Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 22

On July 18, during the course of a “cleansing operation,” armed men from the federal forces based in Chechnya unlawfully broke down a locked door and then entered the reception area of the Grozny (Djohar) office of the leading Russian human rights organization Memorial. Only the immediate and extremely vigorous reaction of the staff of the reception room, led by Lidiya Yusupova, supervisor of the room, who returned to the office from a break and saw that the soldiers had entered the premises, succeeded in cutting off the illegal operation. Approximately 5,000 rubles worth of damage was committed during the forced incursion; complaints have been submitted to the procuracy and to the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs. “The office of ‘Memorial’,” a press release by the organization noted, “has been located in the center of Grozny since October of 2000, providing free legal assistance to forced migrants and to all of those suffering from the armed conflict…. It is completely obvious that [the incursion]… had the goal of halting the work of Memorial in Grozny and of frightening the employees in the reception area” (, July 19).