The Month in Brief - February 2007
The Moscow City Court sentenced three men to life imprisonment for their role in the blasts in the Moscow metro that occurred between the Paveletskaya and Avtozavodskaya stations in February 2004 and in front of the Rizhskaya station in August 2004, killing a total of about fifty people. In a closed door trial, Maksim Panaryin, Tambiy Khubiyev and Murat Shavayev, none of them Chechen nationals, were found guilty of terrorism.
Up to four guerrillas were killed in a security operation in the town of Malgobek, Ingushetia.
Two policemen were killed during an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Daghestani Interior Minister Adilgerey Magomedtagirov in Makhachkala. Another policemen was shot dead in the same city earlier that day.
Chechen ombudsman Nurdi Nukhazhiyev admitted that detainees in Chechnya are subjected to gross human rights violations, especially in Grozny's ill-famed Second Operational Investigative Bureau (ORB-2).
Mairbek Murdagaliyev, deputy head of the Vedensky district administration, died of wounds received in a blast caused by an explosive device planted at the door of his house.
German Vok, the secretary of the Council for Economic and Public Security of the Chechen Republic and a close ally of the Moscow-backed Chechen President Alu Akhanov, tendered his resignation.
The strange illness that hit dozens of children in Chechnya's Shelkovsky district in 2005 and 2006 was actually poisoning, "Kavkazskii uzel" reported, referring to comments by the head doctor of the sanatorium in Kabardino-Balkaria's Nalchik where one group of the children had recently been treated.
Russia's State Duma approved an agreement on the division of powers between the federal center and the republic of Tatarstan. Chechnya has been negotiating a similar agreement for several years, but due to a lack of consensus the document has not as yet been signed.
Speaking at the 43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States of trying to create a unipolar world and “overstepping its national borders in every way”.
Moscow-backed Chechen Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov signed a decree setting up a government commission to deal with questions relating to the execution of directives from the President of the Russian Federation. Chechen First Deputy Prime Minister Odes Baysultanov became its head.
Moscow-backed Chechen President Alu Alkhanov denied rumours of his imminent resignation and warned the Chechen people that "the raising of one man into a personality cult and his idealization will bring nothing good to the republic.“
An ad-hoc subcommittee of PACE's Political Affairs Committee decided that the long-planned second "Round Table" on the political situation in Chechnya would not be held in Grozny this year. Instead, PACE will send a new working group to the republic this autumn in order to study the situation.
President Vladimir Putin removed Chechen President Alu Alkhanov from office and appointed Chechen Premier Ramzan Kadyrov acting President of the Chechen Republic. Putin said he had agreed to Alkhanov's request for a change of post, made at the beginning of February, and appointed him Deputy Justice Minister of the Russian Federation.
President Vladimir Putin promoted Sergey Ivanov to the post of First Deputy Prime Minister, and appointed Anatoly Serdyukov, head of the Federal Tax Service, to replace Ivanov as Defence Minister.
The EU announced the launch a new program of reconstruction and development assistance for the North Caucasus worth 20 million euros, two thirds of which will be spent on health and education projects in Chechnya and Inguhetiya.
Russia's State Duma passed a bill recognizing the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice. A day earlier its Speaker Boris Gryzlov said that Russia might apply to the Hague-based court with a request to help it with the extradition of Akhmed Zakayev, a top political representative of Chechen resitance, from Great Britain.
The Russian daily "Vremya novostey“ reported that Chechen Deputy Interior Minister Akhmed Yasayev had been summoned to Moscow for questioning in the case of Movladi Baysarov, the commander of the disbanded Chechen special unit "Gorets", who was shot dead by Chechen police in Moscow on November 18, 2006.
The Russian daily "Vremya novostey" reported that Chechen acting President Ramzan Kadyrov has given up trying to sign a power-sharing agreement with Moscow, but is still demanding a share in Chechen oil revenues.
The Russian daily "Kommersant" reported that criminal proceedings have begun against Sulim Yamadayev, commander of the Chechen battalion “Vostok”, in connection with his raid on a St Petersburg meat-processing plant on September 15, 2006.
Chechen acting President Ramzan Kadyrov accused exiled Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky of ordering the murders of journalist Anna Politkovskaya and ex-FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko.
Former Russian colonel Yuri Budanov, jailed for 10 years for the murder of a Chechen girl, Elza Kungayeva, had his plea for parole turned down.
A group of Borozdinovskaya residents lost their legal action against the Russian Defence Ministry in connection with the June 2005 raid on their village.
Dmitry Kozak, Vladimir Putin's plenipotentiary in the Southern Federal District, held consultations in Grozny with local authorities and selected three candidates from whom Russian President Vladimir Putin would select the Chechen presidential candidate. The trio included acting President Ramzan Kadyrov and two little-known figures: Muslim Khuchiyev, first deputy head of the office of the Chechen president, and Shaid Dzhamaldayev, head of the Grozny Rural district administration.
Police searched IWPR's offices in the North Ossetian capital of Vladikavkaz, accusing this London-based NGO, which supports freedom of speech and trains local journalists, of tax evasion in Russia.
Russia's Federation Council rejected an agreement on the division of powers between the federal center and the republic of Tatarstan which was approved by the State Duma on February 9. Chechnya has been trying to negotiate a similar agreement for several years, but due to a lack of consensus the document has not as yet been signed.
Moscow city prosecutors requested information from the Russian human rights group Memorial about its "how-to guide" for suing the government in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
Commemorations and anti-war protests took place in Chechnya, Ingushetia, Russia and Europe to mark the 63rd anniversary of Stalin-era deportations of 650,000 Chechens and Ingushes to Soviet Central Asia and Siberia in 1944.
Five policemen were killed by a blast during a mine disposal operation in the east Chechen village of Oyskhara.
Three guerrillas were killed during a special operation in Dagestan's Kizlyarsky district. The owner of the house where the guerrillas hid was also killed.
The Public Chamber of the Chechen Republic held its first session in Grozny. Said-Emin Dzhabrailov, head of the Coordinating Council of Chechen Public Organizations, was elected its chairman.
During his three-day visit to Chechnya, Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, said that inmates being held at Chechen detention facilities are not only beaten but also tortured and forced to confess to crimes they did not commit.
The Netherlands-based NGO Russian Justice Initiative announced that after two previous rejections Russia's Federal Registration Service registered its Moscow branch office on February 20.
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.