Summary of the main news related to the conflict in Chechnya.
The Ingushetian police dispersed two dozen participants in the Grozny-Moscow peace march who decided to launch the action which failed to receive the green light from the local authorities. The protesters managed to walk only some one hundred and fifty metres before being stopped by the police troops. Some of the protesters, including human rights activist and one of the march’s organisers, Aleksandr Lyuboslavski, were detained.
The European Commission agreed on earmarking additional 2 million euros for humanitarian aid to the victims of the conflict in Chechnya, namely for the distribution of food aid and for the protection of peoples' rights in the Northern Caucasus (Daghestan, Chechnya and Ingushetia).
Russian forces sealed off the Chechen capital Grozny in order to prevent any incidents ahead of the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Grozny by Chechen guerillas in 1996. All vehicles, except those of the police and heads of local administration, were banned to move in the city. Transport in Grozny and throughout the whole republic had been reduced to minimum already a couple of days before the anniversary.
Perpetrators of the August 8, 2000 explosion in Moscow’s Pushkin square subway, during which a total of 12 people died and some 140 others were wounded, have not been identified yet although over 30,000 persons have been checked, Russian prosecution informed. Prosecutors are working out three versions of the incident, namely a terrorist act, division of spheres of economic influence, and settlement of personal disputes.
Musa Doshukayev, Minister of Industry, Science, Communications and Informatisation in Chechnya’s pro-Moscow government, was appointed first (and only) vice-chairman of the government.
The leader of Russian political party the Union of Right Forces (SPS) Boris Nemtsov called for the launch of immediate talks between the federal centre and those Chechen representatives that will be freely delegated by the Chechen nation, i.e. including representatives of Aslan Maskhadov.
The association of Chechen businessmen announced a plan to put several plants in operation and create some 5,000 jobs in the country by the end of the year and invest in the tobacco, processing, and wine and spirits industries.
Investigations into the case of the well-known field commander Salman Raduev has been completed. The Supreme Court of Russia is now to decide what court shall examine the case. Salman Raduev was captured in March 2000 and faces charges of terrorism and hostage-taking in connection with events in 1996.
Fierce fighting, described as heaviest attack of the Chechen fighters in the past seventeen months, which had been going on in southern Chechnya in and near the town of Vedeno since Sunday, resulted in the Chechen fighters partly retaking the area. Russian sources denied the reports by independent agencies claiming that the situation is under their control, however, reinforcement troops have been sent to the area. Presidential spokesman, Sergei Yastrzhembsky called the latest developments „an imitation of activity by the gangs.“
The Russian army have fired Scud missiles at Vedeno district, which had been used in early stages of current military campaign in Chechnya. The use of Scud missiles is in stark contrast to the recurring statements by the Russian military officials that the war is over.
Two months have passed since the reopening of the permanent mission of the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe in Chechnya. According to the head of the mission, Alexandru Cornea, no significant achievements have been made so far.
Chechen fighters have shot down a third helicopter in five days in the southern part of Chechnya, said former minister of information Movladi Udugov. The information was confirmed by Prague Watchdog local correspondent in the Northern Caucasus and partly denied by Russian officials who only admitted to two helicopters having been shot down.
At least 12 people were killed and six other wounded during a blast and subsequent shoot-out with Chechen guerillas in the Tsotsin-Yurt (Oktyabrskoye) village in the Kurchaloyevski district, southeast of Grozny, when a Russian military truck was passing by a parked car, where the explosive was planted.
The organisational committee of the Chechen National Congress, which is to take place in Nazran on September 15 and whose goal is to stop the war in Chechnya, find a political solution to the conflict and work out principles of future relations between Russia and Chechnya, held a meeting.
Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov told German radio „Deutsche Welle“ that a week ago his deputies held in Switzerland an OSCE-mediated meeting with unnamed deputies of the Russian State Duma. The Kremlin denied the report.
Fifth anniversary of the Khasavyurt agreements, which put an end to the first war in Chechnya. The treaty on principles of future relations between the Russian Federation and the Chechen Republic was signed by the then Secretary of the Russian Security Council Aleksandr Lebed and the then Chief of Chechen General Staff Aslan Maskhadov in Dagestani town Khasavyurt in 1996.
In response to an interview with Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov published by Kommersant on Thursday, Aug 30, Russian President’s aide Sergei Yastrzembsky called for tougher legislation that would stop publication of interviews with Chechen guerillas by Russian media.