Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 34


Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin told Interfax on September 9 that Russia views the UN Security Council’s anti-terrorist list as incomplete and wants Chechen extremists who have committed crimes against Russian citizens to be added. “Unfortunately, the ‘anti-terrorist’ list does not yet include the names of certain people who have committed crimes against Russians,” he said. “To our surprise, they feel quite comfortable in individual Western countries and continue to take steps to destabilize the situation in Chechnya and the entire North Caucasus, collect funds and recruit mercenaries for a ‘dirty’ war against the Chechen people and Russia as a whole. Moscow is not quite satisfied with this list because it is far from being full and includes only al-Qaeda, the Taliban movement and related organizations.” Russia, Kamynin said, favors a more extensive list of such organizations and wants sanctions to be imposed on them and their financial flows to be cut off. An initiative to compile such a list was put forward in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1566, which was adopted after last year’s Beslan hostage crisis. On September 8, the Russian president’s special representative for international cooperation in the fight against terrorism and organized crime, Anatoly Safonov, said Russia would do everything within its power to secure the extradition of Akhmad Zakaev and Ilyas Akhmadov.


Chechen President Alu Alkhanov said on September 11 that former rebels would be allowed to run in the republic’s parliamentary elections, set for November 27. “If a candidate…is not located in an institution of confinement and if the necessary number of constituents vote for him, he will become a [parliamentary] deputy,” Alkhanov told Interfax. “According to our information, both deputies from the former, so-called parliament of Ichkeria and people who held various posts in the governments of Maskhadov and Dudaev plan to put forward their candidacies.” He also said “persons who yielded to false ideals and in different times wound up in the ranks of the illegal armed formations, but, without having committed crimes, managed to return in time to civilian life, and who the law-enforcement organs have no claims on, also will be able to take part in the election as candidates.” He added that the government is “prepared to accept observers from any international organizations.” On September 12, Alkhanov reported that he had invited the Council of Europe to send observers to the elections, Itar-Tass reported.


The London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) reported on September 10 that the remaining 2,000 Chechen refugees of the 7,000 that originally fled to Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge after Russia launched its second military operation in Chechnya in 1999 complain of “constant harassment” by Georgian police. More than 100 Chechen refugees have been picketing the entrance to Duisi, the administrative center of Pankisi, for a third consecutive week. They are refusing to sign the annual round of documentation that registers them as refugees in Georgia, and are threatening to go on a hunger strike unless the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Tbilisi government act on their complaints. One of the protesters, Vakha Arsanukaev told IWPR: “For six years, we have been living in constant fear. Our rights are being violated all the time and nothing is being done to solve our problems. This is not our first action. But this time, we refugees are not going to surrender until we achieve some result.”