Posts Tagged ‘Chechnya’

The Conflict in Chechnya: Confronting the Threat of State Disintegration and the Right to Self-Determination

November 30, 2010

Shavkat Kasymov, Foreign  Policy Journal, November 28, 2010


This essay focuses on the right of the Chechen people to self-determination. I examine the legitimacy of the Chechens’ claim to self-determination and assess the policies of the Russian government toward the minority populations of the Caucasus. I also assess various aspects related to the legitimacy of the movements that fight for self-determination in the context of the global war on terror as well as the problem of violations of minority group rights. In this essay, I argue that current policies of the Russian government in the Caucasus do not lay the foundation for the long-lasting peace and stability in the region and are, in large part, conducive to the continuation of separatist tendencies.

Human Rights and Nation Building Policies

The right to self-determination is intimately linked to the right to free association as well as a guaranteed protection of cultural rights under universal UN conventions, whereas the concept of state sovereignty is the foundational framework on which the global peace and security are built in the modern world. Today, the conflict of principles of state sovereignty and identity group rights continues to generate and fuel a number of local wars and conflicts in many parts of the world. Moreover, some localized conflicts have been extended to other countries owing to the ideological factors that fuel them.

Continues >>

Charity head found dead in Chechnya

August 12, 2009
Al Jazeera, Aug 11, 2009

Sadulayeva and Dzhabrailov were kidnapped from their offices by five masked and armed men

The head of a Russian charity and her husband who were kidnapped in Chechnya have been found shot dead, the Interfax news agency has reported.

The bodies of Zarema Sadulayeva and Alik Dzhabrailov, her partner, were found in Grozny, the Chechen capital, on Tuesday.

“The rights activists were found in the boot of a car with gunshot wounds in the settlement of Chernorechye,” Interfax quoted an official government source as saying.

Continues >>

From beyond the grave: A searing indictment of Putin’s protegé

July 17, 2009

A report by Natalya Estemirova, the Russian activist murdered in Chechnya as she investigated human rights abuses

The Independent/UK, July 17, 2009

President Ramzan Kadyrov displaying his shooting skills

President Ramzan Kadyrov displaying his shooting skills

The abductions in Chechnya started nearly a decade ago. In 2000, Russian forces took control of practically the entire territory of the republic, and started extensive mop-up operations in villages.

Thousands of murders and abductions took place; these operations were declared to be an efficient method in the fight against rebels. In reality, however, the troops and police were looting the houses of unprotected civilians, at times taking away everything from them, from cars and furniture to shampoos and female underwear.

Most horrifically of all, women were raped in front of their male relatives, and all the men were detained, from teenagers to old men: they were either cruelly beaten, or released for ransom, or else they disappeared forever.

Continued >>

HR group blames Chechen president for the murder of Natalia Estemirova

July 16, 2009

By Aydar Buribayev and Amie Ferris-Rotman , Reuters, July 15, 2009

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A human rights group blamed Chechnya’s president for the kidnap and murder of a prominent activist, the latest in a series of slayings of establishment critics in Russia.

Natalia Estemirova, a close friend of murdered Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, worked for the human rights organization Memorial in the Chechen capital Grozny and documented abuses by law enforcement agencies.

She was abducted on Wednesday in Chechnya and her body was found later in woodland in neighboring Ingushetia.

Continued >>

Human rights activist Natalya Estemirova shot dead in Russia

July 16, 2009

Times Online, July 15, 2009

Nico Hines

Natalya Estemirova


Natalya Estemirova dedicated her career to uncovering Russian human rights abuses

An award-winning Russian human rights activist was murdered today after dedicating much of her life to investigating abuses by the Chechen regime.

Natalya Estemirova was shot twice in the head at close-range after she was bundled into a car in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya.

The activist, who was one of Anna Politkovskaya’s key collaborators, was found dead near the city of Nazran in Ingushetia. A single mother in her early 40s, Estemirova had collected evidence of human rights abuses in Chechnya since the start of the second war there in 1999.

As well as the murdered Politkovskaya, she worked with Stanislav Markelov, a prominent lawyer and another opponent of rights abuses in Chechnya, who was shot and killed on a Moscow street in January.

Continued >>

Putin in the dock

November 19, 2008

The alleged assassins of Russian war journalist Anna Politkovskaya are on trial. So too is the reputation of Vladimir Putin

The main news from the trial of Anna Politkovskaya’s alleged assassins, which began in Moscow yesterday, is the fact that the process is open to the media and the public.

The case is being heard by the Moscow district military court, most probably because one of the defendants is Pavel Ryaguzov, lieutenant colonel of Russia’s Federal Security Service.

It is for this reason too that Polikovskaia’s children, Ilia and Vera, were sure that the judge would close the proceedings as the prosecution demanded. But he did not – perhaps because this is one of very few cases of multiple political assassinations in Russia in which the prosecution is truly interested in achieving a convincing conviction and in proving to the world that Russian courts are independent and fair.

The prosecution needs a conviction, and a conviction that at least looks cogent, because Prime Minister Putin, Russia’s president at the time of the assassination wants it.

After Politkovskaya was killed he said that her death did much more harm to Russia than her writing. This was certainly true: Politkovskaya’s assassination resulted in an avalanche of unfavourable publicity for Putin’s Russia abroad, while her publications, particularly about the realities of Russia’s second Chechen war and its outcomes, were not at all popular among the majority of the Russian population.

She was outspoken about the methods the Russian forces used in Chechnya, about the methods of their allies among the local population and about the order that they created and maintained in the wake of the war. These were not pretty stories, and few Russians wanted to be bothered with them.

But facing the barrage of criticism abroad, Putin promised that Politkovskaya’s assassins would be found. He may have created the Russia in which more journalists have been killed in the last 10 years than anywhere else in the world, except Iraq, but he certainly did not need Politkovskaya to die.

There could be any number of others who did. She received death threats from different quarters, from Chechnya, to Moscow, to Khanty-Mansiisk.

According to the chief editor of the Novaya Gazeta for which she worked (and which lost several other of its journalists to killers) at the time of her death she was working on an article which outlined the involvement of Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya’s pro–Russian prime minister, in the kidnapping of his political opponents.

The four accused in the trial are Ryaguzov, who is said to have provided Politkovskaya’s home address to the killers; two Chechens, the brothers of Rustam Makmudov who is said to have actually pulled the trigger but who has not been found; and Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, a police investigator from the organised crime unit of the Moscow police.

It is not impossible that these people will be found in this or that way guilty, although the absence of the main accused is beyond irony. But Ramzan Kadyrov, whose name comes up in the investigation materials, has not been asked to testify.

Anna Politkovskaya lived a difficult life. From 1999 onwards she often went to the war zones and refugee camps in Dagestan, Ingushetia and Chechnya. In December 1999 she organised the evacuation of 89 people from an old people’s home in Grozny, Chechnya’s capital, bombed by the Russian forces, and then found accommodation for them in Russia.

Later she initiated charitable action to provide food, medicines and clothing for those who returned to Chechnya and found themselves destitute. She personally accompanied three tons of collected goods to Chechnya. In October 2002, when Chechen terrorists took hostage several hundred people in a Moscow theatre, she was one of the people with whom the terrorists agreed to speak.

She went into the building accompanied by only one other person in an attempt – it proved futile – to negotiate. In 2004 she survived an attempt to poison her. She investigated corruption in the defence ministry and among the high command of the Russian army contingent in Chechnya. She was certainly not loved for all that.

Her trial is not going to be an easy matter, either – that is if the court really wants to find out who ordered her death.

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