Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 2 Issue: 41

In an article entitled “Anarchy under the ‘Roof’ of a Military Commandant’s Office,” which appeared in the November 6 issue of Novye Izvestia, journalist Zoya Svetova wrote that, “The residents of the village of Alkhazurovo, in the Urus-Martan District of Chechnya, have written a letter to the Procurator General of Russia, Vladimir Ustinov.” Because there was little hope that Ustinov would ever receive the letter, Svetova chose to summarize its contents. “More than 100 residents of the village,” she reported, “signed a demand that a criminal case be opened against the [local] military commandant, General Geidar Gadzhiev. Anyone who knows the realities of contemporary Chechnya is well aware that only people who have nothing to lose would resolve to take such a step. The local residents fear the military and prefer not to enter into conflict with them, all the more to complain against them.”

On the evening of October 8, the villagers wrote to Ustinov, troops under the command of General Gadzhiev blockaded the village. At dawn on the following day, there began a mopping-up operation. No one from the village or district administration or from the procuracy was present at the time of the operation. “The military drove all men younger than age 60 out of their homes and then transported a part of them to the territory of the ‘Trud’ State Farm, where they subjected them to demeaning procedures and fingerprinting and forced them to stand for hours in cattle stalls. They beat them and tortured them with electric shock treatment, and several of them were held for days.” On October 11, a large crowd of civilians gathered near the state farm and demanded that the troops “cease their mockery of the populace.” General Gadzhiev then directed a stream of curses at them and struck a pregnant woman, Raisa Murtalieva, with his fists. The woman was taken to the hospital, where she suffered a miscarriage. The human rights organization Memorial has collected a number of testimonies which demonstrate that General Gadzhiev is guilty of covering up kidnappings and the abducting of Chechen civilians perpetrated by the federal forces.