–CONTROVERSIAL FILM NIXED
A film festival in Chicago has unexpectedly canceled plans to include Russian director Andrei Nekrasov’s documentary about the 1999 apartment bombings that helped Vladimir Putin justify the second Chechen war (see Chechnya Weekly, January 21). According to an April 4 report on the Grani.ru website, the film Disbelief was removed from the schedule just a few days before the festival.
–KREMLIN SEEN DEFENDING CHECHNYA POLICIES
The appointment of Sergei Yastrzhembsky as Russia’s new representative to the European Union is being interpreted by west European leaders as a sign that the Putin administration is giving a high priority to defending its policies on Chechnya. It also shows that the Kremlin continues to reject the west’s criticisms of those policies, for which Yastrzhembsky has been the Moscow’s chief spokesman. As a German political scientist told Nezavisimaya gazeta last week, “one has to keep in mind that Yastrzhembsky is seen in the west as someone with close ties to Russia’s security agencies.”