–KOZAK MEETS WITH BESLAN VICTIMS’ RELATIVES
President Vladimir Putin’s envoy to the Southern Federal District, Dmitry Kozak, met with representatives of the Mothers of Beslan and Voice of Beslan committees in Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia, on May 23 (Kavkazky Uzel, May 24). Kozak told journalists after the meeting that there was a “lack of understanding” between the federal prosecutors who are investigating the September 2004 hostage seizure and the committee members—who, according to Kozak, said that the investigators had not responded to “all their requests and petitions.” Mothers of Beslan committee representative Anneta Gadieva said Kozak has “a human understanding of the situation” but told her and the other victims’ relatives that he could not put “any pressure” on the Prosecutor General’s Office. “We gave Kozak a petition to launch a criminal case against the leadership of the [Beslan] operational headquarters, which was previously submitted to Prosecutor General [Vladimir] Ustinov,” Gadieva said. Voice of Beslan leader Ella Kasaeva said Kozak promised to inform President Vladimir Putin of her group’s dissatisfaction “with the course of the investigation of the main case.” The Mothers of Beslan and Voice of Beslan committees have repeatedly called for the prosecution of senior Federal Security Service (FSB) officials for failing to prevent the terrorist attack.
–MORE VIOLENCE IN INGUSHETIA
An automobile exploded on May 25 in the capital of Ingushetia, Magas, Interfax reported. According to the news agency, the car belonged to Magomed Kunguzhev, deacon of Ingush State University’s philological faculty, who was not in the car at the time. No one was hurt in the incident. On May 23, Russian news agencies reported that Said Akilov, a religious figure who belongs to a commission devoted to ending violence connected to vendettas in Ingushetia, was the target of an assassin who tossed a grenade at him at his house in the republic’s Nazranovsky district. No one was hurt in that incident. Ingushetia’s deputy interior minister was assassinated on May 17 (Chechnya Weekly, May 18).
–CHECHENS RENDERED HOMELESS BY LANDSLIDES
Landslides triggered by melting snow and heavy rains in the mountains of southern Chechnya tore through 11 villages in the region, severely damaging houses and leaving hundreds of people homeless, the Associated Press reported on May 25, citing Russian state television. The Interfax news agency quoted Ahmed Khatataev, the administrative head of the Nozhai-Yurt district on the border with Georgia, as saying more than 60 homes had been destroyed and that the landslides hit so suddenly that most families did not have time to save their possessions.