Chechen Parliamentary Speaker Declares “Counter-Terrorist Operation” Completed

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 38

Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov, speaker of the People’s Assembly, the lower house of Chechnya’s parliament, said on October 2 that the “counter-terrorism operation” in Chechnya has been completed and claimed that only several dozen militants are still active in the republic. “We may now conclude that the operation is over,” Interfax quoted him as telling reporters in Moscow. “Some generals still want to go on with counter-terrorism, but this is not in our interest. Now everybody can walk freely in any Chechen village at any time of the day. Indeed, the counter-terrorism operation has come to an end.” He said that there are still 30-40 or perhaps a maximum of 70 militants in Chechnya and that Chechen rebel leader Dokka Umarov may no longer be in Russia. “Only Dokka Umarov is left now, and it is not even clear whether he is in the Chechen Republic or in another state,” Abdurakhmanov said.

Interfax also quoted Abdurakhmanov as saying that despite the strengthening of Russia’s regions, the issue of Chechnya’s unification with Ingushetia would not be considered in the near future. Quoting Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, Abdurakhmanov said that “we must build a life in our republic whose political stability and social security would attract other peoples.” He also denied that the murder of award-winning journalist Anna Politkovskaya could be traced back to Chechnya. “Traces must be searched for in the places where there are the most cries, the most shouts,” he said. “The West is where people are crying and shouting the most and that is where traces must be searched for.”

Meanwhile, reported on October 4 that a member of the group led by Chechen rebel leader Dokka Umarov had been captured in Grozny’s Staropromyslovsky district. The website also reported that unidentified gunmen had fired on a UAZ vehicle in Chechnya’s Vedeno district on October 3, wounding a police officer and three local residents who were in the vehicle. Also on October 3, an explosion took place in a café in Grozny, killing one policeman and wounding four others, Interfax reported. According to one account, the blast was caused by a bomb; according to another, it took place when a grenade launcher fired accidentally.