Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 4 Issue: 1

Mass demonstrations in Grozny, including a strike by bus drivers, were triggered by reports that on January 14 drunken Russian soldiers had indiscriminately opened fire on a civilian bus at a checkpoint near Gudermes, east of the Chechen capital. Some Russian authorities initially confirmed the reports but later denied them. According to a January 16 article on the website, the driver of the bus was killed and four passengers were wounded. A spokesman for President Putin’s representative office in Chechnya confirmed that such checkpoints often extort bribes from civilian buses, but called the shooting an act of “hooliganism.”