Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 4 Issue: 28

Far from disappearing, federal checkpoints in Chechnya have become an essential part of the family economy of the Russian troops who staff them. Mainat Abdulaeva, Grozny correspondent for Novaya gazeta, reported on July 24 how one of the OMON special police officers manning a checkpoint called Kavkaz recently climbed aboard an inter-city bus in which she was traveling.

The officer announced politely: “Ladies and gentlemen who have problems with your passports: If there is no stamp certifying your Russian citizenship, or if the second photograph is missing, or if there is no temporary registration for your place of residence–you are to put ten rubles inside your documents. Ladies and gentlemen who have no passports at all are to pay fifty rubles. Men who would prefer not to get out of the bus for a personal inspection, put ten rubles into your passport.” It was clear to Abdulaeva that for the young officer and his colleagues, this was a routine market transaction.