Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 9 Issue: 21

Kadyrov Named to State Council’s Presidium

President Dmitry Medvedev has named Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov a member of the presidium of the State Council, the presidential advisory body created by Vladimir Putin in 2000, Kavkazky Uzel reported on May 28. According to the Russian president’s press service, the other members of the new State Council presidium are Tula Oblast Governor Vyacheslav Dudka, Kamchatka Krai Governor Aleksei Kuzmitsky, Vologda Oblast Governor Vyacheslav Pozgalev, Novosibirsk Oblast Governor Viktor Tolokonsky, Perm Krai Governor Oleg Chirkunov and Tyumen Oblast Governor Vladimir Yakushev.

Chechen Officials Again Denounce Sivak’s Comments

Chechen officials have continued to denounce the interview that the commander of the Combined Group of Forces in the North Caucasus, Major General Nikolai Sivak, gave to the newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda, (Chechnya Weekly, May 22). Sivak stated in the interview that Chechnya’s rebels are getting support from the local population. “To accuse the local population of supporting the militants, when thousands of law-enforcement agency employees, members of the administration, religious figures and ordinary citizens of the republic have become their [the rebels’] victims, is blasphemous!” Kommersant on May 24 quoted Chechnya’s human rights ombudsman, Nurdi Nukazhiev, as saying. Nukhazhiev compared Sivak’s comments to “the far-fetched accusations against the Chechens made by the Stalin-Beria regime on the eve of the deportation in 1944.” While Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has not commented on Sivak’s remarks, the head of the information-analytical directorate of the Chechen presidential administration, Lemy Gudaeva, accused the Russian military of deliberately heating up the situation. “They need to justify their presence here, to get [promotions] and awards, and so statements about swarms of militants, about their support from the population, are appearing,” Kommersant quoted Gudaeva as saying. Nukhazhiev called on the prosecutor of the Combined Group of Forces in the North Caucasus, Maksim Toporikov, to investigate Sivak’s comments, but, according to Nukhazhiev, Toporikov refused, saying there were insufficienet grounds to do so. Nukhazhiev told Kommersant he will appeal to the Prosecutor General’s Office.

Ingush Opposition Website Suspended

Moscow’s Kuntsevsky district court on May 26 suspended, the opposition website in Ingushetia owned by Magomed Yevloev, while prosecutors investigate accusations by the republic’s authorities that it disseminates extremist material. According to Reuters, the court said in a statement that it had “upheld a motion by the Republic of Ingushetia … to order Magomed Yevloev to close his Internet activities.” Yevloev’s lawyer, Kaloi Akhigov, told Reuters the accusations against the website, which is highly critical of Ingushetia’s president, Murat Zyazikov, were political. “The website shows Ingushetia as it really is and they don’t like it,” Akhilgov said. “We are going to challenge this court order.” Reuters quoted Akhilgov as saying that is hosted in the United States, meaning that the court has to order all Internet providers in Russia to switch off the website, which, he said, will be a logistical challenge by the June 5 deadline. Reporters Without Borders issued a statement on May 27 deploring what it called the “dangerous” hounding of independent media outlets in Ingushetia. The press freedom watchdog group noted that the 19th issue of the independent paper Doch was banned from newsstands and at the airport in the Ingushetian capital, Magas, two days earlier because it contained an interview with former Ingushetian President Ruslav Aushev. “Depite the ban, Doch was distributed in Ingushetia and other places,” Reporters Without Borders stated. “But such censorship is pointless and also dangerous for freedom of expression in a region which is already very isolated.”

Chechen Government Youth Website Hacked

Computer hackers infiltrated the Chechen government’s youth website on May 23 and posted messages insulting the Russian government, RIA Novosti reported. The news agency quoted a spokesman for the republic’s youth affairs committee as saying that the hackers, who apparently gained access to the site’s server from Germany, posted photos of the slain Chechen rebel field commanders Khattab and Shamil Basaev and that the attack was aimed “at discrediting the republic’s government and the youth policy it is carrying out.” RIA Novosti reported that the hackers were believed to be from Moscow and that the website was offline while computer technicians repaired the damage.