Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 29

On July 21, the Nizhegorod Oblast-based Committee Against Torture issued a press release stating that that it had received a copy Chechen Interior Ministry documents dated June 5 showing that the 11 Borozdinovskaya residents who had disappeared the previous day were indeed detained by members of Vostok battalion. The Interior Ministry document stated that the Shelkovskoi police department had reported on July 5 that a group of Borozdinovskaya villagers had been detained the previous day “on suspicion of committing crimes” as part of a special operation to “detain and destroy members of illegal armed formation” conducted by 70-80 members of the Vostok battalion. The Vostok forces arrived in the village in two armored personnel carriers, three armored Ural cars and 6-8 UAZ vans. The police report also listed the names of eleven missing villagers and indicated that some Borozdinovskaya residents had died in a fire that started “for unknown reasons” during the operation in the village.

The police report stated that the names of the eleven detainees were not found to be in the Chechen Interior Ministry’s database. The Committee Against Torture stated in its press release: “That is, federal troops detained 11 people, examined their membership in the [illegal armed formations], established that they had nothing to do with the militants, after which the citizens’ data disappeared without a trace.” The police report also indicated that all material about the Borozdinovskaya operation was forwarded to Chechen prosecutors. The Committee Against Torture press release added that because some “informed sources” had suggested that the ‘Borozdinovskaya zachistka’ may have been a “carefully planned provocation” against the Vostok battalion, the committee sought to verify the authenticity of the police report and to receive a copy of it from the Chechen Interior Ministry on July 20. Novaya gazeta published the full text of the Committee Against Torture press release in its July 25 edition.

Chechen President Alu Alkhanov, meanwhile, told Ekho Moskvy radio on July 25 that the fate of the 11 Borozdinovskaya residents who disappeared during the June 4 special operation remains unknown. Investigators are working to establish who was behind the incident and are searching for the people who are missing, he said. “The situation in Borozdinovskaya is returning to normal,” Alkhanov said. “But some 110 people have left the village again and set up camp near the town of Kizlyar. As for the 11 people who went missing, I can’t say where they are, because I have no such information.”