The Month in Brief - January 2006
Sultan Bilimkhanov, deputy speaker of the Moscow-backed Chechen Parliament, died in Moscow from injuries he suffered in a car accident near the Chechen village of Koshkeldy on December 16.
Local and federal forces clashed with the guerrillas in Dagestan's Untsukulsky district. Russian marines, artillery and aviation were used in the operation. Several dead were reported on each side.
Abductions represent the biggest problem of the present-day Chechnya, although their number decreased in 2005, stated Lyudmila Alekseyeva of the Moscow Helsinki Group, blaming both guerrillas and government forces for them.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a controversial bill on NGOs, which boosts state control of them. The law will come into force in three months.
A closed-door jury trial in the murder of US journalist Paul Khlebnikov, the chief editor of the Russian version of the Forbes magazine, who was shot dead on July 9, 2004, started at the Moscow City Court. Chechen nationals are among the accused.
Acting Moscow-backed Chechen Premier Ramzan Kadyrov said that polygamy should be introduced in Chechnya since war in going on there and women outnumber men. In another statement that day, he offered a USD 10 million bounty for Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev.
In Dagestan's Sergokalinsky district, security forces killed Shamil Abidov, the alleged commander of the "Shariah" group and a close associate of Rappani Khalilov, a Dagestan-born top guerrilla commander operating in Chechnya and Dagestan, Russian sources reported.
Acting Moscow-backed Chechen Premier Ramzan Kadyrov ordered security forces to promptly curb the illegal sale and distribution of drugs and alcohol.
The Office of Russia's Prosecutor General announced that the British NGO Centre for Peacemaking and Community Development (CPCD) had been banned from operating in Ingushetiya by the republic's Supreme Court due to the organization's failure to get the necessary licence for work in the region.
The Moscow-backed Chechen President Alu Alkhanov announced that Khayrudi Visingeriyev, the first aide to the acting Moscow-backed Chechen Premier Ramzan Kadyrov, became the new Secretary of the Security Council of the Chechen Republic, replacing Rudnik Dudayev, who died in Grozny on December 11, 2005.
The European Parliament adopted a resolution on Chechnya, which, among other things, criticizes the November 2005 parliamentary elections in Chechnya as well as the strengthening of government control over NGOs in Russia, and calls for the dropping of all charges against Russian human rights defender and journalist Stanislav Dmitriyevsky, the trial against whom resumed in Russia's Nizhny Novgorod on the same day.
Said-Emin Ibragimov, chairman of the International Association for Peace and Human Rights, who on December 10 started a hunger strike to persuade European organizations to help resolve the Chechen conflict, suspended his protest after PACE chairman Walter Schwimmer assured him that PACE will discuss all of his requirements.
Chechen guerrilla leader Abdul-Khalim Sadulayev signed a series of decrees by which he created his advisory body for the whole Caucasus (Shura Alimov of the Peoples of the Caucasus of the President of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria) and boosted the powers of the commanders in charge of individual districts of Chechnya, among other things, according to internet news agencies Chechenpress and Kavkazcenter.
Gas deliveries from Russia to Georgia were halted by two blasts on the Mozdok-Tbilisi pipeline, throwing Georgia into a severe energy crisis. The deliveries only resumed on January 29.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted a resolution in which it condemned the harsh behaviour of security forces operating in Chechnya, the continuation of human rights abuses, and the passivity of the Committee of Ministers.
The Russian-Chechen Information Agency, established by the Nizhny Novgorod-based NGO Society of Russian-Chechen Friendship (ORChD), announced it won the "Free Press of Russia 2006" award granted by the Freedom of Expression Foundation (Norway) and ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius (Germany).
Lechi Eskiyev aka Amir Kamal, the commander of Chechen guerrillas operating in the northern part of Chechnya, was killed along with several other people in a police operation in Khasavyurt in the neighbouring republic of Daghestan. His death was later confirmed by both Russian and guerrillla sources.
Some areas of Chechnya, including a part of Grozny, were out of gas due to a large failure on the Aksay-Grozny pipeline near Gudermes.
Salman Zakriyev was elected deputy speaker of the Moscow-backed Chechen parliament, replacing Sultan Bilimkhanov, who on January 2 died of wounds sustained in a car crash.
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.