Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 36

– Chechen Interior Ministry: Most Rebel Leaders Dead

Chechen Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov claimed on September 16 that practically all the heads of the larger rebel groups in Chechnya, from the so-called brigadier generals of Ichkeria and front commanders on down, have been killed, ITAR-Tass reported. “If the odious head of the terrorists Doku Umarov was located in Chechnya, he would be destroyed,” Alkhanov told journalists. He claimed that special operations by security forces had destroyed the command-and-control of the rebels, who, he said, have no support within the Chechen population and are incapable of mounting large-scale operations. Kavkazky Uzel reported on September 17 that a close associate of Chechen rebel Dokka Umarov, Rustam Vechigov, had been killed in a special operation during which two police officers were wounded.

– Chechen Children Die in Polish Mountains

Kommersant reported on September 17 that three Chechen girls suspected of trying to illegally cross into Poland were found dead on September 14 in a mountainous region in Poland close to the Ukrainian border along with their mother and two-year-old brother, who were still alive. According to the newspaper, border officials believe the girls, aged 6, 10 and 13, either starved or froze to death after the family lost its way in the mountains. Kommersant quoted a spokesman for the Chechen diaspora in the European Parliament as saying the family probably paid someone to smuggle them across the border, but were later swindled out of their money and abandoned.

– Kadyrov Urges Polygamy for Russians Living in Chechnya

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has once again spoken out in favor of polygamy, adding on this occasion that it would be good for Russians as well as Chechens, reported on September 17. “Polygamy must be for love,” Kadyrov said while answering questions from readers of the newspaper Komsomolskaya pravda. “It is not forbidden here. On the contrary, we welcome it. Our customs welcome it. Our misfortune is that we have 30 percent more women than men. If each will have 3-4 wives, there will be no problems. And Russian men here in the republic can also have several wives. We will welcome that also. But only if they marry Russians.”

– Former Chechen District Chief Arrested for Politkovskaya Murder

Shamil Buraev, the former head of Chechnya’s Achkhoi-Martan district who ran for the republic’s presidency in 2003, was arrested on September 13 and accused of organizing the contract killing of Anna Politkovskaya. As the New York Times reported on September 16, Buraev, who was dismissed from his post as Achkhoi-Martan chief several years ago, was detained in Moscow. Prosecutor General Yury Chaika announced last month that 10 people, including a police major, three former police officers, a FSB lieutenant colonel and a Chechen crime boss, had been arrested for their roles in Politkovskaya’s killing. Novye izvestia on September 19 quoted Chechen politicians and journalists as insisting that Buraev could not have been involved in Politkovskaya’s murder, noting that he “shared Politkovskaya’s views.”

– FSB Officers Wounded, Militant Killed in Kabardino-Balkaria Battle

Russian security services on September 13 killed an armed militant after gunmen tried to blow up a law-enforcement vehicle in the village of Khasanya outside Kabardino-Balkaria’s capital, Nalchik, the Associated Press reported. No one was injured in the explosion that hit the car belonging to the regional division of the FSB. Several hours later, police and security forces cordoned off Khasanya, detaining people and questioning suspects, the regional Interior Ministry said. After stopping one suspicious car, the driver opened fire on FSB security agents, wounding three before being killed. An explosive device then detonated inside the car, torching its interior, the ministry said.