–ALKHANOV: REBELS’ RELATIVES SHOULD URGE THEM TO GIVE UP
On February 12, Chechen President Alu Alkhanov called on the relatives, friends and acquaintances of separatist fighters to urge them to surrender, Interfax reported. “Spring is ahead, and we have peaceful constructive work to do,” Alkhanov told residents of Urus-Martan. “I earnestly ask everyone who has had a son, friend, acquaintance, or fellow villager tricked into the ranks of illegal armed groups to make every effort to bring them back before they spill human blood and commit evil. In the Chechen Republic, evil has never gone without retaliation… [E]ach shot, each person who has been killed, sets off a chain of serious crimes and leads to greater tension, and we need to stop and think together how to embark on the path of prosperity and development. I am ready to take responsibility for the future of those who will voluntarily surrender their weapons and return to their families. I take personal responsibility [for this]. I declare that I am ready to take those who have gone astray under my protection.” The following day, Alkhanov strongly criticized local officials and the Spiritual Board of Muslims of Chechnya, the republic’s religious establishment, for failing to carry out “informational-propaganda work” aimed at steering young people away from “hostile ideas masquerading as religious truths,” Kavkazky Uzel reported on February 14.
–PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS SET FOR OCTOBER
The head of Chechnya’s Central Election Commission, Ismail Baikhanov, told Golos Rossii (the Voice of Russia) on February 15 that Chechnya’s parliamentary elections will be held in October 2005. “After carrying out parliamentary elections, the Chechen Republic will have a legislative branch,” Baikhanov told the radio station. “It is the final stage in the formation of constitutional organs of governance for the republic.”
The Russian-Chechen Friendship Society reported on February 14 that members of “unidentified power structures” detained four residents of Novye Atagi in the Shali district during a “targeted” zachistki, or mopping-up operations, in the village on February 12-13. Radio Liberty’s Russian service reported on February 9 that six people, including a two-year old girl, had been kidnapped in Chechnya. Also on February 9, the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society reported that unidentified people in camouflage uniforms and masks had abducted four young women in the Shali district center as they were waiting on line at the local Sberbank (Savings Bank) branch to receive unemployment compensation payments.
…AS DOES VIOLENCE IN DAGESTAN AND INGUSHETIA
The Caucasus Times website reported on February 14 that three terrorist attacks were carried out in Makhachkala, Dagestan’s capital over February 11-14. A bomb exploded in a vacant lot between a mosque and the republic’s newspaper-magazine publishing complex, not far from a police checkpoint. No one was injured. On February 13, a bomb exploded as a police car was driving along Amet-Khan Sultan Prospekt. No one was injured in that bombing. Later on February 13, another bomb was detonated as another police car drove along Ulitsa Promyshlennoe Shosse, killing a police sergeant and wounding three other passengers. Meanwhile, an FSB officer was killed and another wounded in a shootout with a militant on the outskirts of Nazran, Ingushetia, on February 11. According to police, the militant, who also died in the battle, had taken part in the attack on Ingush police installations in June 2004, Itar-Tass reported.