Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 2 Issue: 32

On September 6, the tenth anniversary of the day celebrated by Chechen separatists as Independence Day, the online daily Gazeta.ru reported that extra-tight security measures were in effect in the capital, Djohar (Grozny), after the explosion of a bomb on September 3 in the office of the pro-Moscow Chechen administration. On September 4, rebels launched two more attacks against the federal forces in the city, planting a bomb, which was defused, in the basement of the state-controlled TV/radio broadcasting company and attacking the city police headquarters with grenade launchers. From early Tuesday morning on, “Armed [Russian] policemen guarded each and every checkpoint and would not allow any vehicle driven by a civilian into the city.” Gazeta.ru also reported that law enforcement officials had come to a preliminary conclusion that the bomb that had rocked the premises of the Chechen administration on September 3 “was brought into the building by a 27-year-old janitor Khizhan Orzieeva [the name is spelled differently in other press reports]. The employees say that she evidently looked nervous that day. The investigators think that she may have carried the explosive device into the building inside a vacuum cleaner.”

On September 6, on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Chechnya’s declaration of independence from Russia, two small demonstrations were held in Moscow, one on Pushkin Square and the other at the Lubyanka, where the FSB headquarters are located. Not a single person except for the organizers and journalists attended the Pushkin Square demonstration. “Instead of drawing thousands of people, the rally drew only some thirty people, including journalists.” Salambek Maigov, head of the NGO Chechen Solidarity, explained to Radio Liberty. “People don’t think public opinion can influence the decisions of those in power. As far as Chechen people are concerned, they are just afraid to come to such meetings.” A 25-year-old Russian woman, Vika Morozova, spoke for perhaps many when she remarked, “People are losing faith in the idea that they can change things through their actions” (RFE/RL, September 7). At the Lubyanka protest meeting, seven persons held up posters reading, “No to War” and “Independence for Chechnya.” “Immediately,” the newspaper Kommersant reported, “police ran up to them and asked them to leave. To this the supporters of Chechen independence answered that they had followed the established legal procedure to announce their intention to conduct a picket. The police, in their turn, reminded the strugglers for freedom that they had received a refusal to conduct the action…. Additional police arrived, and the activists were physically escorted to a bus.” The demonstrators were then taken to the Kitai-Gorod Police Station in Moscow (Kommersant, September 7).