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Rights group Memorial 16 Dec announced resumption of work in Chechnya, suspended since July murder of Natalia Estemirova. Authorities 19 Dec reported militant leader Aslan Izrailov killed during special operation.
President Kadyrov 13 Nov reported security forces killed up to 20 rebels 13 Nov in special operation in Shalazh, 30km SW of Grozny, possibly including head of selfdeclared North Caucasus “emirate” Doku Umarov. Several other violent incidents reported over month. Russia 24 Nov imposed counter-terrorist operation on part of Achkhoi-Martan district. Parliament Speaker in 2 Nov interview further distanced Grozny from exiled leader of Chechen Republic Ichkeria.
Gunmen killed 2 police officers at police checkpoint east of Grozny, 3 police wounded by suicide bomber in Grozny, 12 Sept. 6 people injured in suicide attack by police car in Grozny 16 Sept. President Kadyrov 24 Sept claimed U.S., UK intelligence services involved in Chechen insurgency in attempt to split Russia up; 26 Sept launched defamation suit against head of human rights group Memorial in Moscow court. Human Rights Watch 27 Sept accused Moscow of contributing to climate of impunity in Chechnya.
Month saw increasing violence and another high-profile killing with 10 Aug murder of Zarema Sadulayeva, head of children’s NGO, shot dead with her husband. Incident provoked further local, international condemnation following July murder of Natalia Estemirova. Kadyrov mid-month filed lawsuit against head of Estemirova’s organisation Memorial following latter’s accusation of his involvement in Estmirova killing. Upsurge in violence included 5 police shot dead by militants south of Grozny 2 Aug; 2 police killed by unknown assailants in Grozny 11 Aug; 4 police, 2 separatists killed during shootout near Grozny 13 Aug; 4 police killed by suicide bombings in Grozny 21 Aug; 4 police, 2 civilians reported killed by suicide bombing in MeskerYurt village 25 Aug. Chechen Islamist group 21 Aug claimed responsibility for 17 Aug explosion at Siberian hydroelectric plant killing 26 people and 17 Aug suicide bomb attack in Nazran (see North Caucasus). PM Putin 24 Aug visited region in show of support for Kadyrov.
Month marked by insurgency violence and murder of prominent activist Natalia Estemirova, investigating rights violations by security forces in Chechnya, kidnapped in Grozny and killed 15 July; body found same day in Ingushetia. Prompted widespread international outrage and renewed focus on rights abuses in Chechnya; some fellow activist alleged murder sanctioned by President Kadyrov. Estemirova’s organization Memorial 19 July announced suspension of work over safety concerns for its employees. 6 killed by suicide bomb attack in Grozny 26 July. Russian security forces shot dead 5 militants in 2 separate incidents 13 July. Policeman shot dead in Grozny 17 July.
Following recent increase in rebel activity, President Kadyrov 17 June ordered military to defeat militant groups within 2 weeks, 23 June said Russian President Medvedev had ordered him to conduct counter-insurgency operations in Ingushetia (see North Caucasus). 8 June rebel leader Doku Umarov reported severely wounded in special operation.
Govt intensified campaign against militants, in coordination with Ingushetia, in face of continuing attacks; President Kadyrov late month ruled out amnesties. Follows 15 May suicide bombing in front of interior ministry in Grozny killing 2 police and 16 May clash between Russian troops and up to 50 militants believed to have entered from Ingushetia in west. Elsewhere, 3 killed, including 2 police, in 13 May attack on police in Staropromyslovski; Russian forces 16 May killed 4 suspected militants; at least 4 killed in string of incidents 25 May. Kadryov and Ingush President Yevkurov in 17 May press conference announced increased Chechen-Ingush cooperation, after Kadyrov travelled to Ingushetia to promote coordination between Chechnya, Ingushetia and Daghestan against militants. Kadyrov appointed Adam Delimkhanov, wanted by Interpol for March assassination of émigré Sulim Yamadaev, to oversee coordinated actions. Reports emerged 21 May that Yamadaev still alive.
Russia 16 Apr announced end to 10-yr “counter-terrorism” operation against Chechen rebels; move seen as victory for Kadyrov. Marks end of 2nd Chechen war begun 1999, but violence quickly resumed, with 3 Russian soldiers reportedly killed 21 Apr in rebel attack near Grozny, and further incidents resulting in 1 soldier dead, 3 wounded. Russia 24 Apr announced expansion of counterterrorism operations in Chechnya, citing planned rebel attacks, recent discovery of rebel hiding places, weapons caches. Chechen authorities 21 Apr announced launch of operation to locate some 500 fighters in Vedeno region. Dubai police 5 Apr said seeking Chechen member of State Duma, Kadyrov relative and adviser Adam Delimkhanov, in connection with March murder of émigré Yamadayev; Russia said would not hand Delimkhanov over. Interpol released warrants for Delimkhanov and 6 others 28 Apr.
Video footage emerged 5 March of Chechen claiming he was commissioned by President Kadyrov to kill émigré in Norway. Kadyrov 20 March issued new invitation to exiles to return home. Sulim Yamadayev, Kadyrov opponent and brother of émigré shot dead in Moscow Sept, assassinated in Dubai March 28. European Court of Human Rights 12 March ruled Russia must pay damages to families of 13 Chechens presumed dead after 2001, 2003 raids. Rights groups condemned President Kadyrov’s 28 Feb defence of honour killings of 7 women.
1 interior ministry officer killed in 9 Feb battle with militants in southeast Vedeno district. Former Grozny deputy major Gilani Shepiyev shot dead 5 Feb in Moscow - 3rd high-profile émigré shot since Sept. Gunman 23 Feb killed 2 police in Urus Maran. Govt reopened kidnap investigation into Russian Colonel Badanov, jailed for 2000 murder of Chechen girl, and whose Jan release provoked outrage in Chechnya. Austrian prosecutors 10 Feb announced investigation of President Kadyrov following complaint from former rebel Israilov, murdered in Vienna Jan; Polish police 22 Feb arrested Chechen for suspected involvement in murder. Another former militant shot dead 27 Feb in Istanbul. Exiled former separatist govt FM, resistance commander Zakayev, rumoured to be setting up armed units, directing attacks in Chechnya and wanted in Russia for alleged war crimes, said will not return to Chechnya despite invitation to take up govt post.
Early release 15 Jan of Russian Colonel Budanov, jailed for 2000 murder of Chechen girl and pardoned late Dec, provoked outrage in Chechnya. Prominent Russian human rights lawyer representing murdered girl’s family, and “Novaya Gazeta” journalist, both shot dead 19 Jan in Moscow after media briefing on plans to appeal Budanov’s release; hundreds protested death in Grozny. Former Chechen rebel Umar Israilov, who in 2006 had accused Kadyrov and others of torture and abductions, murdered in Vienna 13 Jan. Home of Sulim Yamadaev, Russian commander in ongoing political struggle with President Kadyrov, set on fire 15 Jan. Emissary of Chechen separatist leader Akhmed Zakayev killed by Russian forces 17 Jan.
2 militants, 2 Russian servicemen killed in 17 Dec fighting at Grozny apartment building. Security forces killed 2 militants near Kerla-Yurt village 3 Dec. Hundreds rallied in Grozny 29 Dec to protest court’s granting of parole to Russian Colonel Budanov, convicted in 2000 for murdering Chechen girl and seen as symbolic of Russian abuses.
Bomb at Grozny apartment building 23 Nov killed 4. In Urus-Martan district, 1 serviceman killed in explosion 19 Nov, Russian troops shot dead militant 9 Nov. Further 4 police officers, 2 rebels killed in separate clashes throughout month. 7 women found shot dead in and near Grozny 26, 28 Nov. Political struggle between President Kadyrov and rival Russian commander Sulim Yamadaev saw Kadyrov increasingly dominant: Russian army official 8 Nov announced disbandment of Yamadaev-led Vostok and Zapad battalions; Yamadaev further accused of killing 2 businessmen 2007.
Militant attacks throughout month left at least 3 security forces dead. Roadside bomb 19 Oct killed 1 soldier. Security forces 9 Oct shot dead 1 militant near Stary Achkhoi village.
Ruslan Yamadayev, rival of pro-Kremlin president Kadyrov, shot dead 24 Sept in Moscow. 3 soldiers killed in separate rebel attacks 12, 18 Sept in Grozny.
Ongoing targeting of security forces saw 1 soldier, 2 suicide bombers killed in 30 Aug attack on Vedeno military camp; 1 soldier left dead 30 Aug after bomb attack on convoy in Serzhan-Yurt village; 2 killed 24 Aug in attack on police convoy; 1 officer fatally shot in armed attack in Urus-Martan district. 2 servicemen left dead in separate incidents 19 Aug.
Continued clashes between security forces, militants saw 5 police, 1 militant killed; rebels fatally shot prosecutor 18 July in Grozny. Roadside bomb near Belgatoi village killed police commander. President Kadyrov 20 July called on Russia to withdraw army from properties occupied “without legal basis”. Mass grave of 300 alleged victims of 1999 Russian attack unearthed 2 July.
Ongoing violence throughout month saw 3 police, 3 civilians killed in 28, 29 June clashes with rebels; 2 separate assaults on military convoys 16 June left 3 dead in Urus-Martan district, Bamut village; 25-60 armed rebels attacked Benoi-Vedeno village 13 June, killing 3 residents. Bomb explosion in Grozny café 9 June injured 12. 1 policeman shot dead in vehicle shooting 23 June. Russian PM Putin announced 120.6 billion rubles ($5 billion) to be spent on developing Chechnya in next 4 years.
Low-level violence continued: remote- controlled bomb killed 5 police 4 May in Grozny in most lethal attack in months; 2 law enforcement officials killed in Urus-Martan 2 May following clash with suspected militants. European Court of Human Rights ruled Russia to pay over €350,000 to 2002-2003 raid victims.
15 Apr gunfight between pro-Kremlin militia Vostok and soldiers loyal to President Kadyrov left 18 dead in Gudermes; public chamber called for dismissal of militia leader Sulim Yamadayev 16 Apr as Chechen President forced to deny sanctioning clash. 2 nieces of human rights ombudsman’s representative killed in 20 Apr gun attack on car. Sunzhen district police chief Ali Gaidamurov found dead after 17 Apr abduction.
Major rebel attack in Urus- Martanovskiy district 19 March left 9 dead, including 1 civilian. 2 police killed by bomb explosion in Alleroi village 24 March.
4 militants shot dead by Russian forces in Shatoysky district 15 Feb. Police-rebel clash during arrest attempt 3 Feb in Vedeno region left 2 police dead. Rebels killed abducted Russian interior ministry serviceman 8 Feb.
Clashes between security forces and rebels continued: 4 rebels shot dead in police operation 15 Jan; 2 soldiers killed by gunmen in eastern Chechnya near Niki-Khita village 21 Jan; 1 policeman killed in explosion and fire attack 24 Jan; Russian artillery shelled village of Gekhi 28 Jan after serviceman shot dead in nearby Bamut. European Parliament 19 Jan announced plans for “Association of European Parliamentarians for the Right of the Chechen People to Self-Determination” to reach political solution to conflict after London talks with separatist exile PM Zakayev.
Electoral Commission claimed over 99% Chechen turnout for 2 December state Duma elections, with 99% support for Uniﬁed Russia party in Grozny. Concurrent referendum conﬁrmed changes to Chechen constitution; measures remove requirement for Chechen head to be popularly elected. Low-level violence continued: 1 killed by roadside bomb 18 December; 1 police ofﬁcer, 4 rebels killed in clashes in Grozny, 16 December. 2 Russian troops convicted 27 December for killing 3 Chechen civilians in January 2003.
First Deputy Interior Minister Alambek Yasayev reportedly dismissed 8 November. Shamsail Saraliyev appointed as minister for ethnic policy, information and press 15 November after Movsar Ibragimov resigned 12 November. Feuding between factions in separatist government-in-exile saw rebel commander and “President” Doku Umarov stripped of power after declaring North Caucasus emirate 28 November. Akhmed Zayakev appointed new “PM” 23 November after resigning as “FM” 20 November. 1 Russian serviceman killed, 3 police injured in clash with insurgents in Shatoi region 27 November. Opposition figure Imran Gaziyev shot dead in Baku, Azerbaijan 18 November.
Separatist leader Doku Umarov declared all those forces fighting Muslims in world legitimate targets. Rebel ambush on interior ministry servicemen convoy left 4 Russian policemen dead 7 October.
Rebel commander Musa Mutiyev killed by security forces in Grozny 8 September. At least 7 security force officers reported dead in clashes with militants, including police officer during gunman attack on school in Gukhoi 4 September and 2 Russian servicemen in attack on vehicle in Grozny 10 September. Prominent activist Vagap Tutakov abducted by armed men 12 September, reportedly released 24 September. Former head of Achkhoi-Martanovsky district, Shamil Burayev, charged 13 September with assisting in October 2006 murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya.
Rustam Basayev, associate of separatist leader Doku Umarov, killed in gun battle with local police Grozny 23 August; 2 police also killed. Periodic attacks on soldiers, law enforcement officials continued; 3 civilians shot dead in Tsa Vedeno 4 August.
Interior Ministry units put on alert after rebels launched attacks in Vedeno district early July, reportedly killing 4 soldiers.
Russian military court sentenced 4 soldiers (3 in absentia) to 9-14 years prison, overturning earlier acquittals for 2002 murder of 6 Chechen civilians. European Court of Human Rights ordered Russia to pay compensation to relatives of activist and family killed by security services in 2003. Clash between traffic police and army unit in Grozny left at least 5 dead 20 June.
3 police and 3 suspected militants killed in 6 May clash in southern Vedeno district.
Ramzan Kadyrov inaugurated as president 5 April. Helicopter crashed, killing at least 18 servicemen; military did not confirm cause of crash. European Court of Human Rights found Russia culpable in disappearance of Shakhid Baysayev during military sweep in 2000, awarded widow damages.
Ramzan Kadyrov, nominated Chechen president by Russian President Putin, endorsed by Chechen parliament 1 March. Kadyrov declared separation of authority agreement between Chechen and federal governments “unnecessary”, announcing plans to align constitution with federal legislation. Bomb killed 1 Russian serviceman near Gekhi-Chu 24 March and federal soldiers killed woman in Urdyukhoi. 4 militants died in clash with troops near Tazen-Kale 23 March. Rebel commander Tahir Batayev killed in shoot-out with military in Gudermes 21 March. Severny civilian airport reopened 8 March.
PM Ramzan Kadyrov made acting president after Russian President Putin moved incumbent Alu Alkhanov to deputy Russian justice minister post. 2 police officers and 4 rebels reported dead in 13 February clash and 5 further police killed in base blast 23 February in Gudermes region.
5-month amnesty ended 15 January; Russia claimed over 500 rebel surrenders. In clash outside Grozny 1 police officer and 1 suspected rebel killed 22 January. In clashes in southern Gudermes, 4 soldiers and 1 rebel killed 29 January. European Court of Human Rights found Russian military guilty in Chechen torture case; President Putin said ruling “political”.
Soldier killed after bomb hit Russian military vehicle outside Grozny 7 December. Another wounded 11 December by suspected militants in Shatoi. Russian court began hearing case brought by 40 villagers alleging abuses by Russian security forces during June 2005 raid on village of Borozdinovskaya. Russian state Duma confirmed postponement of trial-by-jury in Chechnya until 2010.
Suspected rebel attacks killed at least 10 in southern Shatoi and eastern Kurchaloi districts. Russian army said 35 rebels collectively surrendered 22 November, bringing official figure of 2006 surrenders to 374. Former elite unit commander Baisarov, rival of Chechen PM Kadyrov, shot dead in Moscow 18 November, allegedly by Chechen police. European Court of Human Rights, in third such ruling in 4 months, ruled Russia to pay damages to Chechen woman whose relatives disappeared.
Journalist Anna Politkovskaya shot dead in Moscow by unknown assailants 7 October; had received threats over her work exposing human rights violations in Chechnya and due to publish report on police torture. Court closed Russian-Chechen human rights group; critics said attempt to silence criticism of Chechnya policy. At least 4 rebels and 1 police officer killed in clashes.
Rebel leader Umarov issued statement armed campaign would continue, withdrawing offer of peace talks; Russian parliament extended rebel amnesty until mid-January. Gunfight between Chechen and Ingush police on border killed 5 Chechen and 2 Ingush officers; officials said tragic mistake, but Ingush authorities also criticised Chechen police for launching cross-border raids without notification.
Russian President Putin asked defence and interior ministries to formulate plan for withdrawal of all non-permanent troops from Chechnya by 2008. Pro- Kremlin Chechen PM Kadyrov welcomed proposal. Separatist leader Umarov’s brother reportedly surrendered to Chechen authorities 18 August. Russian rights group reported major decrease in number of people killed or disappeared in republic in 2005 in comparison to 2004.
Rebel commander and deputy leader Shamil Basayev killed with 3 other militants in Ingushetia 10 July; circumstances disputed, with Russia claiming special operation victory and rebels saying explosives-truck accident. Rebel leadership rejected subsequent Russian offer of amnesty in return for disarming, but reaffirmed offer of unconditional peace talks. European Court of Human Rights in landmark decision condemned Russia over disappearance in 2000 of Khadzhi-Murat Yandiyev. At least 19 killed in clashes, including 13 rebels near Daghestan border 12 July.
Rebel leader Abdul-Khalim Sadulaev killed by pro-Moscow forces 17 June. Rebels named Doku Umarov new leader and notorious field commander Shamil Basayev as deputy. Exiled rebel foreign minister Akhmed Zakayev appealed for release of 4 Russian diplomats taken hostage in Iraq in later killed.
Russian President Putin intervened to defuse mounting power struggle between Chechen President Alkhanov and PM Kadyrov by holding 5 May Moscow meeting. Kadryov’s involvement in rights violations under scrutiny after Council of Europe anti-torture watchdog prevented from visiting Kadyrov’s home village, suspected site of prisoner abuse, and rights group alleged secret prison network used to detain and torture civilians. 9 soldiers reported killed in insurgent ambushes 17, 23 May.
PM Kadyrov reportedly disbanded personal guard, consisting of thousands of former rebels, 29 April. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres visited Grozny to assess situation. 2 policemen killed in 15 April ambush.
Kremlin-backed strongman Ramzan Kadyrov approved as new PM by parliament 4 March. At least 7 Russian soldiers reported dead in clashes with rebels.
PM Sergei Abramov resigned over ill health, paving way for likely takeover by current caretaker PM, pro-Kremlin hardliner, Ramzan Kadyrov. Chechen rebels claimed responsibility for military barracks collapse, which Russia said caused by domestic gas explosion: 13 killed. At least 16 soldiers and 4 rebels, reportedly including senior rebel commander, killed in series of clashes. Rebels conducted major leadership reshuffle, ordering most ministers abroad to return; move said to reflect ideological split between leader and radical elements. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour expressed concern over abuses in Chechnya during visit to republic; President Putin warned UN against politicising rights issues. Chechen government banned Danish aid workers in response to Danish newspaper cartoons of Prophet Mohammed.
At least 16 soldiers and several militants, including senior rebel commander Supian Abdulayev, reported killed in clashes and landmine explosions.
Russian President Putin made surprise visit for opening of new parliament, in which Kremlin-backed Unified Russia party won 33 of 58 seats in November elections. Russian and Western rights activists accused EU of whitewashing reality with optimistic assessment of poll. Ramzan Kadyrov, first deputy PM, elected chief regional representative of Unified Russia.