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Chechen Leader Announces New Terrorism Punishments

  • RFE/RL

Firefighters work at a marketplace that was set on fire after a terrorist attack in Grozny on December 4.

Firefighters work at a marketplace that was set on fire after a terrorist attack in Grozny on December 4.

The pro-Moscow leader of Chechnya has announced new punishments for terrorism that target the families of those committing terrorist acts, one day after an attack in the Chechen capital left 24 people dead.

Ramzan Kadyrov said on his Instagram account on December 5, "If a gunman in Chechnya kills a policeman or someone else, the gunman's family will be immediately evicted from Chechnya without the right to return, and their home will be razed down to the basement."

Kadyrov said, "Everyone should be aware of this before aiming a weapon at a policeman or another person. I won’t allow anyone to shed blood here."

Kadyrov spoke after militants occupied a printing house in downtown Grozny on December 4 and battled police and security forces.

Russia's Interior Ministry said on December 5 that 14 policemen and security force members and 10 militants had been killed in that battle. The building was destroyed after a fire broke out.

Kadyrov continued in his Instagram message, "The time when it was said that parents don't answer for the deeds of their sons or daughters is over," and added, "They will answer in Chechnya."

Kadyrov has been accused of running Chechnya as if it were his own fiefdom, often disregarding Russian laws in his pursuit to keep order in the restive North Caucasus republic.

The Russian government has tolerated Kadyrov's alleged excesses because he has proven effective at maintaining order in the republic, where Russia fought two large conflicts against militants since 1994.

Kadyrov claimed Akhmat Umarov, the brother of the late Chechen militant leader Doku Umarov, plotted the December 4 attack in Grozny.

The Chechen leader said Umarov had organized the attack by "deceiving the group of thugs who infiltrated Grozny" that there were some 400 gunmen already deployed in Grozny waiting to join the operation once the publishing house was captured.

Akhmat Umarov is currently living in Turkey.

Kadyrov said Russian authorities should "demand that Turkish authorities extradite him."

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on December 5 criticized members of the Ukrainian government who, Lavrov alleged, spoke positively about the attack.

Lavrov called the Ukrainian lawmakers' comments of support "blasphemous and cynical" and said statements from those lawmakers about opening a "second front" in Chechnya could be cause for Russia to file a lawsuit.

Later on December 5, the Russian Investigative Committee announced it was launching an inquiry into several Ukrainian politicians over their remarks.

Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin did not name anyone specifically, but Lavrov had mentioned Ihor Moseichuk, who Lavrov said had called for a "second front" in the Caucasus, while other legislators called Chechen militants Ukraine's allies.

Russian authorities have filed criminal cases against Ukrainian officials since conflict broke out in eastern Ukraine in March of this year.

Ukrainian authorities have done the same to Russian officials, but neither party has any authority to bring officials from the other country to court.

With reporting by TASS and Interfax
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