Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 2 Issue: 40

On October 27, NTV reported that “the Chechen refugee camps in Ingushetia are in an emergency situation.” According to the Federal Migration Service, approximately 150 new refugees from Chechnya are arriving in Ingushetia each day, and the authorities in that republic are unable to provide them with housing or even to guarantee that they will be able physically to survive the winter. Roughly 50 percent of the tents in the refugee camps urgently need replacement. A fear for their personal safety is the chief reason that the refugees refuse to go back to Chechnya. “The constant clean-up operations by military personnel and acts of terrorism do little to convince people to want to return home” (NTV, October 27, BBC Monitoring, October 28).

On October 30, marking a day that commemorates the tragedy of political prisoners in the Soviet Union, human rights activists held a press conference in Moscow. A representative of the “Memorial” human rights society, Aleksandr Cherkasov, emphasized in his remarks that “the scale of repression carried out by the Russian state in Chechnya is comparable to that of the Stalinist era.” Comparing the number of Chechen citizens who have been extrajudicially murdered or made to disappear–persons first detained by the Russian law enforcement authorities–one is led, Cherkasov said, to the conclusion that the number of such victims is comparable to the number of victims of the Stalinist terror during the 1930s, adjusted for size of population (Prima News Agency, October 30).