Rights Group Publicizes Violent Raid In Grozny

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 5 Issue: 1

On December 19 the human rights center Memorial published a detailed account of a raid on Chechen civilians in Grozny’s Lenin district. The victims of the attack were residents of one of the Kadyrov administration’s temporary resettlement centers for new returnees from Ingushetia. These are the same refugees who have repeatedly been told by the administration that it is now safe for them to come back to Chechnya. The refugees are certain that the attackers were Chechens–indeed, that they were troops from one of the Kadyrov administration’s own security agencies.

The attack took place on the evening of December 8. A large group of masked gunmen descended on the resettlement center, forcibly disarmed and beat its two guards (who had only one pistol between them), then dispersed through the building while beating every refugee whom they encountered. They shouted abuse in Russian.

Stunningly, according to the Memorial account the attackers quickly backed down when one of the administrators of the resettlement center, a Chechen woman, told one of them “I can see from your eyes that you are a Chechen.” After that the gunmen no longer tried to conceal that they were in fact Chechens, and they soon left without taking any captives.

The residents of the resettlement center have since sent a written protest to Kadyrov, demanding that his administration defend them from further such attacks by its gunmen. They have received no reply. The Kadyrov-controlled local television station has ignored the event, and the security agencies have responded with silence.