Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 20


Russian troops killed two rebel fighters guarding a rebel base in Chechnya’s Vedeno district, Radio Liberty’s Russian-language service reported on May 24. In Grozny that same day, police discovered and defused a large explosive device on the grounds of the Grozneftegaz enterprise. Meanwhile, three rebels were killed and four Russian servicemen were wounded in fighting in the Nozhai-Yurt district. An unnamed pro-Moscow Chechen official told Agence France-Presse on May 23 that six Russian soldiers had been killed and 14 wounded in fighting around the republic over the previous 24 hours. The source said that Russian forces were fired on 17 times during the period and that one reconnaissance unit was ambushed. He added that three rebels in southern Chechnya were killed while trying to plant mines. Interfax reported on May 23 that two policemen guarding an oil complex in the Groznensky district were murdered on May 21. The policemen had gunshot wounds to the chest and head.


Two explosions in Ingushetia on May 23 wounded thirteen people, Itar-Tass reported. The first blast took place on the Kavkaz highway near the village of Nasyr-Kort as a column of Russian Interior Ministry trucks carrying troops drove by. Two servicemen were injured and taken to the hospital. Investigators discovered that the explosion was caused by a homemade device fashioned from a mortar round. A similar device went off 30 minutes later, wounding the chief of the Operational Direction Group for Ingushetia, the chief of staff of a military unit, the deputy commander of a company of the same unit, and eight Ingush Interior Ministry policemen.


Sergei Ignatchenko, chief of the FSB’s public relations department, said on May 23 that a Chechen extradited from Belarus had admitted participating in the 1995 raid on the town of Budennovsk in Russia’s Stavropol region, RIA Novsoti reported. Nurmagomed Khatuev, who had been on Russia’s federal wanted list, was extradited by Belarussian authorities on May 20. During the 1995 Budennovsk raid, militants led by Shamil Basaev took more than 1,500 people hostage.


Chechen Prime Minister Sergei Abramov told a cabinet meeting in Moscow on May 18 that Chechnya needs fifty years to attain an average national standard for the per capita housing area, which is currently 19 square meters, RIA Novosti reported. One hundred million dollars were invested in housing construction in Chechnya last year, with average construction costs at $400 a square meter, Abramov said, adding that major building companies are starting work in Chechnya and that housing construction promises to create 150,000 to 200,000 jobs. Still, Abramov delivered what the news agency called “alarming” statistics – that Chechnya’s unemployment rate is 70 percent while the number of outpatient clinics is 20 percent of the Russian average and the number of doctors per thousand people is half of the national average.