Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 2

On January 13, Agence France Presse reported that General Vladimir Moltenskoi, commander of the Russian Combined Group of Forces operating in Chechnya, had refused a demand by Memorial and by other Russian human rights groups that he halt so-called “mopping up operations” in the republic amid mounting evidence of abuses by federal troops. “Human rights groups led by Memorial,” AFP remarked, “have detailed a wide array of abuses–reports that Washington has deemed credible–including arbitrary killings, beatings and hostage taking.” Three days previously, Vladimir Kalamanov, Putin’s special representative for the observing of the rights and freedoms of the citizen in Chechnya, had announced that he “does not possess any information” concerning complaints issued by residents of the town of Argun concerning alleged abuses committed by the federal forces in the course of recent mopping up operations in that settlement (Interfax-AVN, January 10).