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Russian Official Suggests Fingerprinting Entire North Caucasus

MOSCOW -- A Russian official has proposed compiling a database containing the fingerprints of the entire population of Russia's volatile North Caucasus region, RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service reports.

Aleksandr Bastrykin, the head of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Prosecutor-General's Office, also proposed on March 4 the reregistration of all motor vehicles in the North Caucasus and issuance of new license plates.

He said such measures would help "stabilize" the situation in the region.

Bastrykin further advocated issuing firearms to all employees of the prosecutor's office branches in the republics of the North Caucasus.

Veteran human rights campaigner Lyudmila Alekseyeva criticized the fingerprinting proposal as "discriminatory."

Such practices are "unacceptable in a civilized country," the "Caucasian Knot" website quoted her as saying.

Chechen Republic leader Ramzan Kadyrov's spokesman, Alvi Kerimov, argued that if fingerprinting was introduced, it should be mandatory throughout the Russian Federation and not just in the North Caucasus.