Publication: Monitor Volume: 7 Issue: 160

A woman was killed and five other people wounded yesterday when a bomb exploded in the Chechen government headquarters in Djohar (Grozny), the republic’s capital. The blast took place as the republic’s leadership held a meeting on the third floor of the building. Among those present were Akhmad Kadyrov, head of Chechnya’s pro-Moscow administration, and Stanislav Ilyasov, chairman of the Chechen government. Kadyrov had called the meeting. According to various reports, the bomb was planted in a rest room on the second floor. The woman killed in the blast was identified as Khizhan Orzieva, a cleaning woman and mother of two. Investigators were quoted today as saying that Orzhueva may in fact have been attempting to plant the bomb when it went off. After the blast, Kadyrov and Ilyasov finished up their meeting in the building’s cafeteria (, September 4; MIGnews, September 3).

The fact that someone–presumably belonging to a Chechen rebel group–was able to plant a bomb in one of the republic’s most heavily guarded buildings is yet another sign of how vulnerable Moscow’s military-political position in the republic remains. In June of this year, the Monitor’s correspondent saw first hand the degree of security that surrounds the Chechen administration’s headquarters. The three-story structure, which is located the center of the capital and sits amid the ruins of what was once one of the prettiest cities of the North Caucasus, is guarded by three cordons of armed men. The first and outermost ring includes armored vehicles fitted with high-caliber weapons. The second includes extremely well armed Russian commandos, who refuse to say with which service or agency they are affiliated. The innermost is located inside the building and made up of heavily armed Russians and Chechens–the latter belonging to Kadyrov’s teip (clan).

It is not surprising that such an explosion would take place now. The Chechen rebels have increased their activity in practically all of the republic’s districts. According to an unnamed military spokesman, in the last twenty-four hours alone the rebels have detonated thirteen landmines and fired on federal positions and installations 116 times (Military News Agency, September 3). The rebels have been particularly active in the southwest Vedeno district, where the Russian army has reportedly suffered heavy losses (, September 1; see also the Monitor, August 30). By bombing the government headquarters in the Chechen capital during a meeting of the republic’s pro-Moscow leadership, the rebels were apparently trying to show that they are capable, if need be, of penetrating even the most heavily guarded installation in Chechnya. In this respect, it is not even important that no member of the pro-Moscow leadership was killed or injured. From the rebels’ perspective, it was more important to demonstrate their power and capability in order to bolster their supporters and alarm their foes.