Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 44

– Strasbourg Court Finds Russia Culpable in Murder of Chechen Policeman

The European Court of Human Rights ruled on November 15 that Russia was responsible for the murder of Aslanbek Kukaev, a policeman with the police department of Grozny’s Staropromyslovsky district, in the Chechen capital in November 2000. The court ordered the Russian Federation to pay the slain policeman’s father, Khamzat Kukaev, who sued Russia in the Strasbourg-based court, 7,000 euros (around $10,200) in compensation for material damage, 35,000 euros (more than $51,000) for moral damage and more than 7,000 euros for court costs. According to Dmitri Grushkin, a lawyer with the Memorial human rights who represented Khamzat Kukaev in Strasbourg, Aslanbek Kukaev disappeared near Grozny’s Central Market on November 26, 2000, when federal forces were carrying out a “special operation” in the market. According to witnesses, Aslanbek Kukaev and another Chechen policeman, Roslanbek Damaev, were stopped by federal troops involved in the special operation in the market, who were reportedly robbing merchants as they conducted the operation. Kukaev and Damaev, said witnesses demanded that the federal troops explain what they were doing, after which they were forced into a truck that federal forces used to detain other Chechen policemen. The bullet-ridden bodies of Kukaev and Damaev were found in the ruins of the Grozny Pedgogogical Institute in April 2001.

– Kadyrov Bans European-Style Wedding Dresses

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has banned the sale or rental of European-style wedding dresses in Chechnya. According to RIA Novosti, Kadyrov told a government meeting on November 14: “The heads of administration on whose territory wedding salons are located must warn their owners to cease the sale and rental of excessively open wedding dresses.” The shops must switch to selling “national wedding attire,” Kadyrov said. “Brides are symbols of modesty, and of late it has become fashionable for brides to wear dresses that are too open. If this goes farther, we will soon forget our national traditions and lose our originality.” He also called on Chechnya’s culture minister to ensure that national dance and musical groups and other artists dress modestly.