–NEARLY A HALF MILLION ARE UNEMPLOYED
Kavkazky Uzel on July 26 quoted a source in Chechnya’s Ministry of Labor and Social Development as saying that the overwhelming majority of Chechnya’s workforce does not have regular work and that the number of unemployed continues to grow. The number of unemployed now stands at 471,500, the source said, with more than 120,000 people having been officially registered as unemployed during the first half of this year. Unemployment compensation in Chechnya amounts to 645 rubles (a little over $22) per month.
–MEMORIAL DETAILS ABUSES IN INGUSHETIA
The Memorial human rights group gave President Putin a report on illegal actions by security agencies against civilians in Ingushetia during a meeting he had on July 20 with members of the council for assisting the development of civil society and human rights institutions, Interfax reported on July 22. Memorial’s Aleksandr Cherkasov told reporters that people started disappearing in Ingushetia in 2002, “when federal forces based in Chechnya and the adjoining territories began actions in Ingushetia against terrorism and started searching for people linked with illegal bandit formations.” Memorial reports that there were at least 143 kidnappings in Ingushetia between 2002 and 2005, although it admits that security forces were not involved in all of them. Many of those kidnapped, Cherkasov said, later turned up in remand prisons, and “by the time they were found they had already confessed to committing the crimes they had been accused of after illegal methods and torture had been used against them.” Memorial’s representative in Ingushetia, Yekaterina Sokirianskaya, said that “confessions are usually obtained with severe beatings and torture” and that Memorial has received six complaints that describe in detail the use of torture against those detained.
–FOUR POLICEMEN KILLED IN KABARDINO-BALKARIA
Gunmen killed two policemen in Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria, on July 23, Reuters reported. According to Russian news agencies, the gunmen opened fire on the police as they drove through central Nalchik and stole the dead officers’ weapons. It was the second such attack in three days: on July 20, an unidentified assailant shot two policemen to death in Nalchik. “Two policemen, a lieutenant and a captain were on duty near the Orbita shop,” a law-enforcement source told Itar-Tass on July 21. “An unidentified man in black shot them from an automatic gun and disappeared into the courtyard of a block of flats.” In December 2004, gunmen raided the regional branch of the Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) in Nalchik, killing four employees and seizing more than 170 firearms. An underground Islamist group, the Yarmuk Jamaat, claimed responsibility for that attack (see Chechnya Weekly, January 13).