Census in Chechnya will take place under police supervision
Timur Aliyev, North Caucasus - A total of 6,000 members of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and Chechnya's branch of the Russian Interior Ministry (MVD) will take part in the census in the Chechen Republic, Vice-Premier of Chechnya's Moscow-backed government Amnat Batyzheva said.
"Two or three FSB and MVD members will guard each scrutineer," Batizheva said adding that the measure is unavoidable and aimed exclusively at the security of the people conducting the census.
Premier of the Moscow-backed Chechen government Stanislav Ilyasov noted that another 17,000 policemen could be called to secure the census.
The census itself, which should take place within the all-Russian census, is scheduled for October 11-12. Top statistician Khava Abusheva explained the tight schedule by the complexity of the situation in Chechnya. "In contrast to other Russian regions, where the census process will last a week, we have to guarantee the security of our staff," Abusheva said.
"In such a regime we won't be able to endure more than two days. Then, in a week, the collected data will be processed," Abusheva added.
Chechen human rights defender Tamerlan Aliyev thinks that the upcoming census will be a sort of "a big mopping-up operation." "Each inhabitant of the republic will be attended by 2-3 policemen and they will check his or her documents... Is that anything else than a mop-up?" Aliyev asked.
Chechen human rights defenders also expressed concerns about the possible falsification of the survey. According to figures collected in Chechnya in 1998, the country's population numbered 800,000. "Being aware of the number of the people who left the Chechen Republic, it will be possible to determine the number of Chechens killed in the last three years of the war," said Ruslan Zhadayev of Chechen human rights body Council of Non-governmental Organizations.
"The federal centre, cautiously hidding the casualties among civilians of Chechnya, will be hardly willing to disclose the number," Zhadayev said.