Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 6

On February 6 while in Mozdok, North Ossetia, the Russian Minister of Internal Affairs, Boris Gryzlov, chaired a meeting of the leaders of law enforcement organs of the North Caucasus region and of the command of MVD forces fighting in Chechnya. He announced that, prior to April 1, 2002, the number of checkpoints manned by the MVD in Chechnya would be reduced to fifteen. A decision was also taken during the meeting to liquidate all checkpoints located within the Chechen capital. The checkpoints are to placed only along the perimeter of the city. In Gryzlov’s words, the process of their removal to the perimeter would take three to four months (Interfax-AVN, February 6; Kommersant, February 7). Writing in the February 7 issue of Kommersant, journalist Musa Muradov commented: “The [pro-Moscow] leaders of Chechnya have long sought to achieve a reduction in the number of checkpoints, deeming that their excessive number (in Grozny alone there are about twenty of them) only hinders the process of reestablishing peaceful life. According to the premier of Chechnya, Stanislav Il’yasov, who attended the meeting [with Gryzlov], even high-ranking officials, not to speak of average people, are forced to stand for hours in line when the soldiers give the command. But, for the rebels… the checkpoints present no problems…. They make use of roads and paths that are not controlled by the soldiers.”