Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 9 Issue: 31

Newspaper Closed in Dagestan

The federal Prosecutor General’s Office announced in August 6 that the Chernovik newspaper in Dagestan had been closed down for spreading extremist views. Reuters quoted the office as saying in a statement that Chernovik had had glorified rebels and insulted Russian federal forces in an article headlined “Number One Terrorists.” “They lionize terrorists and prompt the reader to conclude that Russia’s constitutional order must be overthrown,” said the statement, published on the office’s website. “The text of the article distorts the religious situation, calling for ‘heads to be cut off infidels’ and banning the reading of religious texts in Russian.” Chernovik’s editor, Nadir Isaev, told Reuters his newspaper was not promoting militant Islam and was just following an independent editorial agenda. “One of the pillars of democracy is an independent media which can criticize the authorities,” he said. The newspaper’s closure took place against the backdrop of ongoing violence in Dagestan. On August 7, four offices in the building of the city prosecutor’s office in Kizlyar were set on fire by several people wearing masks. According to Itar-Tass, the attackers overpowered guards and threw Molotov cocktails into windows of the building’s ground floor.

Karachaevo-Cherkessia Gets a New President

On August 5, a special session of Karachaevo-Cherkessia’s parliament confirmed Boris Ebzeyev as the republic’s new president, Itar-Tass reported. Ebzeyev, who served as a Russian Constitutional Court judge for the last seventeen years, was nominated by President Dmitry Medvedev to replace Mustafa Batdyev as Karachaevo-Cherkessia’s president. The Moscow Times reported on August 1 that in 1995, Ebzeyev was the only Constitutional Court judge to criticize decrees issued by then-President Boris Yeltsin ordering federal troops to crush separatists into Chechnya. Ebzeyev said the decrees violated Russia’s constitution. Ebzeyev is an ethnic Karachai, the republic’s largest indigenous group.