Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 2 Issue: 2

On December 30, the Toronto Globe and Mail published a summary of an interview conducted with Marie Struthers, a Montreal native and researcher for Human Rights Watch, who had just returned from a two-week mission to Ingushetia, where she had interviewed more than thirty refugees from Chechnya. The human rights team “heard descriptions of at least twenty instances of torture and abuse by Russian forces in Chechnya, including consistent testimony about the use of electroshock and severe beatings. They also documented at least ten cases in which Chechens disappeared after they were detained by Russian forces.”

On January 3 President Putin’s special representative for human rights in Chechnya, Vladimir Kalamanov, informed Itar-Tass that if major changes in providing food for forced migrants from Chechnya located in Ingushetia did not occur “in the next few days,” then he would take “the harshest possible measures,” including approaching the courts and Russian General Procuracy. He threatened to open criminal cases against those Russian ministries and agencies responsible for caring for the refugees. Several days previously, Kalamanov noted, the handing out of bread to the refugees had been resumed. “What an outrage!” he exclaimed. “Now we are supposed to take joy at the mere fact that they are giving out bread!”