Nineteenth issue of the monthly Chechen Society Today released
PRAGUE, March 31 - The nineteenth issue of the monthly Chechenskoye obshchestvo segodnya (Chechen Society Today) has been released.
The first third of the issue is devoted almost exclusively to news reports culled from various Russian and Chechen media sources. For the most part, these are standard or official publications, and include Regnum, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Grozny-Inform and Interfax-Yug, though there are also reports from the SNO and Sova-Center non-governmental organizations. While the original and editorial contributions that characterized earlier issues of the magazine are lacking, the material presented does give a useful composite picture of recent developments in the Chechen Republic.
The subjects covered in this section are wide-ranging: the ongoing reconstruction boom in Grozny, which involves investments worth nearly 3 billion roubles; the war on corruption declared by the Chechen president and his government; the physical attacks on Chechen civilians, both in Chechnya itself and in Russia (one case concerns the recent mugging in a Moscow street of a well-known Chechen concert musician); the controversy over the processing of Chechnya's oil, a multi-million dollar activity which the government seems to be trying to export to other regions of Russia, rather than host it at home; and a disturbing report on the dramatic year-by-year increase in cancer cases throughout the republic, where the illness seems to have its roots in ecological and socio-environmental factors linked to the two recent wars; the recent visit of a Jordanian government delegation to Chechnya, and the prospects for aid from the Arab countries; and an account of an armed clash between Russian forces and guerrillas – only one of many such confrontations which tend to give the lie to the Chechen government’s repeated assertions that the guerrillas are “finished”.
The issue also contains the customary selection of essays, profiles and literary excerpts, this time including an essay by the Chechen anthropologist Said-Magomed Khasiyev, in which he urges young people in today’s Chechnya to create a truly national identity by seeking out the best and most positive aspects of Chechen tradition and history. There is an account of a recent “Forum of the Peoples of the Caucasus” which was held at a major Moscow hotel, apparently with Russian government approval, and was attended by a mixed body of delegates who included the ultra-nationalist “Eurasian” ideologist Alexander Dugin.
Perhaps the most notable contribution in the latter part of the magazine, with its reviews of cultural activity in many fields, from music through literature to sport – is an article by historian Indarbi Byzov on the origins of the Chechen abreks: ascetic, religiously-inspired outlaws who in the nineteenth century acquired fame as leaders of the resistance to Russian rule.
Visit this page to see and download the issue.
The black-and-white Russian-language publication Chechen Society Today is a joint project of Prague Watchdog and the Moscow-based Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations, which is being implemented thanks to support from the US-based National Endowment for Democracy. The journal’s aim is to strengthen Chechen civil society, promote independent media in Chechnya, and provide objective information to Chechens living in Russia and Europe.
A thousand copies are published in Moscow; additional copies are printed and distributed by Prague Watchdog for Chechen exiles in Europe. In addition, a printer-friendly PDF version can be downloaded from the PW (http://journal.watchdog.cz) and CJES websites (http://chechnya.cjes.ru). Free e-mail subscription to the PDF version is also available.
Prague Watchdog welcomes proposals from both organizations and individuals for participation in this project, especially the distribution of the paper version of the journal.