Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 7 Issue: 4

–TREPASHKIN PUT IN PUNISHMENT CELL reported on January 19 that Mikhail Trepashkin, the former FSB colonel who subsequently charged that the Russian security services were behind the 1999 apartment building bombings and was convicted on charges of revealing state secrets, had been placed in a punishment isolator (SHIZO) in the Nizhny Tagil penal colony settlement for raising his voice. Trepashkin was previously put in a punishment isolator last September. Trepashkin’s lawyer, Elena Liptser, said the colony’s punishment isolator was located in a new building that was not heated and that her client was suffering from bronchial asthma, which was worsening. A cold wave across Russia sent temperatures to record lows, and the BBC, citing the Regnum news agency, reported on January 17 that extreme cold in the Sverdlovsk region, which includes Nizhny Tagil, had sparked several bus fires through short-circuits.


The international humanitarian medical aid organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has included Chechnya among its “Top Ten” most underreported humanitarian stories in 2005, PNNOnline reports. “Caught in a stranglehold between Russian Federation forces and Chechen armed groups, traumatized civilians continue to bear the brunt of this conflict of attrition and find they have nowhere to go to be safe,” MSF wrote. The Congo, Haiti, Sudan, Somalia and Colombia were also on the MSF list.


A Russian military spokesman has claimed that landmines planted by federal troops in Dagestan and Chechnya have killed some 800 militants, Interfax reported on January 20. “During the fight against the armed groups that invaded Dagestan in August 1999 and in the course of the counter-terrorist operation in Chechnya, sappers planted more than 200 kilometers of minefields in which nearly 800 militants have died,” said Russian Land Force spokesman Col. Igor Konashenkov. He also said that federal troops have destroyed more than 200 militant defense installations, combed through 500 buildings for mines, carried out mine-sweeping operations on 400 hectares of agricultural lands, and defused nearly 330,000 landmines and other explosive devices. RIA Novosti, citing the press service of the Interior Ministry’s Internal Troops, reported on January 20 that combat engineers of the Internal Troops defused 182 bombs, including 17 radio-controlled explosive devices, in 2005.