Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 5 Issue: 15


A Russian citizen who specializes in studying the country’s ethnic minorities has found disturbing new evidence of ethnic-Russian chauvinism even in the country’s mainstream news media. Suliyeta Kusova, head of the Association on Ethnic Problems, found that crossword puzzles in the solid, respectable Moscow media often displayed Islamophobia and contempt for Caucasians and Central Asians. She spoke of her report to a March 28-30 conference in Moscow on “Ways to Overcome Xenophobia, Racial Discrimination and anti-Semitism in the Multiethnic Russian Federation.” (Kusova is an ethnic Cherkess–one of the traditionally Islamic peoples of the northern Caucasus.)

Kusova cited the following examples from crossword clues and their answers. Clue: Religion often smelling of Bin-Ladin. Answer: Islam. Clue: Who is a crude, uncultured and harsh man? Answer: an Asian. Clue: A Caucasian terrorist. Answer: Abrek. The abreks were leaders of the Caucasian resistance to the invading Russians during the period of the Romanov empire’s expansion–and their story shares similarities with those of Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull and other Indian warriors in nineteenth century America.


The Kadyrov administration has been intensifying its efforts to win control of yet another channel of federal subsidies–the federal directorate for construction and restoration in Chechnya. According to an April 9 article by Ivan Sukhov for Vremya novostei, Kadyrov wants to liquidate that structure, in effect putting its funds for repairing war damage under his own control. On April 8 Kadyrov and his new prime minister, Sergei Abramov, were in Moscow to lobby for their position. While the fate of the directorate remained undecided, its activities had been frozen.


The terrorist warlord Shamil Basaev has claimed responsibility for a recent, unsuccessful assassination attempt on Murat Zyazikov, president of Ingushetia. In an e-mail message published by the extremist website Kavkaz-Center, Basaev said that a “military court” organized by his separatist guerrillas had sentenced Zyazikov to death for his cooperation with Moscow’s policies of “genocide against the Chechens and Ingush.” The message promised that Basaev’s men would keep trying to kill Zyazikov, and that within a month they would succeed.