Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 4 Issue: 27

Correspondent Ruslan Isaev of Prague Watchdog reported on July 21 that federal servicemen detained eight residents of Grozny’s Chernorechnye district, including three girls, in a July 16 “zachistka.” According to eyewitnesses, the operation was conducted not by police of the Kadyrov administration but by Russian soldiers, who burst into the victims’ apartments without explanation.

Isaev quoted the three girls–Malika Zaurbekova, Fatima Zaurbekova and Ayza Impiyeva–as follows:

“They took all of us, men and women, from Chernorechnye in one military truck within a convoy of vehicles. The journey lasted about half an hour with stops. They put black plastic bags over our heads and sealed the positions of our eyes with Scotch tape. When we arrived, they took us up some stairs and placed us in a room. They laid us face down on the floor. The youths were in the room with us. We heard how they were beaten and insulted.

“We were interrogated one by one. They wanted to know where are the guerrilla fighters. They showed us photographs of people and asked whether we knew them. They also asked Ayza why Khava Baraeva (the first woman to carry out a suicide attack at a Russian military post, in 2000) blew herself up.

“They kept us in this position till the morning. They gave us nothing to drink or eat. When one of the youths asked for water, they refused and offered it to us instead–but we refused. This made the soldiers furious and they started shouting vulgar curses. Yelling ‘So you know them and you ganged up with them,’ they hit Malika in the back with the butt of a sub-machine gun. In the morning at daybreak they took us in a car and dumped us at the outskirts of Grozny on Staropromyslovskoye road.”

The girls said that some of their Russian guards were upset that women had been captured and quarreled with their comrades over this issue. They thought that this was the reason why they had not been too severely abused.

According to Isaev, the fate of the five male detainees remains unknown. After the episode, Grozny residents found the bodies of two men in a pit in the center of the city; apparently both had been killed by gunfire, with their corpses then dismembered by a hand grenade.