Fifteen members of the former OMON detachment in Riga are going on trial before a district court in the Latvian capital today. The crack unit of the USSR Internal Affairs Ministry was involved in attacks on Latvian customs and police posts during 1990-91, when Moscow and its local supporters attempted to crush the Latvian independence movement. Most of the defendants are charged with involvement in armed attacks that resulted in homicide and other crimes.
Another forty-eight members of the detachment, including its senior officers, are wanted for this trial but are known to have found a haven in Russia and in the breakaway Transdniester region of Moldova. Some have been granted Russian citizenship. Some have been reemployed by Russia’s Internal Affairs Ministry. Moscow has turned down Latvia’s requests to extradite them. (BNS, Itar-Tass, February 14)
A group of senior former OMON and KGB officers from Riga hold senior posts in Transdniester. The head of this group, ex-OMON Major Vladimir Antufeev, became state security minister of Transdniester under the assumed name of Vadim Shevtsov and currently holds the rank of lieutenant general, overseeing Transdniester’s security, internal affairs and intelligence bodies.
A Valentine Card for NATO from Minsk.