Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 7 Issue: 19


Swedish authorities shut down the Chechen separatist Kavkazcenter website on May 5 at the request of the Russian authorities. The SR International – Radio Sweden website reported on May 8 that the website was closed down after police with a search warrant confiscated two servers from a web hosting company in Stockholm. MosNews reported on May 6 that the Finnish owner of the servers that hosted the website—an apparent reference to Finnish businessman Mikael Sturshe (see item above)—had told a Swedish newspaper that Swedish prosecutors had requested a meeting with him, after which they searched the premises of the web hosting company where he rented space and confiscated two servers. The owner of the web hosting company, who was also not named, was quoted as saying: “I see this as an outrage. I don’t agree with what’s written on the website but I respect their right to free speech.” For its part, the separatist Chechenpress news agency on May 6 called the Swedish authorities’ closure of the website “scandalous and astonishing.” On May 10, however, MosNews reported that the Kavkazcenter website was back up.


The Nazran-based Council of Non-Governmental Organizations reported on May 9 that members of “Russian power structures” abducted a young woman from her apartment in the Oktyabrsky district of Grozny on the morning of May 8. Law enforcement personnel reportedly detained a woman in the Vedeno district village of Elistanzhi on May 4 and took her to an unknown destination. According to the council, it became known following the woman’s abduction that her brother is a rebel fighter and that she was being accused of aiding the separatists. Radio Liberty’s Russian service, meanwhile, reported on May 10 that one federal serviceman was killed and three wounded in a clash with separatists in the Vedeno district. The radio station reported that a leader of a “local group of mujahideen,” who reportedly took orders from Shamil Basaev, was killed during a special operation conducted by security forces in the Shali district. According to Radio Liberty, three policemen were wounded in the operation.