Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 28


A poll taken in June by the independent Levada Center found that only 23 of the respondents said they believe that a “peaceful life” is being restored in Chechnya while 68 percent believe that war is continuing there. Only 20 percent of those polled said they were in favor of continuing the military campaign while 66 percent said they thought that peace talks should be started. Thirteen percent said they thought that Chechnya had already separated from Russia de facto, 24 percent said they would be glad to see it do so, 15 percent said they would not like to see Chechnya break away but could live with it, and 23 percent said this should be prevented by any means necessary, including military.


British ambassador to Russia Tony Brenton said his country is ready to extradite Chechen separatist representative Akhmed Zakaev if Russian prosecutors can prove he has been involved in terrorism, MosNews reported on July 15, citing Russian news agencies. Brenton said that if the Russian prosecution service provided evidence of Zakaev’s involvement in terrorism, Britain would immediately extradite him. He added, however, that until then Zakaev, who has received political asylum in the United Kingdom, enjoys the same level of protection as any British citizen.


Chechnya’s labor and social development minister, Magomed Vakhaev, told said on July 18 that residents of the republic are refusing to collect their 10,000 rubles (around $284) in compensation for their 1944 deportation to Siberia. “There have been spontaneous gatherings in virtually every district of the republic, where they have rejected the money on offer to all victims of the 1944 repression,” he told Interfax. “The sum has been described as derisory, an insult to those who lost their homes, property, relatives and loved ones in the expulsion.” Vakhaev said that unlike people in other regions, Chechens have yet to receive compensation as part of the program to rehabilitate victims of political repression. He added that it was not clear “when the authorities in the Chechen Republic will be able to pay out even these amounts of 10,000 rubles.”


A spokesman for Chechen President Alu Alkhanov, Edi Isaev, was quoted on July 12 as saying that all 11 persons abducted during the June 4 raid on the village of Borozdinovskaya were “alive and well” and would be returned home “in the immediate future.” However, Chechen Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov said the following day that it remained unclear what happened to them and that a search was underway for them, and Nezavisimaya gazeta on July 15 quoted Isaev as saying he had been misquoted. “I merely stated that I was sure that the hostages, the 11 people, were safe and sound, that the law-enforcement were working on that, and that those people would be returned home,” he told the newspaper. “I do not know where they are – in or out of Chechnya. Nobody has asked ransom for those guys and their dead bodies have not been identified anywhere, which means that they are alive.”


The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg on July 14 rejected the Russian government’s request to review its decision on a case opened in response to complaints from six Chechen citizens. On February 24, the European Court of Human Rights issued three decrees on lawsuits filed by six citizens of Chechnya stating that their rights and the rights of their relatives had been violated. The court ruled that the six victims must be compensated with 105,000 euros for moral damage, 30,710 euros for material damage and 32,780 euros for court expenses. Interfax quoted Kirill Koroteyev as saying that the court’s rejection of the Russian government’s appeal means that the Russian government has six months to pay the damages and that the Council of Europe’s cabinet of ministers will monitor compliance.