Chechen Press Minister Bislan Gantamirov sacked
Timur Aliyev, North Caucasus - Chechen Press Minister Bislan Gantamirov has been removed from office and his ministry was merged with the Chechen Ministry for Ethnic Groups, according to decrees signed by Premier of the Moscow-backed Chechen government, Anatoly Popov, on September 2.
Former Minister for Ethnic Groups, Taus Jabrailov, was appointed head of the new ministry, and journalist Khamzat Umkayev became deputy minister.
The reorganization of the Press Ministry and the Ministry for Ethnic Group was officially explained as an aim toward "creating an efficient structure of the republic's executive bodies".
Employees of the Press Ministry think that the liquidation of their ministry is directly linked to the election campaign of Akhmad Kadyrov, head of the Moscow-backed administration of the Chechen Republic. Kadyrov, who runs for the post of the President of the Chechen Republic in a Moscow-organized election, is now away on holiday, and Premier Popov took over until the election, which is scheduled for October 5.
"This is a continuation of what began two weeks ago, when we tried to stage a boycott against an alleged plan to remove Gantamirov. This time, however, Kadyrov's team were smarter from a legal point of view, so we cannot raise objections against it," said Adlan Sagaipov, an editor of the "Molodyoznaya smena" newspaper.
In protest against the liquidation of the ministry and the dismissal of Gantamirov, only the whole staff of the Chechen radio in Grozny handed in their notice. According to the Russian media, this morning the staff of the Grozny State Television and Radio Broacasting company refused to go on the air.
Thus far, the reorganization of the ministries has been calm. However, 5-10 members of Kadyrov's security force are stationed alongside the Press Ministry building.
In June two other ministries were abolisted - the Transport Ministry and the Fuel and Energy Ministry, and their agendas taken over by other ministries.
(T) RELATED ARTICLES:
· Chechen journalists ready to stage boycott (PW, 21.8.2003)