Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 32


Nazran police chief Dzhabrail Kastoev and his driver were seriously wounded in a bombing on August 15. According to the Regnum news agency, an explosive device had been planted near the central city mosque in Nazran and was detonated as Kastoev’s car and one that was accompanying it drove by. On August 12, the 88-year-old father of Alikhan Amirkhanov, a well-known Ingush businessman who represented Ingushetia in the State Duma from 1998 to 2002, was kidnapped. While Amirkhanov is a close ally of former Ingushetian President Ruslan Aushev who ran for the republic’s presidency in 2002 against Aushev’s successor, incumbent Ingushetian President Marat Zyazikov, police said the kidnapping of his father was a strictly criminal kidnap-for-ransom and not politically motivated, Interfax reported on August 14.


On August 15, unknown gunmen in the Leninsky district of Makhachkala, the Dagestani capital, opened fire on a car in which an operational duty officer with one of the city’s police districts was driving, killing him and wounding a woman who was in the car with him. On August 12, a police officer was wounded in an explosion near his apartment on the western outskirts of Makhachkala, Kavkazky Uzel reported. On August 11, a bomb went off on the outskirts of the city of Buinaksk as a car carrying four policemen was driving by, Interfax reported. No one was hurt.


The New York Sun on August 15 quoted Michael Klebnikov, brother of the late Forbes Russia editor Paul Klebnikov who was murdered in July 2004, as saying he is “skeptical” of Russian investigators’ conclusion that his brother was murdered by Khozh-Akhmed Nukhaev, the former Chechen separatist official and reputed crime boss who was critically profiled by Klebnikov in his book called “Conversations With a Barbarian.” “Michael Klebnikov said he doubts that Mr. Nukhaev had such a violent reaction to the book and speculated that the motive for the murder had to do with documents that his murdered brother had in his possession,” the newspaper wrote. “On two separate occasions, in March and May 2004, his brother told family members about ‘deeply troubling’ documents he had found, one batch of which related to Moscow real estate. ‘This was a pre-emptive move rather than retribution,’ the elder brother told the Sun. ‘But this is purely speculation'” (see Chechnya Weekly, June 22).


Pavel Lyuzakov, a journalist with the separatist Kavkazcenter website, was sentenced to two years in a prison colony for illegally acquiring and possessing a firearm, Kavkazky Uzel reported on August 16. Lyuzakov was originally found guilty and sentenced in June, but the Moscow City Court overturned the verdict the following month and ordered a new trial. Lyuzakov is a regular contributor to Kavkazcenter, chief editor of the Democratic Union’s newspaper Svobodnoe slovo (Free Speech) and co-editor of Separatist, the newspaper of the Russian Movement for the Independence of Chechnya. He was arrested in January for the possession of a TT pistol. Lyuzakov and his supporters say that prior to his arrest, a police agent had sold him a real pistol that he thought was a gas pistol.