Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 21

– Servicemen Wounded, Rebels Killed in Chechnya Fighting

Kavkazky Uzel reported on May 24 that a contract serviceman was injured in a shootout with rebel fighters on the outskirts of the Gudermes district village of Koshkeldy. Another Russian army serviceman was injured in a shootout with rebels in Chechnya’s Shatoi district on May 23, while ITAR-Tass reported on May 23 that two rebel gunmen were killed that day in a shootout with police near the Shelkovskoi district village of Shelkovskaya. A Chechen Interior Ministry spokesman told the news agency that no policemen were hurt in the battle. On May 22, a Russian army serviceman was hurt in a gun battle with militants near the Shatoi district village of Urdyukhoi, Kavkazky Uzel reported. Four Interior Ministry servicemen and one Defense Ministry serviceman were injured on May 22 in an explosion on the outskirts of the Shatoi district settlement of Nokhch-Keloi, Interfax reported. The news agency also reported that five police officers were lightly wounded on May 22 when their vehicle was hit by an explosion near the village of Oktyabrskoye in the Vedeno district. Interfax reported on May 19 that three policemen were wounded in an exchange of fire with an estimated six rebel fighters on an island in the Terek River near the Gudermes district villages of Stepnoye and Azamat-Yurt. One of the wounded policemen was reported to be in serious condition.

– Police, Rebels and Civilians Killed and Injured in Dagestan

ITAR-Tass reported on May 23 that a policeman was killed in the village of Simsir in Dagestan’s Khasavyurt district on May 22. “An unidentified criminal fired at a junior police officer with an automatic weapon near his house,” an official with the Dagestani Interior Ministry’s press service told the news agency. “The officer was taken to a regional hospital, where he died without regaining consciousness.” The Associated Press reported on May 22 that three civilians, including a 6-year-old boy and a police officer were wounded in a gun battle that erupted between police and suspected militants. The incident occurred late on May 21 in a suburb of the Dagestani capital of Makhachkala when two men refused to obey police orders to stop for document checks and opened fire on the police officers, Dagestani Interior Ministry spokeswoman Anzhela Martirosova said. A police official and three bystanders were injured in the shooting. The suspected militants were killed, she said. ITAR-Tass reported on May 22 that two gunmen who were killed in the Dagestani city of Kaspiisk the previous night had been planning a series of terrorist attacks against law enforcers in Makhachkala and other Dagestani cities. Interfax on May 22 identified the slain militants as Dzhunaid Magomedgadzhiev, a native of Dagestan’s Botlikhsky district who allegedly belonged to “illegal armed groups” that had battled federal forces in Chechnya, and Artur Kurbanov, a Kaspiisk native who was wanted by police.

– Abdurakhmanov Says Federal Troops Welcome to Stay Permanently

Chechen People’s Assembly Speaker Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov said on May 17 that NATO’s eastward advancement means that Russia should keep its forces in the southern part of the country. “When I said earlier that unnecessary troops should be withdrawn from Chechnya, I meant those troops which were temporarily deployed, because they have accomplished their mission – peace has been restored, the Chechen Interior Ministry is capable of guaranteeing stability and instantly responding to any attempts to break the peace,” Abdurakhmanov said. “The withdrawal of these unnecessary forces from the republic will be carried out in stages. I want to clearly and unequivocally state that we consider the presence of the 42nd Infantry Division in Chechnya and other federal units deployed on a permanent basis [to be] justified and necessary. Chechnya is a region bordering a foreign state. Georgia hosts not only its own armed forces, but probably some NATO military, in one form or another, as well, and is not hiding its desire to have NATO in Georgia forever.”

– Nukhazhiev: Chechen Conscripts Should Remain in Chechnya

Chechnya’s human rights ombudsman, Nurdi Nukhazhiev, has reiterated that Chechens drafted into the Russian army should not serve outside of the republic. “We are deeply convinced that at the present time it is still too early to send Chechen youth to serve in other regions,” Kavkazky Uzel on May 23 quoted him as saying: “They can and must serve today in units of the Russian Defense Ministry [and] Russian MVD quartered on the territory of the Chechen Republic.” Nukhazhiev noted that “two wars have taken place” and that “over the past 15 years entire generations of young people have grown up in Chechnya that do not recognize what a unified homeland is.” At the same time, he said, there has been an upsurge in “anti-Chechen propaganda” in the Russian mass media that has created negative feelings toward Chechens on the part of “a huge portion of Russian society,” and “the army is a mirror in which all the problems of society are reflected.”