April 7th 2007 · Prague Watchdog · PRINTER FRIENDLY FORMAT · E-MAIL THIS

The Month in Brief - March 2007

March 1

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was proposing Chechen Premier Ramzan Kadyrov's candidacy for the post of Chechen president to the Chechen parliament.

On the initiative of Chechen Premier Ramzan Kadyrov, the office of the Chechen Human Rights Commissioner organized a conference on human rights in Grozny. Representatives of leading Russian and foreign human rights organizations did not take part in it.

March 2

The Chechen parliament almost unanimously confirmed Premier Ramzan Kadyrov as President of the Chechen Republic. reported that the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg admitted a complaint by Stanislav Dmitrievsky, director of the recently closed NGO Russian-Chechen Friendship Society, against the sentence he received for publishing statements by Chechen resistance leaders Aslan Maskhadov and Akhmed Zakayev.

March 3

Ichkerian President Dokka Umarov issued a decree by which top Chechen guerrilla commander Supyan Abdullayev was appointed new vice-president of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, according to the March 19 report by the Internet news agency KavkazCenter.

Chechnya's public prosecutor Valery Kuznetsov announced that a grave containing the remains of former Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia was found in Grozny.

Alu Alkhanov, who resigned as Chechen President on February 15, was removed from the political council of the Chechen branch of the United Russia party.

March 4

Ramzan Kadyrov, President of the Chechen Republic, said he would ask the Kremlin for a new amnesty aimed mainly at former guerrillas who now live outside Chechnya.

March 5

Ichkerian President and Chechen resistance leader Dokka Umarov called on the Muslims of the Caucasus and Russia to take part in a "jihad" and fight against Russia and the Kremlin-backed Chechen government, according to his statement posted on the pro-guerrilla website Chechenpress.

March 7

The Kremlin-backed Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov dismissed Grozny's mayor Movsar Temirbayev, replacing him with Muslim Khuchiyev, the first deputy head of the presidential and government office and also one of the two formal rivals to Kadyrov in the recent presidential selection process.

The Kremlin-backed Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov appointed Khalid Vaykhanov, Chechen vice-premier in charge of social issues, as Secretary of the Council for Economic and Public Security of the Chechen Republic. Vaykhanov replaced German Vok, who resigned on February 8.

According to the March 30 reports by pro-guerrilla websites, Ichkerian President Dokka Umarov signed a series of decrees in which he ordered the formation of a representation of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria abroad and appointed Umar Dakayev its head. Umarov also appointed the new deputy prime minister (Souleyman Imurzayev aka Amir Khayrulla), finance minister (Said-Emin Dadayev), director of the National Security Service (Tarkhan Gaziyev), interior minister (Khussein Gakayev) and chairman of the Supreme Shariah Court of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (Mansour Yovmirzayev).

Chechen Parliament approved Magomed Vakhayev as chairman of Chechnya's Constitutional Court. Vakhayev, whose candidacy was proposed President Kadyrov, has been Chechen Labour and Social Development Minister since 2000.

March 8

Regular civilian passenger flights, which had been suspended for nearly a decade, resumed between Grozny and Moscow.

The Kremlin-backed Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov nominated first deputy prime minister Odes Baysultanov for the post of Chechen premier.

March 12

The Kremlin-backed Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov appointed Deputy Prime Minister Khuseyn Dzhabrailov as his special representative in Moscow.

President Putin signed a decree reducing the term of military conscription. As of 2008, the term will be one year for all groups of conscripts.

March 13

The Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) released a public statement on the Chechen Republic, criticising torture, unlawful detentions and lack of effective investigations as well as the failure of Russian authorities to cooperate with the CPT on core issues.

March 14

Prisoners who are former residents of Chechnya and are serving their sentence in Russian regions will be transferred to prisons in Chechnya, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov announced after a meeting in Grozny with Eduard Petrukhin, deputy director of the Russian detention system. The transfer will not apply to those who are serving a life sentence or, probably, those who have been sentenced for terrorism.

Oumar Khambiyev, a former minister and representative of the slain Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov, announced that he was going to request political asylum in Italy. The statement was made during President Putin's visit to Italy.

Dikalu Muzakayev, leader of the "Vaynakh" folk dance ensemble, replaced Movla Osmayev as Minister of Culture of the Chechen Republic.

March 15

The Russian daily Vedomosti wrote that Moscow was recalling its representative at the European Court of Human Rights, Pavel Laptev, allegedly due to a high number of lost cases at the Court. Laptev took up the post in 1999.

The Kremlin-backed Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov said that the Chechen Constitution would be amended by a nationwide referendum.

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) Switzerland said that a Swiss court had rejected a lawsuit by the Dutch government seeking to recover ransom money paid to release of Arjan Erkel, a Dutch MSF worker abducted in Dagestan in August 2002 and not set free until April 2004.

March 16

The Kremlin-backed Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov announced the launch of criminal proceedings in connection with alleged torture at a detention facility based in Urus-Martan and controlled by the Russian Interior Ministry's ill-famed police unit ORB-2.

March 18

Sheikh Ravil Gaynutdin, the head of Russia’s Muslim community, visited Chechnya.

March 19

The Kremlin-backed Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov vowed to put an end to all remaining guerrilla activity in Chechnya within two months.

March 21

The Chechen parliament asked Moscow for billions of roubles to fund annual payment of compensation to people who suffered political repression during World War 2.

Veronika Milinchuk replaced Pavel Laptev as Russia's representative at the European Court of Human Rights.

Takhir Batayev, aka Amir Takhir, commander of the northeastern front of the Chechen resistance forces, was killed in a shoot-out with federal forces in Gudermes.

A Moscow region court jury declared a guilty verdict in the case of two defendants accused of bombing a Grozny-Moscow train in June 2005.

March 23

In Nazran, unknown armed men attacked three relatives of Ingushetian President Murat Zyazikov and kidnapped the president's 79-year-old uncle Uruskhan Zyazikov.

Four guerrillas have been killed in a clash with federal troops near the village of Tazen-Kale in Chechnya's Vedensky district.

March 24

A group of federal servicemen opened fire on three local women in the village of Urdyukhoi in Chechnya's Shatoysky district. One of the women died on the spot. The servicemen were detained.

March 26

German media reported that federal German authorities had rejected an application for political asylum by former Ichkerian social affairs minister Apti Bisultanov, who left Russia in 2002. However, Bisultanov would not be handed over to the Russian authorities.

General Mikhail Kolesnikov, who served as Chief of Joint Staff of the Russian Armed Forces during the First Chechen War, died, aged 68, the Russian daily Kommersant reported.

President Bush hosted in the Oval Office the co-chairs of a U.S.-Russian commission on missing soldiers. One of the two co-chairs was Russian general Vladimir Shamanov, who has been accused of overseeing atrocities against civilians during the second war in Chechnya.

Georgia lodged with the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights an inter-state complaint against the Russian Federation in an effort to get damages for the alleged violations of the rights of over two thousands citizens of Georgia and ethnic Georgians that have been taking place in Russia after four Russian service personnel were detained in Tbilisi on suspicion of espionage on September 27, 2006.

March 26 - 31

The Kremlin-backed Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov visited Saudi Arabia, in particular to carry out the Umrah, or the lesser Hajj, in Mecca prior to his inauguration scheduled for April 5.

Compiled by Prague Watchdog. Along with these monthly summaries, we also publish weekly summaries, distributing them on Mondays to the subscribers of our free weekly newsletter.




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