Kadyrov Tells Medvedev All’s Well as Violence in Chechnya Continues

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 9 Issue: 30

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov told President Dmitry Medvedev during their meeting at the presidential residence in Gorki outside Moscow on July 25 that the situation in Chechnya is stable and reconstruction is accelerating. “The situation in our republic is stable both politically and socio-economically, and the process of the republic’s reconstruction and construction is growing faster, gaining pace,” Interfax quoted Kadyrov as saying. He added that the focus this year is on the republic’s mountainous areas, noting that these areas were traditionally strong in agriculture and that their reconstruction is particularly important for the republic.

Medvedev asked about the vacations of Chechen children and the run-up to the upcoming parliamentary elections in the republic, Itar-Tass reported. According to the news agency, Kadyrov informed Medvedev that many Chechen children spend their vacations in neighboring Russian regions every year, particularly the Stavropol and Krasnodar territories. “Though we have better places than in other regions of the country,” Kadyrov said, adding that he meant Chechnya’s highland districts above all. Medvedev agreed that some places in the Chechen highland districts are very beautiful and said “it would be good for children to vacation not only in other Russian regions, but also at home,” which would also help the republic’s economy, Itar-Tass reported. Responding to Medvedev’s question about Chechnya’s upcoming parliamentary elections, Kadyrov said the republican authorities had decided to shift from a one-chamber to a two-chamber parliament. “It will be better for the republic on the whole to have a one-chamber parliament,” Kadyrov said, adding that he hoped “people who are ready to work and approve the laws needed for the people” would be elected to the republic’s parliament.

Kadyrov’s meeting with the Russian president took place against the backdrop of continued low-level attacks by insurgents in Chechnya. Itar-Tass reported on July 30 that a federal Interior Ministry serviceman was killed and three others injured in a clash with gunmen the previous day. “Officers of the temporary operational police group of the Russian Interior Ministry and servicemen of the Interior Troops engaged in a fight with about 30 gunmen in a forest three kilometers away from Malye Varandy in the Grozny district on Tuesday [July 29] afternoon,” a republican law-enforcement source told the news agency. “During the shootout a contract serviceman was killed, [and] the squad commander and other two contract servicemen were injured and hospitalized.” According to RIA Novosti, there were no reported casualties among the gunmen.

The Associated Press, meanwhile, quoted Russia’s Interior Ministry as reporting that a serviceman was killed on July 28 when a patrol was fired on near Shatoi in the mountains of southern Chechnya. RIA Novosti quoted a police source as saying the shootout took place one kilometer from the Shatoi district village of Syuzhi. “Militants ambushed servicemen on a reconnaissance mission and opened fire,” the source told the news agency. “One contract serviceman was killed in the brief skirmish.” The source said that the attackers escaped but that some of them may have been wounded.

On July 27, unidentified gunmen fired automatic rifles and grenade launchers at a police headquarters in the village of Khatuni in Chechnya’s Vedeno district. No one in the headquarters, which is manned by police deployed from Perm Krai, was hurt in the attack, Kavkazky Uzel reported. On July 25, a 22-year-old Grozny resident who had been detained by police in the Chechen capital’s central market and taken to a police headquarters in Grozny’s Zavodsky district, pulled out a pistol hidden on his body, shot dead a police officer and then barricaded himself in one of the headquarters’ rooms. Kavkazky Uzel reported that the detainee, who was identified as Kazbek Ibragimov and described as an “active participant in illegal armed formations” who had committed serious crimes, was himself killed when police stormed the room.

An agronomist who worked at the Roshnya state farm in Chechnya’s Urus-Martan district was murdered on July 28. Kavkazky Uzel reported that the killing took place in the village of Roshin-chu when unidentified persons in camouflage uniforms took the agronomist out of his house and shot him to death. Interfax reported that after the shooting, the perpetrators, numbering between three and five, drove away in three cars toward the Urus-Martan district village of Gekhi.

Meanwhile, Chechen OMON riot police on July 24 reportedly beat and detained several dozen women who had gathered outside of Ramzan Kadyrov’s residence in Gudermes the previous day to request the Chechen president’s help. Kavkazky Uzel quoted an anonymous participant in the demonstration as saying that it involved more than 100 women who had previously made a living selling goods in Grozny’s central market. That market was closed down for repairs on July 14, with a whole section of the market shut down permanently. The source said that the women had gone to Gudermes to ask Kadyrov to provide a place for them where they could continue to sell their goods.