– MEDVEDEV OPTIMISTIC ABOUT CHECHNYA’S DEVELOPMENT
During a meeting with journalists in the Southern Federal District on January 17, First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that the social and economic situation in Chechnya in 2006 gives reason for moderate optimism, ITAR-TASS reported. Asked about the implementation of national projects in Chechnya, Medvedev said that the “current pace of construction in Chechnya is fairly good.” Medvedev, who oversees the implementation of priority national projects, said the Russian president and government had adopted decisions on the financing of economic and social reconstruction in Chechnya. “Obviously, Chechnya needs more investments than other regions,” he said. “But it is important to do this calmly, act effectively and make sure the money does not disappear.” Concerning education, Medvedev said, “It is important that people who work in schools and schoolchildren themselves do not feel an information gap, isolated from other Russian regions.” According to ITAR-TASS, authorities plan to connect 127 schools in Chechnya to the Internet in 2007.
– TRIAL OF OFFICERS ACCUSED OF MURDERING CHECHENS RESUMES
The trial of two Interior Ministry officers, Lieutenant Yevgeny Khudyakov and Lieutenant Sergei Arakcheyev, on charges of murder and abuse of office, resumed on January 16 at the North Caucasus district court in Rostov-on-Don, ITAR-TASS reported. The two are accused of murdering three construction workers in Grozny in January 2003. Juries have twice acquitted Khudyakov and Arakcheyev, but the military panel of the Russian Supreme Court has twice repealed the sentence and ordered a new hearing. The Constitutional Court ruled last April that cases of servicemen charged with perpetrating serious crimes in Chechnya must be heard by professional judges until the republic forms juries. According to ITAR-TASS, witnesses for the prosecution were questioned on January 16, including one who identified Khudyakov as having tortured him and shot him in the leg. As Kavkazky Uzel reported on January 16, Khudyakov and Arakcheyev were the commanders of a reconnaissance unit that conducted an operation near the Severny Airport on January 15, 2003. They allegedly blocked a road with an armored personnel carrier and then stopped a Volga car, detaining its driver, after which they stopped a Kamaz truck. Khudyakov allegedly shot the truck’s driver and the two passengers, after which he and Arakcheyev allegedly burned their bodies. Both men have pleaded not guilty.
– CHECHEN COP ALLEGEDLY KIDAPS CHILD IN INGUSHETIA
Interfax reported on January 17 that the prosecutor’s office in Ingushetia’s Sunzha district had opened a criminal case on the abduction of a small child, and that a Chechen policeman is suspected of being the perpetrator. “A local woman reported to the police that three unidentified people entered her house, snatched her one-year-old granddaughter and demanded 100,000 rubles for her release,” a local law-enforcement source told the news agency. A policeman from the Chechen Interior Ministry’s special riot task force (OMON) and an unemployed local female were subsequently detained in Grozny on suspicion of being behind the abduction, the source said. The child has been returned to her mother, and a search for another suspected accomplice in the crime is continuing.
– A REBEL AND A POLICEMAN DIE IN DAGESTANI SHOOTOUTS
Dagestani Interior Ministry spokeswoman Anzhela Martirosova told Interfax on January 16 that a militant had been killed in a shootout with police near the village of Kirovaul. “The clash took place at a small discarded summer cottage two kilometers outside of Kirovaul,” she told the news agency. “Police officers, following up on a tip-off, were fired upon. The gunman was killed in the clash. He was identified as Salman Magomedov, born in 1974.” A police officer was killed on the outskirts of the village of Aimaumakhi in Dagestan’s Sergokalinsky district on January 14 when unidentified persons fired at his car with automatic weapons. “The police officer died at the scene from his wounds, and his service pistol was stolen,” RIA Novosti quoted law-enforcement sources as saying. Police found 98 cartridges of various calibers at the scene of the attack. Meanwhile, Dagestan’s Supreme Court on January 17 sentenced Abdurahman Gadzhiev, who was the chief administrator of the republic’s Kizilyurt district, to 18 years in prison for organizing an assassination attempt on Magomed Magomedov, the head of Dagestan’s Gergebil district, the Associated Press reported. Magomedov’s driver was killed in the December 2005 attack on his car, but Magomedov himself was not in the car and was unhurt.