Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 2 Issue: 17

On April 24, 183 Chechen forced migrants left the “Soglasie” tent camp in Ingushetia and, accompanied by a representative of the pro-Moscow Chechen government, were moved to a refugee center located in a former kindergarten in Argun in Chechnya (RIA Novosti, April 24). The following day, a number of Russian human rights groups, including Memorial, the Movement against Force, and the Helsinki Group sent an open letter to President Putin claiming that the Russian authorities were forcing refugees from Chechnya to return to the republic against their will (Russian agencies, April 25; RFERL, April 26).

The government of the Czech Republic took a decision on April 18 to offer “temporary asylum” to 6,000 Chechen refugees who had “for three weeks been starving in a cold refugee camp in Ingushetia.” Earlier the same program had been applied by the Czech government to refugees from Bosnia and Kosovo. On the day that the Czech government’s action was reported, the Russian authorities announced that “for the time being, foreign travel passports will not be issued to Chechens” (, April 19).