The Month in Brief - December 2007

December 2

According to final results released by Chechnya's electoral commission, 99.5% of eligible voters took part in the federal parliamentary elections in Chechnya, with the Kremlin's United Russia party getting 99.36% of the vote. The government-sponsored amendments to the Constitution of the Chechen Republic were approved by 96.88% of participants in the parallel referendum. Chechnya's MPs in the Russian State Duma will include first vice-premier Adam Delimkhanov, Constitutional Court chairman Magomed Vakhayev, the republic's parliamentary deputy Alid Yakhikhadzhiyev and State Duma deputy Akhmar Zavgayev.

According to final results released by Ingushetia's electoral commission, voter turnout reached 98.35% in Ingushetia, and the Kremlin's United Russia party received 98.72% of the votes. The opposition website reported a turnout of 8%.

December 3

Observers from the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE and the Council of Europe said that Russia's parliamentary elections failed to meet European standards.

December 6

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov signed a decree on additional measures aimed at improving the human rights situation in Chechnya. Among other things, the decree envisages the creation of local human rights councils by city and district administration heads.

Three Chechen youths died and one was wounded as a result of the blast of an explosive device they found in the village of Staraya Sunzha on the outskirts of the Chechen capital Grozny.

Faruk Khasukhanov, a senior Sharia authority in the Chechen exile government, called for the creation of a joint commission to tackle the rift between supporters of an independent Chechen state and advocates of a Caucasus Emirate, according to a report by Chechenpress.

In North Ossetia's Stary Terek local youths armed with baseball bats, hammers, and stones attacked a bus convoy carrying pilgrims from Chechnya to Saudi Arabia.

December 7

The Vienna-based International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF), which in addition to its other activities had been running Chechnya-related human rights and advocacy projects, announced that it had to close down because of a grave internal financial crisis caused by an economic crime.

December 9

Two people were killed and several others injured in a blast on a bus in the South Russian city of Nevinnomyssk.

December 10

The information and propaganda website Kavkaz-center published Chechen guerrilla leader Dokka Umarov's alleged decrees on the dissolution of the government and parliament of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and the creation of new territorial entities – "vilayats“ – within the "Caucasus Emirate“ he recently proclaimed.

President Vladimir Putin expressed support for the candidacy of First Vice-Premier Dmitry Medvedev for next President of Russia.

December 11

A young local policeman, Magomed Tutayev, was shot dead in the Ingushetian village of Barsuki.

Representatives of some European countries and the Moscow-backed Chechen government met in Grozny to discuss the possible return of Chechens living abroad, and a possible improvement in the living conditions of those who do not wish to return.

Dagestan's Supreme Court judge Kurban Pashayev, who was in charge of high-profile political cases, was killed in the republic's capital of Makhachkala.

December 12

The office of the Information Centre of the Union (formerly Council) of Non-governmental Organizations (SNO), which has been monitoring human rights violations in Chechnya and Ingushetia since 2002, was evicted from the House of the Press in Grozny. On December 1 SNO was forced to leave its office in Nazran, Ingushetia, under pressure from local authorities.

December 13

Ingush authorities banned cars with tinted windows in order to stop the recent wave of crimes in which such cars have been used.

December 14

Ramzan Kadyrov, the Kremlin-backed Chechen President, invited his compatriots living abroad to return to Chechnya.

A local police officer, Amir Medov, was shot dead in the Ingush village of Surkhakhi.

December 15-6

Four alleged guerrillas and one OMON policeman died during a police operation against a guerrilla group in Grozny's Leninsky district.

December 17

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was ready to become Premier if the current first vice-premier Dmitry Medvedev is elected President in the March 2 elections.

December 18

Two prison officers were killed and four other injured when their vehicle, escorting another vehicle carrying prisoners, was blown up by a roadside bomb in Grozny's Leninsky district.

Servicemen of the Chechen "West" and "East" battalions were deployed in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, top Chechen official Said-Magomed Kakiyev told Russian media.

December 19

Two guerrillas and a police officer died in a clash in the village of Vremenny in Dagestan's Untsukulsky district.

Russian President Vladimir Putin became TIME's Person of the Year 2007.

December 19-20

Representatives of the „Voice of Beslan“ NGO held a hunger strike at North Ossetia's Supreme Court to protest the court's effective ban on the organization's operations.

December 21

The Parliament of the Chechen Republic urged Russia's federal parliament and government to devote more attention to the legislative initiatives of regional parliaments.

The numbers of people – especially ethnic Chechens and Ingush from the Russian Federation – seeking asylum in Poland rose sharply in the period between July and Poland's recent entry to the Schengen border-free zone, UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler said.

The Parliament of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria approved Said Askhabov as Ichkeria's envoy to Muslim countries, Salambek Dakhayev as its envoy to France, and Salambek Amayev as its envoy to Denmark.

December 22

Moscow-backed Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov gave Chechen electoral commission head Ismail Baykhanov the Akhmat Kadyrov Award (the republic’s highest honour), for his "contribution to the development of democracy in Chechnya".

The website of the Prague-based agency Caucasus Times, which reports on the developments in the North Caucasus, was shut down by unknown hackers.

December 24

Polish and German police returned to Poland a total of 59 Chechen nationals travelling by train to Germany, saying the Chechens did not have the right to cross the border.

December 25

The regional branch of Russia's Federal Migration Service began issuing biometric passports to residents of the Chechen Republic.

December 26

A new building of Chechnya's narcological dispensary was opened in Grozny.

December 27

The North Caucasus District Military Court sentenced Russian Interior Ministry servicemen Yevgeny Khudyakov and Sergei Arakcheyev to 17 and 15 years in prison respectively, for murdering three Chechen civilians in January 2003. Their defence lawyers appealed the verdict.

A group of 28 Chechens trying to illegally cross the border between Poland and the Czech Republic were detained by Polish border guards in a train that was going from Warsaw to Vienna.

A Russian military vehicle was attacked near the village of Surkhaki in Ingushetia's Nazranovsky district. Two crew members were killed and two injured.

December 29

The Russian military occupies large areas of land on the territory of Chechnya illegally, the Moscow-backed Chechen government said in a statement, adding that a joint commission will be created to tackle the problem.

Border security in the North Caucasus region has improved thanks to the completion of work on border facilities, Nikolai Patrushev, head of Russia's Federal Security Service, said.

December 31

A rebuilt movie theatre was opened on Akhmat Kadyrov Avenue in Grozny. It was given the name „Yunost" to remind people of the popular pre-war cinema which was located in another part of the Chechen capital and was destroyed by military activities.


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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