Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 7 Issue: 17

Chechen Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov has accused inhabitants of temporary refugee camps of cooperating with the West against Russia, MosNews reported on April 25. Kadyrov had earlier been quoted as calling for all the temporary accommodation centers in Chechnya to be closed down as soon as possible, claiming that they are “breeding grounds” for crime, drug use and prostitution (see Chechnya Weekly, April 20).

Kavkazky Uzel on April 20 quoted Kadyrov as saying that there were many “provocateurs” among those residing in temporary settlements who at various times had “flirted” with the West, which he described as “Russia’s and Chechnya’s enemies.” “Everyone who plots against Russia and the Chechen Republic and supports Wahhabis should be disclosed; further relevant bodies will deal with them; if somebody wants to play dirty games, let them play them elsewhere, be that in the West or anywhere they wish, but not here,” the website quoted Kadyrov as saying. “The majority of camp residents have kept their homes and they can return home; over the past years these people have become idle and do not wish to work and toil—the women living there have forgotten what household farming and chores are and do not wish to take a mop and bucket” Kadyrov charged that the refugees live in temporary settlements in order to receive the humanitarian assistance that a number of organizations are providing to them. MosNews, citing Reuters, quoted Kadyrov as saying: “Liquidating the refugee camps will allow us to uncover spies who are working for foreign intelligence services.

Alexander Cherkasov of the Memorial human rights center said the fact that people were not returning to their homes indicated something was wrong, MosNews reported. The real motive behind Kadyrov’s call for the closing down of the refugee settlements was to create the illusion of an improved situation in Chechnya, Cherkasov said.

Kavakzky Uzel quoted a Chechen governmental source as saying that there are currently 32 temporary settlements and 14 refugee camps in Chechnya and that the majority of them are located in Grozny. The total number of displaced persons inside Chechnya exceeds 60,000 people, the website reported. According to MosNews, tens of thousands of refugees have been living in the camps since the second Chechen war started in 1999, many of whom had lived in Grozny before Russian bombing destroyed their houses.