressure

Chechen Connection To Zarqawi Is Denied

Vague reports in the western media about Islamic militants leaving Chechnya to fight against U.S. troops and their allies in Iraq--supposedly under the command of the Jordanian militant Abu Musab

Standoff Continues Between Russia And Qatar

Moscow's attempts to win the release of two Russian intelligence officers imprisoned in Qatar remained stalled as of March 8. According to a March 6 article in Gazeta.ru, the Persian

U.s. Report Criticizes Kremlin Chechnya Policy

The U.S. State Department's latest annual report on human rights around the world, released on February 25 and available on the department's website, www.state.gov, included tough criticisms of kidnappings in

Briefs

--KICKBACKS TO KADYROV Requesting anonymity, several members of the Kadyrov administration's police have told Timur Aliev of Prague Watchdog that they have to pay substantial kickbacks to Ramzan Kadyrov, head

Chechen Diplomat Foresees Growing Hatred Of Russians

Yury Shchekochikhin, the antiwar journalist and Duma member who died last year under mysterious circumstances (see Chechnya Weekly, July 10, 2003), preserved this haunting quotation from a conversation of his

Helsinki Group Calls For Election Annulment

The International Helsinki Group has called on the Russian authorities to annul the results of last October's presidential election in Chechnya. According to a February 24 report on the website

Questions Swirl About Yandarbiev Assassination

Russia's efforts to increase its bargaining power in a dispute with Qatar over two Russian intelligence officers imprisoned in the Persian Gulf Sheikhdom seem to have turned into a clumsy

Prime Minister’s Non-return Is Confirmed

Akhmad Kadyrov for the first time confirmed publicly on February 16 what many Chechnya-watchers already had considered obvious: Anatoly Popov will not be returning to his post as the Kadyrov

Pressures Increase On Refugees In Ingushetia

Russian and Ingush authorities have become increasingly brazen this month in using utilities cut-offs to pressure refugees in Ingushetia to return to Chechnya. On February 20 the UN High Commissioner

Kadyrov Forces Implicated In Kidnappings

The masked gunmen who conduct state sanctioned kidnappings in Chechnya often arrive in armored vehicles; this has been considered to be proof that they are federal servicemen. But according to

Little “normalization” Evident In Grozny

Naidenov also brought back from Grozny some revealing comments on the degree of "normalization" in that city. The city's streets are still deserted after dark, except for the brand new

Anniversary Goes Unobserved In Grozny

The Kadyrov administration made a deliberate choice not to hold any public, official observation of the deportation's 60th anniversary, according to a February 21 article by Timur Aliev for the

Elites Still Free To Criticize Kadyrov

Radical changes in the Putin administration's Chechnya policies are unlikely in the few remaining weeks before next month's presidential election, but one can make certain deductions from the way various

“chechenization” Coming To Russia?

"Chechenization" should be used not just as a term for the Putin administration's reliance on Kadyrov, suggests Moskovskie novosti commentator Dmitry Oreshkin, but as a metaphor for what Putin's policies

Misuse Of Chechen Aid Funding Gets Attention

Subsidies from the central government in Moscow for the restoration of Chechnya's social and economic infrastructure are being used to pay suppliers and contractors without any competitive bidding process. A

Briefs

--LIMITED RETURN FOR OSCE TO CHECHNYA The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe may be about to reopen its office in Chechnya--but will have difficulty reviving its human rights

Kadyrov Continues To Jockey For Power In Chechnya

Akhmad Kadyrov continues to pursue the transfer of command authority from the Russian military to himself. According to a February 17 article by Vladlen Maksimov in Novye izvestia, Kadyrov told

Rumors Swirl About Yandarbiev Assassination

Was it the Russian secret services who assassinated the former acting president of Chechnya’s separatist government in his Persian Gulf refuge, or his former allies in the separatist movement? Each

Dunlop Article On Dubrovka Now Available In Russian

Chechnya Weekly readers whose primary language is Russian—or who at least read Russian better than English—will be interested to know that John Dunlop’s long, provocative analysis of the October 2002

Briefs

—POPOV TO RUN FOR GOVERNOR? A new job outside Chechnya may have been lined up for Anatoly Popov, now clearly on his way out as the Kadyrov administration’s prime minister

Questions Arise Over Death Count

Several reports in the Russian media have suggested another parallel between Friday's subway bombing and the 2002 Dubrovka tragedy--disinformation about casualties. The official figure, which remained unchanged over the weekend,

Un Official Bemoans Refugee Situation

The Chechnya to which Russian authorities want Chechen refugees to return is still in a profound humanitarian crisis. That is the belief of a high ranking United Nations official who

Many Russians See Little Hope For Peace In Chechnya

The Russians most pessimistic about the prospects for real peace in Chechnya are those with the highest incomes and educations--and also, strikingly, soldiers. Novye izvestia reported on February 3 the

Prisons Remain Deadly Places For Chechen Males

Most male civilians abducted by federal forces in Chechnya are now taken to pits located at military bases, according to a February 5 report by Chechen journalist Murad Magomadov for

Profile Of A Female Suicide Bomber

The phenomenon of women suicide bombers is one of the most poorly understood of the current Chechen war--mainly because it is such a genuine novelty. Male Chechen guerrillas stand in

Briefs

--SECURITY SWEEP LEADS TO BLOODSHED Police of the Kadyrov administration came under rebel gunfire last weekend as they conducted a "zachistka" security sweep in eastern Chechnya's Kurchaloy district. An administration

Russian Military Getting Help From Washington?

Is the United States government providing reconnaissance and intelligence support to Moscow in its war in Chechnya? According to an article by Thomas Omestad in the just-published February 9 issue

Kremlin Threatens Human Rights Activist

On January 28 the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) took another step back toward the tactics of the Brezhnev era by summoning Aleksandr Podrabinek, editor in chief of the human

Danish Journalist Denied Visa

In another escalation of pressure against independent-minded journalists, Russia has denied a visa to a Danish reporter. The international press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders issued a statement declaring its

Parliamentarians Welcome Zakaev In Berlin

In a stunning diplomatic and political stroke, parliamentary members from Germany's ruling party last week gave Akhmed Zakaev a high visibility platform for presenting the views of the underground Maskhadov

“chechenization” Policy Raising Tensions

The Putin administration's policies of "Chechenization" are not only failing to pacify the republic, but actually seem to be causing an intensification of violence. Last weekend a daring raid by

Un And Moscow Spar Over Refugees

Jan Egeland, the United Nations undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs, was in Moscow and Chechnya last week. According to a report aired on January 26 by the radio station Ekho

Dissident Lawyer Faces New Charges

In a significant escalation of the charges against the dissident ex-FSB officer Mikhail Trepashkin, the Russian authorities are now accusing him of espionage. An article by Igor Korolkov in last

Popov Claims Still To Support Kadyrov

Another sign that the pro-Kadyrov faction within the Putin administration continues to enjoy the upper hand over the ever-grumbling anti-Kadyrov faction came in the January 30 issue of Nezavisimaya gazeta.

Anti-kadyrovites Highlight Misuse Of Aid Funding

Frustrated though the Putin administration's anti-Kadyrovites may be at present, they are still working to build the case for major changes in Moscow's Chechnya policy. In the near future the

Chechen Representatives Are Profiled

In last week's issue of Moskovskie novosti, Sanobar Shermatova provided sketches of Chechnya's new representatives in the federal parliament. Chechnya Weekly has already described the careers of Akhmar Zavgaev and

Russians Send Mixed Message On Putin’s War

Vladimir Putin is genuinely popular among Russia's voters, often not because of his policies but in spite of them. Opinion pollsters have noted a recurring pattern: Russians are discontented about

Chechens Continue To Seek Higher Education

The January 30 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education (website http://chronicle.com/) has an article by Byron MacWilliams on the struggle to keep university studies alive in Grozny. In a

Correction

Because of an editorial error, the meaning of a sentence that appeared in last week's Chechnya Weekly was significantly and improperly altered. The error occurred in the penultimate paragraph of

Questions Raised About Un Education Aid

UN-watchers now have a new reason to wonder whether UNESCO--the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization--is making good use of the funds collected from the taxpayers of its member

Pressure Intensifies To Close Refugee Camps

Human rights activists are increasingly pessimistic about the chances of stopping the federal, Chechen and Ingush authorities from closing Ingushetia's camps for Chechen refugees. In a January 26 article for

Kadyrov Maneuvers For More Influential Role

During a single press conference in Moscow on January 19, Akhmad Kadyrov publicly called for two sweeping constitutional changes, either of which would sharply accelerate the current authoritarian trend in

Saudi Arabia And Russia: A Budding Rapprochement?

Was the Kadyrov expedition to Saudi Arabia a sudden breakthrough, or simply the formal confirmation of a long-ripening rapprochement between the desert kingdom and Moscow? In a January 21 article

Kremlin Rights Observer Is Removed From Post

On January 22, Vladimir Putin relieved Abdul Sultygov from his position as the Kremlin's special representative for human rights in Chechnya. Independent observers see two possible results: Either the human

Thoughts On Dubrovka

The long article on the Dubrovka hostage taking incident by former Chechnya Weekly editor John Dunlop, published recently as a three-part series by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, has stirred considerable

Threat Mounts To Chechen Refugees

Whatever disagreements there may be either within Russia or abroad about the political future of Chechnya, one would hope that all could agree on protecting civilian refugees, including women and

Security Agencies Said To Be Well Infiltrated

How many servicemen in the Kadyrov administration's security agencies are double agents--that is, separatist rebels operating under cover? A January 14 article by Yelena Shesternina in Russky kurier suggested that

Film Explores 1999 Apartment Bombings

As this issue of Chechnya Weekly goes to press, attendees at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival in Utah are discussing the world debut there of a new documentary film entitled

Lawyer Trepashkin Had Taken Few Precautions

Dissident lawyer and former KGB/FSB officer Mikhail Trepashkin, jailed after he raised questions about the 1999 apartment bombings and the 2002 tragedy at the Dubrovka theater, apparently took few precautions

Chechen Strongman As Foreign Emissary

Akhmad Kadyrov's late-January visit to Saudi Arabia, like his trip to New York and Washington last year, shows that he still enjoys Vladimir Putin's strong support not only within Chechnya

Elections Unlikely Until Fall

Though Kadyrov can presently count on a tame parliament within Chechnya--as Putin can in Russia as a whole--he seems to dislike even the external forms of parliamentary government with its

Candidates Seek To Focus Spotlight On Controversies

Rightist presidential candidate Irina Khakamada launched her campaign this week with a surprisingly strong attack on the incumbent Putin over Chechnya. Raising issues that the Kremlin clearly wants to keep

Humanitarian Organizations Could Be Ousted…

The administration of Akhmad Kadyrov is now hinting that international humanitarian organizations may be forbidden to continue operating in Chechnya or Ingushetia. According to a January 10 report by Itar-Tass,

…as Refugees In Ingushetia Are Pressured

Indeed, as had been predicted by several human rights activists, pressures are now intensifying on Chechen refugees to leave the shelters that have housed them in Ingushetia. According to a

Popov Not To Return To Chechnya?

In a major scoop, the Moscow daily Nezavisimaya gazeta finds that Kadyrov has now won the final round of his long campaign to see to it that every major political

Police Said Still To Be Under Federal Control

The Russian military will not give up without a fight to counter Akhmad Kadyrov's push to place all police forces within Chechnya under the control of his own administration. In

Filling Chechnya’s Seats In Parliament

As political life in Moscow revives with the end of the December-January holiday season, a leading topic of discussion among Chechnya-watchers is Kadyrov's surprise appointment of Umar Dzhabrailov as one

Lawyer Wins Improved Prison Treatment

Dissident Russian lawyer and former KGB/FSB officer Mikhail Trepashkin has been transferred to a prison cell with more normal living conditions. But a Moscow military court has rejected his defense

Speculation On Putin’s Chechnya Policies

If Vladimir Putin does not make major changes in his Chechnya policies after his expected reelection in March, many political pundits will be embarrassed. Among them is Aleksei Malashenko of

Extremism Said To Be Growing In Chechnya

Many observers have noted that Chechnya's traditionally flexible, syncretistic approach to its Islamic heritage is suffering inroads from extremists as the war hardens attitudes. Apparently this is now happening not

Briefs

--ATTACKS INCREASING IN CHECHNYA? Contrary to the image of "normalization" projected by the Kremlin, the number of rebel attacks in Chechnya classified by the Kadyrov administration as "terrorist" rose by

Maskhadov Wounded In Firefight?

Moskovsky komsomolets reported on January 6--quoting an unnamed separatist website--that Aslan Maskhadov, president of Chechnya's underground separatist government, had been wounded in a firefight with federal troops and Chechen police.

Chechnya Conference Video Available

A video of the December 10 conference "Catastrophe in Chechnya: Escaping the Quagmire," is available on the website of the American Enterprise Institute at: http://app2.streampipe.com/esp1204/servlet/tc?cn=aei&c=10162&s=20270&e=2702&&espmt=2 The conference was cosponsored by

Dzhabrailov Named To Federation Council

Akhmad Kadyrov has appointed Umar Dzhabrailov, one of the wealthiest members of Moscow's Chechen community, to represent the republic in the Federation Council, the upper house of the federal parliament.

Kadyrov Intensifies Consolidation Efforts

The end of 2002 saw Akhmad Kadyrov trying to complete the consolidation of his control over the pro-Moscow government apparatus in Chechnya. As of the deadline for this issue of

Dissident Lawyer Said To Endure Prison Abuses

Mikhail Trepashkin, the dissident lawyer and former FSB colonel arrested for his extensive activities challenging Moscow's official versions of events related to the Chechen wars (see Chechnya Weekly, December 15),

Chechnya Vote-rigging Highlighted Anew

The rigging of elections in Akhmad Kadyrov's Chechnya has long since ceased to be a surprise. The latest example: Russia's election authorities now admit that the number of votes counted

Membership Has Its Privileges…

The most useful document for a Chechen trying to get through a military checkpoint as quickly as possible is a membership card in the pro-Putin United Russia party. That was

…an Ominous Calm In Grozny

Lokshina found Grozny to be genuinely more peaceful than it had been two months earlier: "The night was quiet, almost without gunfire....no comparison with October." She saw this as a

Forgotten Episodes

Relations between Moscow and Chechnya have been so painful for most of the last two centuries that we too easily forget that there has been a positive side. At the

Local Officials Assassinated

The Moscow daily Nezavisimaya gazeta, usually skeptical of the official line on Chechnya, accused rebel guerrillas of assassinating mayors and other local district heads in an article published on December

Unification Drive Is Blocked

Authorities in Ingushetia succeeded on December 21 in thwarting a mass demonstration against the proposed unification of that republic with Chechnya, according to a December 23 report by Timur Aliev

Briefs

--CONTROVERSIAL BOOK IS CONFISCATED The FSB and Moscow police have confiscated several thousand copies of Aleksandr Litvinenko's book, "The FSB Explodes Russia," according to Aleksandr Podrabinek, editor in chief of

Maskhadov Wounded In Firefight?

Moskovsky komsomolets reported on January 6--quoting an unnamed separatist website--that Aslan Maskhadov, president of Chechnya's underground separatist government, had been wounded in a firefight with federal troops and Chechen police.

Chechnya Conference Video Available

A video of the December 10 conference "Catastrophe in Chechnya: Escaping the Quagmire," is available on the website of the American Enterprise Institute at: http://app2.streampipe.com/esp1204/servlet/tc?cn=aei&c=10162&s=20270&e=2702&&espmt=2 The conference was cosponsored by

Dzhabrailov Named To Federation Council

Akhmad Kadyrov has appointed Umar Dzhabrailov, one of the wealthiest members of Moscow's Chechen community, to represent the republic in the Federation Council, the upper house of the federal parliament.

Kadyrov Intensifies Consolidation Efforts

The end of 2002 saw Akhmad Kadyrov trying to complete the consolidation of his control over the pro-Moscow government apparatus in Chechnya. As of the deadline for this issue of

Dissident Lawyer Said To Endure Prison Abuses

Mikhail Trepashkin, the dissident lawyer and former FSB colonel arrested for his extensive activities challenging Moscow's official versions of events related to the Chechen wars (see Chechnya Weekly, December 15),

Chechnya Vote-rigging Highlighted Anew

The rigging of elections in Akhmad Kadyrov's Chechnya has long since ceased to be a surprise. The latest example: Russia's election authorities now admit that the number of votes counted

Membership Has Its Privileges…

The most useful document for a Chechen trying to get through a military checkpoint as quickly as possible is a membership card in the pro-Putin United Russia party. That was

…an Ominous Calm In Grozny

Lokshina found Grozny to be genuinely more peaceful than it had been two months earlier: "The night was quiet, almost without gunfire....no comparison with October." She saw this as a

Forgotten Episodes

Relations between Moscow and Chechnya have been so painful for most of the last two centuries that we too easily forget that there has been a positive side. At the

Local Officials Assassinated

The Moscow daily Nezavisimaya gazeta, usually skeptical of the official line on Chechnya, accused rebel guerrillas of assassinating mayors and other local district heads in an article published on December

Unification Drive Is Blocked

Authorities in Ingushetia succeeded on December 21 in thwarting a mass demonstration against the proposed unification of that republic with Chechnya, according to a December 23 report by Timur Aliev

Briefs

--CONTROVERSIAL BOOK IS CONFISCATED The FSB and Moscow police have confiscated several thousand copies of Aleksandr Litvinenko's book, "The FSB Explodes Russia," according to Aleksandr Podrabinek, editor in chief of

Humanitarian Organizations Could Be Ousted…

The administration of Akhmad Kadyrov is now hinting that international humanitarian organizations may be forbidden to continue operating in Chechnya or Ingushetia. According to a January 10 report by Itar-Tass,

…as Refugees In Ingushetia Are Pressured

Indeed, as had been predicted by several human rights activists, pressures are now intensifying on Chechen refugees to leave the shelters that have housed them in Ingushetia. According to a

Popov Not To Return To Chechnya?

In a major scoop, the Moscow daily Nezavisimaya gazeta finds that Kadyrov has now won the final round of his long campaign to see to it that every major political

Police Said Still To Be Under Federal Control

The Russian military will not give up without a fight to counter Akhmad Kadyrov's push to place all police forces within Chechnya under the control of his own administration. In

Filling Chechnya’s Seats In Parliament

As political life in Moscow revives with the end of the December-January holiday season, a leading topic of discussion among Chechnya-watchers is Kadyrov's surprise appointment of Umar Dzhabrailov as one

Lawyer Wins Improved Prison Treatment

Dissident Russian lawyer and former KGB/FSB officer Mikhail Trepashkin has been transferred to a prison cell with more normal living conditions. But a Moscow military court has rejected his defense

Speculation On Putin’s Chechnya Policies

If Vladimir Putin does not make major changes in his Chechnya policies after his expected reelection in March, many political pundits will be embarrassed. Among them is Aleksei Malashenko of

Extremism Said To Be Growing In Chechnya

Many observers have noted that Chechnya's traditionally flexible, syncretistic approach to its Islamic heritage is suffering inroads from extremists as the war hardens attitudes. Apparently this is now happening not

Briefs

--ATTACKS INCREASING IN CHECHNYA? Contrary to the image of "normalization" projected by the Kremlin, the number of rebel attacks in Chechnya classified by the Kadyrov administration as "terrorist" rose by

Threat Mounts To Chechen Refugees

Whatever disagreements there may be either within Russia or abroad about the political future of Chechnya, one would hope that all could agree on protecting civilian refugees, including women and

Security Agencies Said To Be Well Infiltrated

How many servicemen in the Kadyrov administration's security agencies are double agents--that is, separatist rebels operating under cover? A January 14 article by Yelena Shesternina in Russky kurier suggested that

Film Explores 1999 Apartment Bombings

As this issue of Chechnya Weekly goes to press, attendees at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival in Utah are discussing the world debut there of a new documentary film entitled

Lawyer Trepashkin Had Taken Few Precautions

Dissident lawyer and former KGB/FSB officer Mikhail Trepashkin, jailed after he raised questions about the 1999 apartment bombings and the 2002 tragedy at the Dubrovka theater, apparently took few precautions

Chechen Strongman As Foreign Emissary

Akhmad Kadyrov's late-January visit to Saudi Arabia, like his trip to New York and Washington last year, shows that he still enjoys Vladimir Putin's strong support not only within Chechnya

Elections Unlikely Until Fall

Though Kadyrov can presently count on a tame parliament within Chechnya--as Putin can in Russia as a whole--he seems to dislike even the external forms of parliamentary government with its

Candidates Seek To Focus Spotlight On Controversies

Rightist presidential candidate Irina Khakamada launched her campaign this week with a surprisingly strong attack on the incumbent Putin over Chechnya. Raising issues that the Kremlin clearly wants to keep

Questions Raised About Un Education Aid

UN-watchers now have a new reason to wonder whether UNESCO--the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization--is making good use of the funds collected from the taxpayers of its member

Pressure Intensifies To Close Refugee Camps

Human rights activists are increasingly pessimistic about the chances of stopping the federal, Chechen and Ingush authorities from closing Ingushetia's camps for Chechen refugees. In a January 26 article for

Kadyrov Maneuvers For More Influential Role

During a single press conference in Moscow on January 19, Akhmad Kadyrov publicly called for two sweeping constitutional changes, either of which would sharply accelerate the current authoritarian trend in

Saudi Arabia And Russia: A Budding Rapprochement?

Was the Kadyrov expedition to Saudi Arabia a sudden breakthrough, or simply the formal confirmation of a long-ripening rapprochement between the desert kingdom and Moscow? In a January 21 article

Kremlin Rights Observer Is Removed From Post

On January 22, Vladimir Putin relieved Abdul Sultygov from his position as the Kremlin's special representative for human rights in Chechnya. Independent observers see two possible results: Either the human

Thoughts On Dubrovka

The long article on the Dubrovka hostage taking incident by former Chechnya Weekly editor John Dunlop, published recently as a three-part series by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, has stirred considerable

Russian Military Getting Help From Washington?

Is the United States government providing reconnaissance and intelligence support to Moscow in its war in Chechnya? According to an article by Thomas Omestad in the just-published February 9 issue

Kremlin Threatens Human Rights Activist

On January 28 the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) took another step back toward the tactics of the Brezhnev era by summoning Aleksandr Podrabinek, editor in chief of the human

Danish Journalist Denied Visa

In another escalation of pressure against independent-minded journalists, Russia has denied a visa to a Danish reporter. The international press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders issued a statement declaring its

Parliamentarians Welcome Zakaev In Berlin

In a stunning diplomatic and political stroke, parliamentary members from Germany's ruling party last week gave Akhmed Zakaev a high visibility platform for presenting the views of the underground Maskhadov

“chechenization” Policy Raising Tensions

The Putin administration's policies of "Chechenization" are not only failing to pacify the republic, but actually seem to be causing an intensification of violence. Last weekend a daring raid by

Un And Moscow Spar Over Refugees

Jan Egeland, the United Nations undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs, was in Moscow and Chechnya last week. According to a report aired on January 26 by the radio station Ekho

Dissident Lawyer Faces New Charges

In a significant escalation of the charges against the dissident ex-FSB officer Mikhail Trepashkin, the Russian authorities are now accusing him of espionage. An article by Igor Korolkov in last

Popov Claims Still To Support Kadyrov

Another sign that the pro-Kadyrov faction within the Putin administration continues to enjoy the upper hand over the ever-grumbling anti-Kadyrov faction came in the January 30 issue of Nezavisimaya gazeta.

Anti-kadyrovites Highlight Misuse Of Aid Funding

Frustrated though the Putin administration's anti-Kadyrovites may be at present, they are still working to build the case for major changes in Moscow's Chechnya policy. In the near future the

Chechen Representatives Are Profiled

In last week's issue of Moskovskie novosti, Sanobar Shermatova provided sketches of Chechnya's new representatives in the federal parliament. Chechnya Weekly has already described the careers of Akhmar Zavgaev and

Russians Send Mixed Message On Putin’s War

Vladimir Putin is genuinely popular among Russia's voters, often not because of his policies but in spite of them. Opinion pollsters have noted a recurring pattern: Russians are discontented about

Chechens Continue To Seek Higher Education

The January 30 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education (website http://chronicle.com/) has an article by Byron MacWilliams on the struggle to keep university studies alive in Grozny. In a

Correction

Because of an editorial error, the meaning of a sentence that appeared in last week's Chechnya Weekly was significantly and improperly altered. The error occurred in the penultimate paragraph of

Questions Arise Over Death Count

Several reports in the Russian media have suggested another parallel between Friday's subway bombing and the 2002 Dubrovka tragedy--disinformation about casualties. The official figure, which remained unchanged over the weekend,

Un Official Bemoans Refugee Situation

The Chechnya to which Russian authorities want Chechen refugees to return is still in a profound humanitarian crisis. That is the belief of a high ranking United Nations official who

Many Russians See Little Hope For Peace In Chechnya

The Russians most pessimistic about the prospects for real peace in Chechnya are those with the highest incomes and educations--and also, strikingly, soldiers. Novye izvestia reported on February 3 the

Prisons Remain Deadly Places For Chechen Males

Most male civilians abducted by federal forces in Chechnya are now taken to pits located at military bases, according to a February 5 report by Chechen journalist Murad Magomadov for

Profile Of A Female Suicide Bomber

The phenomenon of women suicide bombers is one of the most poorly understood of the current Chechen war--mainly because it is such a genuine novelty. Male Chechen guerrillas stand in

Briefs

--SECURITY SWEEP LEADS TO BLOODSHED Police of the Kadyrov administration came under rebel gunfire last weekend as they conducted a "zachistka" security sweep in eastern Chechnya's Kurchaloy district. An administration

Kadyrov Continues To Jockey For Power In Chechnya

Akhmad Kadyrov continues to pursue the transfer of command authority from the Russian military to himself. According to a February 17 article by Vladlen Maksimov in Novye izvestia, Kadyrov told

Rumors Swirl About Yandarbiev Assassination

Was it the Russian secret services who assassinated the former acting president of Chechnya’s separatist government in his Persian Gulf refuge, or his former allies in the separatist movement? Each

Dunlop Article On Dubrovka Now Available In Russian

Chechnya Weekly readers whose primary language is Russian—or who at least read Russian better than English—will be interested to know that John Dunlop’s long, provocative analysis of the October 2002

Briefs

—POPOV TO RUN FOR GOVERNOR? A new job outside Chechnya may have been lined up for Anatoly Popov, now clearly on his way out as the Kadyrov administration’s prime minister

Prime Minister’s Non-return Is Confirmed

Akhmad Kadyrov for the first time confirmed publicly on February 16 what many Chechnya-watchers already had considered obvious: Anatoly Popov will not be returning to his post as the Kadyrov

Pressures Increase On Refugees In Ingushetia

Russian and Ingush authorities have become increasingly brazen this month in using utilities cut-offs to pressure refugees in Ingushetia to return to Chechnya. On February 20 the UN High Commissioner

Kadyrov Forces Implicated In Kidnappings

The masked gunmen who conduct state sanctioned kidnappings in Chechnya often arrive in armored vehicles; this has been considered to be proof that they are federal servicemen. But according to

Little “normalization” Evident In Grozny

Naidenov also brought back from Grozny some revealing comments on the degree of "normalization" in that city. The city's streets are still deserted after dark, except for the brand new

Anniversary Goes Unobserved In Grozny

The Kadyrov administration made a deliberate choice not to hold any public, official observation of the deportation's 60th anniversary, according to a February 21 article by Timur Aliev for the

Elites Still Free To Criticize Kadyrov

Radical changes in the Putin administration's Chechnya policies are unlikely in the few remaining weeks before next month's presidential election, but one can make certain deductions from the way various

“chechenization” Coming To Russia?

"Chechenization" should be used not just as a term for the Putin administration's reliance on Kadyrov, suggests Moskovskie novosti commentator Dmitry Oreshkin, but as a metaphor for what Putin's policies

Misuse Of Chechen Aid Funding Gets Attention

Subsidies from the central government in Moscow for the restoration of Chechnya's social and economic infrastructure are being used to pay suppliers and contractors without any competitive bidding process. A

Briefs

--LIMITED RETURN FOR OSCE TO CHECHNYA The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe may be about to reopen its office in Chechnya--but will have difficulty reviving its human rights

Federal Soldiers Battle For Combat Pay

Dissident journalists in Russia have written a number of articles about federal soldiers being denied the combat pay to which they are legally entitled for having served in Chechnya and

Chechen Diplomat Foresees Growing Hatred Of Russians

Yury Shchekochikhin, the antiwar journalist and Duma member who died last year under mysterious circumstances (see Chechnya Weekly, July 10, 2003), preserved this haunting quotation from a conversation of his

Helsinki Group Calls For Election Annulment

The International Helsinki Group has called on the Russian authorities to annul the results of last October's presidential election in Chechnya. According to a February 24 report on the website

Questions Swirl About Yandarbiev Assassination

Russia's efforts to increase its bargaining power in a dispute with Qatar over two Russian intelligence officers imprisoned in the Persian Gulf Sheikhdom seem to have turned into a clumsy

Minister For Maskhadov Government Surrenders

Pro-Moscow security agencies in Chechnya won a major victory on March 7 with the surrender of Magomed Khambiev, minister of defense in the underground separatist government of Aslan Maskhadov. Many,

Election Approach Intensifies Pressures On Refugees

With Russian President Vladimir Putin's expected reelection triumph just days away--and looking more and more like the October 2003 pseudo-election of Akhmad Kadyrov--the Russian authorities are further intensifying their pressure

Chechen Connection To Zarqawi Is Denied

Vague reports in the western media about Islamic militants leaving Chechnya to fight against U.S. troops and their allies in Iraq--supposedly under the command of the Jordanian militant Abu Musab

Standoff Continues Between Russia And Qatar

Moscow's attempts to win the release of two Russian intelligence officers imprisoned in Qatar remained stalled as of March 8. According to a March 6 article in Gazeta.ru, the Persian

U.s. Report Criticizes Kremlin Chechnya Policy

The U.S. State Department's latest annual report on human rights around the world, released on February 25 and available on the department's website, www.state.gov, included tough criticisms of kidnappings in

Briefs

--KICKBACKS TO KADYROV Requesting anonymity, several members of the Kadyrov administration's police have told Timur Aliev of Prague Watchdog that they have to pay substantial kickbacks to Ramzan Kadyrov, head

No Letup In Pressure On Chechen Refugees

More details have emerged about the March 6 raid on the Satsita refugee camp in Ingushetia (see Chechnya Weekly, March 10). According to a March 10 article in Nezavisimaya gazeta,

Russian Security Agencies Accused In Kidnapping

In a sensational accusation, the head of the international medical charity Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) charged on March 10 that Russian security agencies were involved in the 2002

Moscow Pressures Un Over Chechen Conflict

The credibility of the United Nations is on the line as the international body faces pressure from the Russian Federation to remove the phrase "armed conflict" from a report on

Khambiev Surrender Seen As Heavy Blow To Maskhadov

The coincidence seems just a bit too perfect: Precisely during the last week before Russia's March 14 presidential election, several key leaders of Aslan Maskhadov's underground separatist government were reported

Police Raids On Mosques Are Denounced

At a March 11 press conference in Moscow, representatives of various religious minorities denounced heavy handed police raids on several mosques in the Russian capital that had taken place two

Deadly Firefights Continue

Talk of "normalization" continues in Chechnya and neighboring regions, but so does the fighting and dying. Two police officers in the Stavropol province of southern Russia were killed in firefights

No Letup In Pressure On Refugees

According to an Interfax report on March 17, the federal, Chechen and Ingush authorities are continuing with their plans to dismantle the remaining refugee camps in Ingushetia, and human rights

Deportation Demonstrators Under Duress

As expected, a local municipal court in Moscow has fined Lev Ponomarev, director of the For Human Rights movement, for organizing an unsanctioned demonstration last month to mark the sixtieth

Battle Intensifies For Control Of Oil Resources

Now that Russian President Vladimir Putin has solidified his power--if not his legitimacy--with his stage managed reelection, he has the opportunity to make some fundamental changes in his Chechnya policies.

Chechnya Suffers Information Blockade

Aslan Doukaev, director of the North Caucasus service of Radio Liberty, has provided some revealing observations about Chechens' current reading habits in an interview published in the March/April issue of

Briefs

--KIDNAPPINGS ARE HIGHLIGHTED From the beginning of January through mid-March at least sixty-three Chechen civilians have been kidnapped, according to the Moscow-based human rights center Memorial. Of that total, twenty-six

Correction

The March 3 issue of Chechnya Weekly mistakenly referred to our contributor Zaindi Choltaev as "a former official of the separatist Maskhadov government." In fact, Mr. Choltaev never served under

Kadyrov And The Consolidation Of Power In Chechnya

Though the Kremlin's official line continues to be an unwavering refusal to negotiate with Aslan Maskhadov, Akhmad Kadyrov's son and the head of his security service said some surprisingly pleasant

Integration Of Islamic Clergy Is Urged

Akhmad Kadyrov, who also continues to seek a role in shaping nationwide policies far beyond the borders of Chechnya, appealed on March 26 for the creation of a single, integrated

Ingushetia Buffeted Anew By Chechen Hostilities

In what may be the final push to close the last remaining camps for refugees in Ingushetia, the Kadyrov administration's security agencies have apparently blocked off the Sputnik and Satsita

Court Cases Highlight Russian Abuses In Chechnya

The Presidium of Russia's Supreme Court has upheld the ten-year prison sentence received by Yury Budanov, the Russian tank officer convicted last year of killing an 18-year-old Chechen woman. According

Poll Shows Mixed Views Toward Chechnya

Russia's leading independent pollster, Yury Levada, has found that despite the Russian media's increasingly monolithic line on Chechnya, willingness among ordinary Russians to accept independence for the southern republic has

Briefs

--GENERAL ADMITS CONTINUING DIFFICULTIES Less than two weeks after Putin's triumphant reelection, a key Russian general in effect admitted that the military situation in Chechnya is not nearly as hopeful

Criticism Directed At Street Demonstration Bill

Last week the federal Duma gave preliminary approval to a controversial bill that would limit the rights of Russians to organize street demonstrations such as those that have taken place

Russian Forces Face Upsurge In Fighting

Contrary to the reassuring news that most Russians are receiving via the state television networks--now tightly controlled by the Putin administration--the arrival of spring has brought a sharp increase in

Briefs:

--CONTROVERSIAL FILM NIXED A film festival in Chicago has unexpectedly canceled plans to include Russian director Andrei Nekrasov's documentary about the 1999 apartment bombings that helped Vladimir Putin justify the

Russian Security Agency Reportedly Targeting Widows

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB; the renamed KGB) appears now to be using a new, stunningly self-defeating tactic to try to forestall possible terrorist attacks: kidnapping widows of Chechen men

Video Images Suggest Russian Atrocities In Chechnya

Federal forces first betrayed, then tortured and murdered separatist guerrillas in the Urus-Martan district southwest of Grozny after the guerrillas surrendered some four years ago in response to an offer

Trial Of Russian Agents Begins In Qatar

On April 11 began the long awaited trial of two Russian intelligence agents charged with murdering a Chechen extremist in Qatar. According to QNA, the Persian Gulf sheikhdom's state controlled

Aid Worker’s Release Leaves Unanswered Questions

A volunteer for the international medical charity Medecins sans Frontieres ("Doctors Without Borders") was freed last weekend some 607 days after his kidnapping in Dagestan. Arjan Erkel is now safely

Briefs

--STUDY HIGHLIGHTS ETHNIC PREJUDICES A Russian citizen who specializes in studying the country's ethnic minorities has found disturbing new evidence of ethnic-Russian chauvinism even in the country's mainstream news media.

Correction

CORRECTION: The March 31 issue of Chechnya Weekly confused two different demonstrations in Moscow during the Brezhnev years, each of which in its own way was a milestone in the

Air Attack Kills Chechen Woman And Children

A Russian aircraft killed a Chechen woman and five of her children in the southern highland village of Rigakhoy, according to a report distributed on April 13 by the Russian

Waiting For Maskhadov

Hints continue to emerge from the administration of Akhmad Kadyrov about the possible “voluntary surrender” of Aslan Maskhadov, the head of Chechnya’s underground separatist government. Andrei Riskin noted in the

Tempers Cool In Qatar Assassination Row

Last weekend brought another indication that Russia and Qatar may be able to negotiate a settlement in their dispute over the alleged involvement of Russian intelligence operatives in the assassination

French Journalist Examines The Chechen Tragedy

The distinguished French journalist Sophie Shihab has written regularly about Chechnya for Le Monde and other periodicals since well before the outbreak of the first Chechen war a decade ago.

Media Censorship Grows In Ingushetia

The April 15 issue of Novaya gazeta included a long article by Anna Politkovskaya about the deteriorating situation in Ingushetia, including Soviet-style censorship of the local mass media. She found

Kadyrov And Gazprom Settle Dispute

The dispute between the Kadryov administration and Gazprom, Russia’s powerful natural gas monopoly, has finally been settled, according to an April 14 article by Aleseik Grivach in Vremya novostei. Kadyrov

Briefs

--REBELS ARMS THEMSELVES An April 15 report by Umalt Dudayev for the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting (website www.iwpr.net ) shed light on the use of cheap, homemade

Link Between Separatists And Al-qaeda Discounted

A startling admission can be found buried deep within a recent interview given by a high ranking official of the administration of Akhmad Kadyrov. The official, Deputy Premier Adlan Magomadov,

Some German States Deporting Chechen Refugees

The German human rights organization Gesellschaft fuer bedrohte Voelker ("Society for Threatened Peoples;" website www.gfbv.de) warned in an April 22 statement that the authorities in several German states are moving

Russian Armed Forces Pressured Over Atrocity

In what can only be interpreted as a strong new confirmation of his confidence in the Putin administration's backing for his continued rule in Chechnya, Akhmad Kadyrov has identified and

Qatar Assassinations Linked To Past Kgb Practices

Aleksandr Litvinenko, the former officer of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) now living in the United Kingdom, shared with the pro-separatist "Chechenpress" website his thoughts about the current assassination

Putin Official Criticizes Kadyrov’s Effectiveness

Despite Akhmad Kadyrov's striking success in winning what amounts to monopolistic personal control over Chechnya's internal political institutions, he still has strong opponents in the federal power structures. Last week

Reports Question Death Of Chechen Prisoner

Lecha Islamov, a Chechen gangster and former rebel guerrilla commander now serving a ten-year prison sentence, died on April 21 after having been hospitalized in Volgograd with a mysterious illness,

Claims Of Imminent Rebel Demise Appear Exaggerated

The Kadyrov administration is issuing increasingly self-confident predictions about the imminent demise of the rebel guerrillas. These predictions might come back to haunt them in the future if Russia and

Maskhadov’s Importance Is Underscored

"Neutralizing a [separatist] field commander - whether by killing him in battle or by persuading him to surrender - gives [the federal forces] a result which can be shown triumphantly

Briefs

--LAST REFUGEE CAMP BEING DISMANTLED The long foreseen and feared dismantling of the last refugee camp in Ingushetia has now begun. According to an April 21 report from Prava cheloveka

Russian Pilots Likely To Go Unpunished

Chances are fading that the Russian aviator or aviators who killed six young Chechen children and their mother on April 8 (see Chechnya Weekly, April 21) will face serious penalties.

Former Maskhadov Defense Chief Speaks To Media

On April 28 the Strana.ru website published a detailed interview with Magomed Khanbiev, the former minister of defense of the underground Maskhadov government. (In previous reports in the Russian media

Briefs

--DISAGREEMENT OVER HUMAN RIGHTS POST Vladimir Lukin, the Putin administration's new human rights chief (who is also a former ambassador to Washington), recently recommended that Moscow revive the position of

Chechnya After The Assassination: An Analysis

Russian President Vladimir Putin has turned out to be a victim of his own success in Chechnya. Having systematically removed from the political game all possible rivals to Akhmad Kadyrov

Maskhadov Issues Statement

Chechenpress, one of the organs of Chechnya's underground separatist government, published the following statement from President Aslan Maskhadov on May 10: "In connection with the terrorist act at the Dynamo

Rights Group Reports On Kidnappings

From the beginning of the year 2004 until the end of April, some 136 people were kidnapped in Chechnya, Dmitry Grushkin of the human rights center Memorial told Radio Liberty

Drive To Capture Maskhadov Comes To Naught

It appears that both federal troops and Akhmad Kadyrov's forces failed in a special, intensive push to capture Aslan Maskhadov as a trophy for Vladimir Putin's second inauguration. If they

Kremlin Pressures Human Rights Advocates

Now that the Putin administration has largely neutralized opposition in the parliament and the broadcast news media, the next logical step is to cripple - or at least discredit -

Briefs

--RUSSIAN MOTHERS GROUP IS RECOGNIZED The Organization of Soldiers' Mothers is to receive an Aachen Peace Prize on September 1 for its work in defending the human rights of Russian

Is Georgia Starting To See Chechnya Moscow’s Way?

Georgia's new government under President Mikheil Saakashvili may be tilting toward Russia on Chechnya-related issues in order to win concessions in other areas. In early May, the Paris-based International Federation

Gref Predicts Economic Miracles In Chechnya …

By putting German Gref - head of the federal Ministry for Economic Development and Trade - in charge of Chechnya's economic restoration, Putin is raising expectations that will be difficult

Basaev Claims Responsibility For Kadyrov Death

A week after the Kadyrov assassination, terrorist warlord Shamil Basaev claimed responsibility for it. During the night of May 16-17, the extremist rebel website Kavkaz-center published what it said was

Briefs

--LAWYERS FOR MURDERED CHECHENS WILL APPEAL ACQUITTAL OF ACCUSED As expected, the recent not-guilty verdict for four officers of Russia's military intelligence accused of murdering six Chechen civilians (see Chechnya

Little Mourning For Kadyrov In North Caucasus

In the mostly Muslim provinces of southern Russia neighboring Chechnya, the reaction to Akhmad Kadyrov's death has been lukewarm. Public statements by officials, memorial services and the like have focused

Chechen Children Increasingly Targets Of Kidnapping

Pro-Moscow forces in Chechnya are increasingly now capturing children and adolescents. Though it cannot be excluded that older male adolescents may be participants in separatist guerrilla units, the usual practice

Trepashkin Sentenced To Four Years In Prison

Mikhail Trepashkin, the dissident ex-FSB lawyer who tried to investigate his former employer's links to the 1999 apartment bombings that gave Vladimir Putin his justification for the second Chechen war,

Briefs

-- THE PROS AND CONS OF STRONGMAN RULE IN CHECHNYA "In the economic context Russia has no interest in seeing the emergence in Chechnya of a strong new leader [who

Chechen Rebels Show New Boldness

Both federal and separatist accounts of the day-to-day course of combat operations in Chechnya are so self-serving that it is extremely difficult to discern the truth behind the propaganda. One

A Ransom Was Apparently Paid For Dutch Msf Worker

Governments and other organizations with “deep pockets” usually deny paying ransoms or bribes, and the terrorists or corrupt bureaucrats who receive such payments also usually prefer to keep them secret.

Fsb Death Squad Operating In Ingushetia?

The May 27 issue of Novaya Gazeta includes a document that claims to be a letter from an FSB officer in southern Russia’s Stavropol region. If authentic, the letter sheds

Eldest Son Of Akhmad Kadyrov Dies

The prevailing opinion among independent observers seems to be that Zelimkhan Kadyrov died of natural causes, despite inconsistent reports from Chechnya’s pro-Moscow administration. Russian news agencies reported mid-evening on May

Briefs

--MILITARY REINFORCEMENTS REPORTEDLY SENT TO CHECHNYA Is the number of new Russian reinforcements in Chechnya even greater than acknowledged by the Kremlin? In addition to new Chechen gunmen for the

Moscow’s Body Count Doesn’t Add Up

Yelena Shesternina is not the first Russian journalist to do it, but she has performed a valuable service by bringing the figures up to date. The correspondent for Russky Kurier

Power Brokers Ponder Whom To Back For Chechen President

Gross manipulation of elections is easy in a completely totalitarian state, but can have self-defeating results in a semi-totalitarian one. The Kremlin’s interference in last autumn’s presidential election for the

Briefs

--WHILE FEWER THAN EVER ARE WILLING TO SERVE… As in other recent years, this spring’s Russian military call-up is seeing massive draft evasion. According to a report broadcast on Radio

Saidullaev Removed From Chechnya’s Presidential Race

On July 22, the election officials of Chechnya's pro-Moscow administration formally rejected the registration of Malik Saidullaev as a candidate in the republic's special presidential election scheduled for the end

Tensions Rising Between Kremlin And Kadyrov Clan

A strikingly candid discussion of the behind-the-scenes tensions between the Kremlin and the Kadyrov clan appeared on the Strana.ru website on July 23. The article by Fyodor Chekhoev predictably gave

Poll Of Chechens Finds Optimists In Short Supply

Not surprisingly, distrust and pessimism continue to be hallmarks of public opinion in Chechnya. In early July, the Institute of Social Marketing conducted an opinion survey in 74 Chechen cities,

Has Unemployment Fueled Chechnya’s War?

A July 21 article for the Polit.ru website by Aleksandr Cherkasov of the Memorial human rights group suggests that Chechnya-watchers should give more weight to ongoing unemployment as a contributing

Another Violent Week In The North Caucasus

Yet another sign that Chechnya's war is heating up came from the Associated Press on July 25, which as usual provided new reports on federal casualties from its sources inside

Notable Quotes

"The demagogic view that Chechnya was truly presented with a chance for independence during the period from 1997 to 1997 cannot survive serious examination….In fact Chechnya was not a legal

Briefs

--MORE REFUGEES FORCED TO LEAVE INGUSHETIA Last week yet another small settlement of Chechen refugees was on the way to being forcibly vacated. According to an article published by the

Maskhadov Enunciates A Harder Line

One of Russia's most well-connected, pro-establishment business leaders urged the Putin administration to open informal talks with Aslan Maskhadov, president of Chechnya's underground separatist government, in spite of Maskhadov's claim

Harassment Of Chechen Refugees Continues

Harassment and intimidation of Chechen refugees in Ingushetia continued last week. The Prima human-rights news agency reported on July 28 that 50 "officers of security structures" had raided the Kristall

A Basaev Thrives In The Russian Heartland

An article by Aleksandr Yelisov published in Moskovsky komsomolyets on July 30 deepens questions about the relations between the Russian security agencies and the terrorist warlord Shamil Basaev. Most of

Some Passports Are More Equal Than Others

As readers will recall from the July 28 issue of Chechnya Weekly, the strongest rival to the Kremlin's preferred candidate in this coming weekend's special election for the presidency of

…while Authorities Target One Of His Opponents

As if the exclusion on technical grounds of Alu Alkhanov's one serious rival in the August 29 election were not sufficient, the authorities of Chechnya's pro-Moscow administration have now conducted

Support For Chechen War Erodes – But Slowly

New findings released on August 5 by the Levada.ru website, voice of Russia's most authoritative independent opinion-poll service, show continued long-term erosion in popular support for the war in Chechnya.

Moscow Gets A Kadyrov Street

Moscow municipal authorities have decided to name a city street for the assassinated Chechen leader Akhmad Kadyrov, according to an Interfax report of August 17. The renaming of the street,

Akhmadov Granted Asylum

In early August, Ilyas Akhmadov, foreign minister in the underground separatist government of Aslan Maskhadov, finally won his long quest for permanent political asylum in the United States. The final

Briefs

--RAMZAN OFFERS FORCES FOR SOUTH OSSETIA Further solidifying his reputation as a rhetorical loose cannon, Ramzan Kadyrov told the Georgian television station Mze in an August 21 interview that he

Chechnya’s Presidential Election Goes As Planned…

The August 29 special election to fill the vacant presidency of Chechnya's pro-Moscow administration produced no surprises. Despite the authorities' efforts to control the flow of information, independent journalists managed

…leaving Moscow With A Tricky Balancing Act

With Chechnya's latest rigged election now safely behind them, Kremlin decision-makers will now probably pursue a balancing game in their relations with Grozny's pro-Moscow administration—trying to keep in power both

Popular Newspaper Lambastes Chechnya Policy

The Putin administration's continually tightening controls over the broadcast media have shielded ordinary Russians from sights and sounds that would undermine the Kremlin's own spin about normalization and pacification in

Maskhadov Backs Georgia In South Ossetia Conflict

Trying to take advantage of the mounting tensions between Georgia and Russia, the head of Chechnya's underground separatist government said in a taped interview broadcast last week on the Georgian

Terrorists Brought Down The Airliners

It was not until Friday, August 27—three days after the crashes of two Russian passenger jets—that the FSB finally acknowledged the likelihood that the tragedy was the result of a

Kadyrov Yes, Starovoitova No

The renaming of a Moscow street in honor of Akhmad Kadyrov (see Chechnya Weekly, August 25) seems to reveal a double standard on the part of the municipal authorities. Not

Could The Beslan Tragedy Have Been Avoided?

The Beslan horror marks a threefold escalation in Russia's civil war. First, the terrorists who seized that North Ossetian town's School No. 1 used new, gratuitously cruel tactics, not only

Basayev Denies Responsibility

The Chechen terrorist warlord Shamil Basayev, whom some think is more likely to claim responsibility for the terrorist actions of others than to deny responsibility for his own, stated firmly

What Was Roshal’s Role?

A curious detail about the hostage crisis was noted by the Grani.ru website in a September 2 report. The pediatrician Leonid Roshal, whom the Beslan hostage-takers specifically sought by name

Politkovskaya Is Poisoned…

Anna Politkovskaya, the Novaya gazeta correspondent who has written many fearless reports from Chechnya, was poisoned under suspicious circumstances while on her way to cover the hostage crisis in Beslan.

Satarov: Official Lies Can Be Deadly

In a September 9 analysis for Gazeta.ru, the Moscow political scientist and former Yeltsin adviser Georgi Satarov suggested that the Russian and North Ossetian authorities' repeated falsehoods about the Beslan

Reporter Puts Forward Another Version Of Events

In the September 11 issue of Moskovski komsomolets, Aleksandr Khinshtein published a version of the Beslan events with details that apparently have not appeared elsewhere. He was vague about his

Beslan Raid Bears Basayev’s Fingerprints

It is becoming increasingly difficult to doubt that there were connections between the June raid in Ingushetia and the Beslan attack—despite the latter's far harsher tactics. Grani.ru on September 9

Authorities Organize Anti-terrorist Demonstrations

Last week's political demonstrations "against terrorism," both in Moscow and in the North Ossetia capital of Vladikavkaz, were somewhat similar to Soviet-era rallies—planned and organized by the government itself for

Is Georgia The First Candidate For Pre-emption?

Last week's vague threats by Russia's defense establishment to launch pre-emptive attacks against foreign terrorist bases may be intended to lay the groundwork for military strikes, or at least heightened

A SOUTH OSSETIAN ROLE IN BESLAN?

The "local" vigilantes whose gunfire helped cause the Beslan hostage standoff to explode out of control on September 3 included visitors who were not local at all, according to a

WAS AN ASSAULT PREORDAINED?

Were the Beslan explosions and gunbattle of September 3 accidental? Eyewitness Rustam Kaliev told Chechnya Weekly that in his view the terrorists must have studied carefully the Nord-Ost experience of

… AND AUSHEV PUTS FORWARD HIS VERSION OF EVENTS

Ruslan Aushev, former president of Ingushetia, continued to contradict the official version of the Beslan atrocity in an interview with the Interfax news agency published on September 28. Aushev said

EXPERTS SEE MASKHADOV AS A SPENT FORCE

Many of the experts who spoke to Chechnya Weekly, including those sympathetic to Aslan Maskhadov, have now concluded that his political strength among his fellow Chechens has fallen sharply. Svetlana

CONFLICT’S UNCHECKED BRUTALITY FOSTERS DESPAIR

Svetlana Gannushkina of Memorial said that feelings of despair are now running so high among Chechens that her own organization was finding it difficult to persuade its Chechen employees to

WHO’S REALLY IN CHARGE OF THE CHECHNYA OPERATION?

Russia's "anti-terrorist operation" in Chechnya is nominally conducted by a combined force reporting to the federal Interior Ministry. But an analysis recently published by the Agentura.ru website provides further evidence

BESLAN TERRORISTS EXECUTED SCHOOLBOYS…

Further confirmation that the Beslan terrorists killed schoolboys, not just grown men, in cold blood came in an October 4 article in Novaya gazeta by Kseniya Leonova, who interviewed 14-year-old

…AND THE AUTHORITIES USED INDISCRIMINATE FIREPOWER

Pavel Felgenhauer, the well-known independent military analyst, cited further evidence last week suggesting that the assault on the school was consciously planned in advance by the Russian authorities "not as

PACE RESOLUTION: A HALF LOAF FOR RUSSIA?

Russia won a partial victory last week in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which passed a resolution calling for a political settlement of the conflict in the

FSB TARGETS ANOTHER JOURNALIST

Yet another reporter was prevented by the Russian authorities from covering the hostage crisis in Beslan, according to an October 11 article in the English-language Moscow Times. Yuri Bagrov, an

DOES BASAEV HAVE FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES?

Interviews in Gazeta last week provided further indications that elements in the security agencies are helping the terrorist warlord Shamil Basaev avoid arrest—in spite of repeated announcements that the Russian

APPOINTED GOVERNORS: DISASTROUS FOR THE CAUCASUS?

The federal government has no visible long-term strategy for handling the crisis in the North Caucasus, one of Russia's leading specialists in the region told correspondent Dmitry Taratorin of Novye

INGUSH-OSSETIAN TENSIONS GROW

Shamil Basaev has achieved the goal of his Beslan operation, concluded Sanobar Shermatova in an October 15 article for the weekly Moskovskie novosti. "After Beslan the peoples of the Caucasus

SECURITY FORCES SWEEP NOVYE ATAGI

Belying the authorities' denials of continuing human-rights abuses in Chechnya, a massive zachistka security sweep paralyzed the town of Novye Atagi southeast of Grozny last week. According to an October

CHECHENS NOW EUROPE’S LARGEST REFUGEE GROUP

Chechen refugees now constitute the largest national group seeking asylum in the European Union, according to an October 15 report in the Irish Times—far outstripping those fleeing wars in more

EMIGRES’ HOMES HIT BY ARSON ATTACKS

A mysterious arson attack caused minor damage last week to the home of Chechen diplomat Akhmed Zakaev, London representative of the underground Maskhadov government. The Reuters news service reported on

ASLAKHANOV: BESLAN TERRORISTS HAD LIST OF DEMANDS

Yet more information has emerged contradicting last month's attempts to create the impression that the Beslan terrorists did not have a clear set of negotiating demands. Putin aide Aslanbek Aslakhanov

ARE THE AUTHORITIES SMEARING RUSLAN AUSHEV?

The official commission charged with investigating the Beslan affair seems to be laying the groundwork to achieve two goals: a cover-up of what really happened, and a slander campaign against

SOLDIERS’ MOTHERS OFFER TO MEDIATE

The Committee of Soldiers' Mothers, which for years has worked to protect Russian draftees from abuses by their own superiors, announced on October 13 that it will try to mediate

KADYROV JR. APPOINTED FIRST DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

If Alu Alkhanov, the new president of Chechnya's pro-Moscow administration, plans gradually to squeeze Ramzan Kadyrov out of power, that is not evident from his recent personnel appointments. Alkhanov has

BRIEFS

--INTERNET CAFES SHUT DOWN IN INGUSHETIA The pro-Moscow administration in Ingushetia has now shut down the last surviving Internet cafes in that republic, Radio Liberty reported on October 18. The

ALKSNIS WANTS SOLDIERS’ MOTHERS INVESTIGATED

Viktor Alksnis, one of the Russian parliament's most strident ultra-nationalists, harshly assailed the Union of Committees of Soldiers' Mothers last week for its recent offer to help promote peace negotiations

KADYROV JR. CLAIMS MASKHADOV WANTS TO GIVE UP

In what appears to be another case of his impulsively talking before thinking, Ramzan Kadyrov announced last week that the president of Chechnya's underground separatist government was about to surrender.

LARGE ANTI-WAR PROTEST HELD IN MOSCOW

Last weekend, Moscow's Pushkin Square witnessed the largest anti-war demonstration in many years, with almost 10 times as many participants as in such demonstrations in the recent past. The demonstration

BRIEFS

--NORTH OSSETIA-INGUSHETIA SITUATION SIMMERS Tensions are continuing to run high along the border between North Ossetia and Ingushetia, where a group of North Ossetian vigilantes temporarily seized a checkpoint last

ZAKAEV CONDEMNS HOSTAGE-TAKING…

Akhmed Zakaev, the London-based representative of the underground government of Aslan Maskhadov, released a statement on November 1 condemning the terrorist warlord Shamil Basaev. As reported by the Newsru.com website,

…AS QUESTIONS LINGER OVER DUBROVKA SIEGE

Though now overshadowed by the greater tragedy of Beslan, the October 2002 hostage episode at Moscow's Dubrovka theater continues to raise questions. Some two years later, the federal authorities have

USTINOV PROPOSES COUNTER-HOSTAGE-TAKING

Neo-Stalinist concepts of collective responsibility for individual crimes are still thriving in Russia's security agencies. According to an October 29 article by Maria Tsvetkova and Yelena Rudnieva on the Gazeta.ru

AUSHEV EARNS RELUCTANT PRAISE

FSB head Nikolai Patrushev reluctantly admitted to the Duma last week that one of the Kremlin's least favorite political figures deserves praise rather than blame for his activities during the

CHECHEN COMPENSATION MARRED BY CORRUPTION

Bribery and extortion continue to be common abuses in the process by which Chechens seek financial compensation from the federal government for their homes damaged or destroyed during the war,

CHECHENS NOT BEING DRAFTED

Russia supposedly has military conscription for all healthy young males, but the Novosti news agency reported on October 28 that Chechens are not being drafted this year—even though the federal

REBELS ATTACK WOUNDED KADYROVTSY

Disregard of the Geneva Convention and other rules of civilized warfare has long since become routine on both sides in Chechnya, as was shown again on October 31 by a

PRO-MOSCOW CHECHEN FIGHTER PROFILED

A rare glimpse at the activities of the pro-Moscow forces commanded by Chechen warlord Sulim Yamadaev came in an article published by Le Monde on October 27. The Paris daily's

MASKAHDOV AIDES DISAGREE OVER POSSIBLE PEACE TERMS

A disagreement within Chechnya's underground separatist government became public over the weekend as one aide to its president Aslan Maskhadov rebuked another for stating that Maskhadov's resignation could be part

BRIEFS

--NO SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONE FOR CHECHNYA? The latest version of a draft treaty on future relations between the federal government and the pro-Moscow administration in Chechnya does not include provisions

Norway Ignores Russian Request To Extradite Zakaev

The Russian Foreign Ministry suffered another diplomatic defeat last week in its continuing campaign to pressure western countries to classify separatist Chechen diplomat Akhmed Zakaev as an "international terrorist." Zakaev

Ramzan Kadyrov Embraces Collective Punishment

Ramzan Kadyrov is now threatening publicly to apply to all separatist guerrillas what previously he has denied doing: retaliating against their relatives. Once again showing his lack of political finesse,

Briefs

--WEEKLY RESUMES ITS CRITICISM OF KREMLIN'S CHECHNYA POLICY Though Russia's electronic broadcast media are increasingly timid about Chechnya, the reformist weekly Novoye Vremya is back in action after an ownership

Guerrillas Strike Ingushetia’s Capital

In what appeared to be a bold escalation in tactics and targeting by Chechnya's separatist guerrillas, the headquarters of Ingushetia's interior ministry in the republic's capital of Nazran was seized

Maskhadov On Why They Fight

"We tried to approach the Russian government with our proposal several times. We told them, 'Let's stop this war ourselves without involving anyone into this process.' We are fighting to

Kadyrov’s Likely Heir Is Not Without Challengers

Removing whatever slight shade of doubt might have existed about his willingness to accept the artificially engineered "draft Alkhanov" campaign of the last few weeks, Alu Alkhanov visited President Vladimir

Rights Activists Want Chechen Vote Postponed

Leaders of Russia's most prominent independent human rights organizations have proposed that the special election for the presidency of Chechnya, scheduled to take place on August 29, be postponed. As

Msf And Dutch Government Trade Accusations Over Erkel

The escalating dispute between the government of the Netherlands and the international medical charity Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), or MSF, constitutes another victory for the Russian secret police

Returning Refugees Resettled Amid Ruins

Now that the Russian and Ingush authorities have succeeded in closing Ingushetia's last tent camps for Chechen refugees, what conditions await the camps' former residents? According to a report released

Briefs

--TWELVE RUSSIAN SERVICEMEN KILLED OVER 24-HOUR PERIOD Lending further credence to claims by separatist president Maskhadov that the rebel guerrillas have stepped up their activity in recent weeks, an official

…as Ingushetian Police Roust Chechen Refugees

Last week, police of Ingushetia's pro-Moscow administration mounted a security sweep on the small refugee center located on the former Altievo dairy farm, Gazeta.ru reported on June 25. Beslan Khamkhoev,

Ramzan Kadyrov, Attorney At Law

Q. What sort of education do you have? A. A post-graduate legal education. I'm finishing now, I'll be taking examinations. Q. What kind of examinations? A. What do you mean,

Soldiers Vigilantly Extort Chechen Drivers

Contrary to the impression fostered by Kremlin spokesmen, Chechnya's highways still have an extensive network of military checkpoints that are used by federal soldiers to extort bribes from civilians. In

Briefs

--EX-JUDGE SAYS INGUSHETIA ATTACKS STEM FROM FSB DEPREDATIONS Boris Ozdoyev, the retired Ingush judge whose son Rashid was apparently kidnapped by the FSB after he tried to warn his colleagues

Correction

Last week's issue of Chechnya Weekly mistakenly referred to Nazran as the capital of Ingushetia. In fact, the Ingush capital was transferred from Nazran to the newly built city of

Will Kvashnin Take The Fall For Ingushetia?

Powerful forces within the Putin administration are trying to make Anatoly Kvashnin, head of the Russian armed forces' general staff, the scapegoat for last month's fiasco in Ingushetia. A June

Hostage-taking: A Growth Industry?

The human and economic disaster area that is today's Chechnya nevertheless offers multiple opportunities for getting rich—nearly all of them dishonest. Free-lance Chechen journalist Mainat Abdulaeva discussed several of these

Extortion At Checkpoints: Fresh Details

A July 1 article by Chechen journalists Aslambek Badilayev and Kazbek Vakhayev for the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting essentially confirmed the picture of extortion and bribery at

Special Services Unhappy Over Qatar Events

Will elements in Russia's security services now push for a special operation to set up a jailbreak for two of their colleagues convicted last week of murder in Qatar? The

Briefs

--SOME INGUSHETIA RAIDERS HAD GRU DOCUMENTS According to the brother of an FSB officer slain in the late-June raid on Ingushetia, at least some of the guerrilla raiders were equipped

Holocaust Museum Hosts Panel On Chechnya

This evening (Wednesday, July 14), the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., is to host a panel of experts on the topic "Chechnya after a Decade of Destruction." Featured speakers

Acpc Welcomes Call For Negotiations

The American Committee for Peace in Chechnya released a statement on July 7 welcoming calls for peace talks by Aslan Maskhadov, president of Chechnya's underground separatist government, and Ingush President

Ingushetia’s President In Denial

An even bigger loser than Vladimir Putin from last month's guerrilla raid on Ingushetia turns out to be that republic's president Murat Zyazikov. The latter, a Federal Security Service (FSB)

Ingush Rebels Declare Jihad

Further confirmation of the transformation of the Chechen war into a wider Chechen-Ingush war came last week as a Chechen extremist website reported the proclamation by Ingush rebels of a

Grozny Braces For Possible Rebel Raid

A guerrilla raid on well-defended Grozny would be a more difficult challenge for the separatist rebels than the recent raid on Ingushetia, and a much more impressive achievement should it

Eight Russian Troops Killed In 24-hour Period

Eight Russian troops were slain in Chechnya during a 24-hour period ending on July 10, according to the Associated Press. An unnamed official in Grozny's pro-Moscow administration told the news

Trepashkin’s Health Deteriorates In Prison

Though seriously ill, the dissident lawyer Mikhail Trepashkin is being held illegally in a Moscow isolation cell, according to a July 9 article on the Newsru.com website. The terms of

Dubrovka Victims Lose Suit Against Kremlin

It was entirely predictable that the Moscow district court considering the Dubrovka lawsuit against Vladimir Putin would rule in Putin's favor. What was not so predictable was that the court

Briefs

--INGUSHETIAN AUTHORITIES FORCING OUT CHECHEN REFUGEES A July 5 report on the Caucasian Knot website provided further evidence that the federal and Ingushetian authorities are successfully exploiting last month's guerilla

…as Battles Rage Elsewhere

There was also a large battle on July 13 near the village of Avtury in the Shali district southeast of Grozny. The official Itar-Tass news agency admitted in a July

Seven Russian Soldiers Killed Over July 16-17

Seven Russian soldiers were killed and five wounded in Chechnya during a 24-hour period ending on July 17, an unnamed official of the republic's pro-Moscow administration told the Associated Press.

Maskhadov Warns Of New Attacks Outside Chechnya

Aslan Maskhadov, president of Chechnya's underground secessionist government, said in an e-mail communication to the Reuters news agency last weekend that attacks similar to the June raid on Ingushetia may

Russians Pessimistic About Chechnya

The Russian public continues to be pessimistic about the war in Chechnya, according to the latest findings of the independent, widely respected Levada polling center. The center published a summary

Drawing The Wrong Lessons From Yermolov

According to a recent poll conducted by the All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM) and published in Novye izvestia on July 17, two-thirds of Russians surveyed (67.6

Registration Ends For Chechen Presidential Candidates

On July 14, the election authorities of the pro-Moscow administration in Grozny formally closed the reception of registration documents from would-be candidates for president in the August 29 special election.

Putin Shakes Up Military Over Ingushetia Raids

As predicted by various well-placed sources in Moscow earlier this month (see Chechnya Weekly, July 7), General Anatoly Kvashnin has been fired from his position as chief of staff of

Fsb Kidnapping Operation Documented

Apparently for the first time, an official of Ingushetia's Prosecutor's Office has specifically admitted the existence of a phenomenon which has long been discussed by journalists and human-rights activists: the

Russians In Qatar Could Still Face Death Penalty

Last week's Moskovskie novosti reported that the two Russian intelligence-agents sentenced to life in prison for murdering a Chechen extremist in Qatar have filed an appeal to a higher court.

Briefs

--OSCE WILL NOT MONITOR CHECHEN ELECTION The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has decided not to send official observers to monitor the August 29 election. In a July