The Month in Brief - May 2007

May 1

About 20,000 people took part in the official May Day celebrations in Grozny.

The Moscow-backed Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov opened a rebuilt cottage village in Grozny's Staropromyslovsky district for large and needy families who were previously living in temporary accommodation centres in the republic's capital. The village, which was initially called “Ramzan” and eventually given the name "Vozrozhdenie" (Revival), consists of 85 houses.

May 2

The pro-guerrilla website Kavkaz-center announced that Amir Muslim, a native of the village of Shelkovskaya, was in recent days appointed as the new commander of the north-eastern front of the armed forces of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. He replaced Amir Takhir (Batayev), who was killed during a shoot-out with federal forces in Gudermes on March 21, 2007.

North Ossetia's Supreme Court effectively ruled against possible prosecution of officials in charge of the hostage rescue operation during the Beslan school siege in early September 2004 by uphelding a protest filed by the General Prosecutor's Office against a lower court's verdict.

May 3

Anna Politkovskaya, the late Russian journalist, was posthumously awarded the 2007 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize in Medellin, Colombia.

May 4

The Chechen authorities called for the closure of the ill-famed law enforcement branch known as ORB-2 and its detention centers on the republic's territory.

May 6

Three interior ministry officers and three guerrillas were killed in a shootout in the village of Khattuni in Chechnya's Vedensky district.

May 7

The British daily Independent reported that more than 100 members of Britain's political and cultural elite have sent an opet letter to President Putin urging him to use his final year as president to restore "peace and justice" to Chechnya.

May 8

A group of people, mainly migrants from the North Caucasus region, was taken into custody on suspicion of planning a bomb explosion on Moscow's Profsoyuznaya Street. Later the Federal Security Service (FSB) announced that it had foiled the operation of a "terrorist group", while the Za Prava Cheloveka (For Human Rights) NGO said that one of the detainees had been badly beaten at a police station.

The restored Dynamo stadium was opened in Grozny, with covered terraces for 10,000 spectators.

May 9

The third anniversary of the assassination of former Moscow-backed Chechen President Akhmat Kadyrov at Grozny's Dynamo stadium.

A military parade to commemorate Victory Day was held at Grozny's Dynamo stadium, with both Chechen and Russian forces taking part.

May 10

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov signed a decree on measures to counteract terrorism in the Chechen Republic, and became chairman of the Antiterrorist Commission of the Chechen Republic.

The European Court of Human Rights condemned Russia for the abduction and murder of Shamil Akhmadov, a Chechen resident who was arrested during a large-scale special operation in the city of Argun in March 2001.

May 12

The 10th anniversary of the signing in Moscow by Russian President Boris Yeltsin and President of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria Aslan Maskhadov of the "Agreement on peace and the principles of mutual relations".

May 13

The Moscow-backed Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov met with Kabardino-Balkarian President Arsen Kanokov in Nalchik. It was Kadyrov's first visit to the neighbouring republic in his new capacity as President.

May 16

Amnestied people are targets for persecution in Chechnya, the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights stated in a report that documents the fate of several persons who have been amnestied in Chechnya and subsequently abducted, tortured and killed.

Chechnya’s human rights ombudsman, Nurdi Nukhazhiev, proposed a doubling of the term of office of the Chechen president and parliament as well as that of the Russian President. He also sharply criticized the republic's prosecutor’s office and its head Valery Kuznetsov for their alleged failure to protect the rights of local inhabitants. On the following day the Russian daily Kommersant described the incident as a signal of the Moscow-backed Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov's effort to remove the independent prosecutor from office.

May 17

The Moscow-backed Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov ordered that all of the republic's presidential and government representations in the Russian Federation except for the one in Mozdok be closed, and a new system of representation created, the government press service announced.

May 19

The building of Chechnya's National Museum was reopened in Grozny after its restoration was completed.

May 21

The Regnum news agency reported that the Public Chamber of the Chechen Republic had supported the Chechen human rights commissioner Nurdi Nukhazhiyev's demand of May 16 for criminal charges to be brought against Chechnya's public prosecutor Valery Kuznetsov.

May 22

British police said it would charge Russian citizen Andrei Lugovoi with the murder of former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko and would seek his extradition from Russia.

May 23

In its annual report, Amnesty International said summary executions, torture, enforced disappearances and abductions continued in the Northern Caucasus, particularly in Chechnya, during 2006. Also, people seeking justice faced intimidation and death threats, the human rights organization said.

Several hundred people took part in two protest rallies in the centre of Vienna against visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin and against the war in Chechnya.

May 23-24

Chechen student Gilani Atayev was killed and dozens of other people wounded in an overnight clash involving over 100 people, mostly Russians and Chechens, that took place in the South Russian city of Stavropol.

May 24

Sergei Stepashin, head of Russia's national audit office, the Accounts Chamber, said in Grozny that an absence of financing and a lack of proper coordination in the restoration of buildings and property is leading to an inefficient use of public resources, but at the same time he praised the progress of construction and reconstruction work and the revival of the Chechen economy.

The Russian Prosecutor General's office announced that a criminal group partly consisting of police officers headed by Ruslan Asuyev had been charged with and partly already sentenced for murders, abductions and assaults on civilians they allegedly committed both for money and promotion within the service.

May 27

Mayor of Rome Walter Veltroni said that the city would soon be dedicating a street to Anna Politkovskaya, the Russian journalist assassinated in October 2006.

May 28

According to an investigation by Russian journalists of the daily Novaya gazeta, the murder of their colleague Anna Politkovskaya was ordered by two senior officials of the pro-Moscow Chechen regime, the French daily Liberation wrote.

Famous Soviet-era dissident and political prisoner Vladimir Bukovsky was nominated as a candidate for President of Russia in the 2008 elections, the agency Prima-News reported.

May 29

The Pravoberezhny district court in the North Ossetian capital of Vladikavkaz released three local police officers charged with negligence that enabled the Beslan school siege in September 2004. The victims said they would appeal the verdict, which applied the amnesty adopted by Russia's State Duma in September 2006 to this case.

May 30

During the presentation of Anna Politkovskaya's book "Za chto?" ("What for?") in Moscow Novaya gazeta chief editor Dmitry Muradov said that the Russian daily would release the results of its own investigation into her killing if police followed a line of investigation that is politically motivated and enforced by the powers-that-be.

A memorial event entitled "1000 days without the children" took place in the North Ossetian town of Beslan.

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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