Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 231

Chechen first deputy premier Movladi Udugov told the Monitor yesterday: "It’s hard for me to say anything concrete on the subject of the two Chechen women accused of smuggling arms, but I am almost certain that this is a trumped-up case, just like Moscow’s previous accusations of terrorism against citizens of the Chechen Republic." (For details, see the Monitor, December 9) According to Udugov, an earlier case against two Chechen women arrested several months ago on the charge of organizing the bombing at a railway station in Kislovodsk was completely fabricated. "We insisted that Chechen investigators should be allowed to take part in the investigation, but the Russian Interior Ministry refused," Udugov told the Monitor. Udugov claims that all the "Chechen terrorist acts" (the series of bombings in Voronezh and cities in the Northern Caucasus) were inspired by the Russian security services. "Chechen citizens have not committed a single terrorist act on Russian territory since Russian troops withdrew from Chechnya," Udugov said.

Udugov’s claim cannot be substantiated: the women arrested for the terrorist act in Kislovodsk reportedly confessed to what they had done, and the two women couriers in the latest case are said to have been caught in the act. But as yet, no concrete refutation to Udugov’s charges can be made, since no details of the investigation on the "Chechen cases" have been made public.

Joint Battalion Institutionalized.