Thursday 16 December 2004
December 16, 2004
Beslan Rescue Lacked Direction, Says Ex-FSB Head
The first 24 hours of the rescue operation during the Beslan siege were chaotic, according to one FSB official (AFP) 16 December 2005 -- The former head of the Federal Security Service (FSB) in Russia's southern republic of North Ossetia today said the crisis center set up to deal with last year's Beslan school hijacking remained directionless for nearly 24 hours.
December 13, 2004
Russia: Putin Signs Bill Eliminating Direct Elections Of Governors
Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday signed into law a bill that eliminates direct gubernatorial elections across the country. Liberal groups, constitutional experts, and even some Communists denounced the measure as a giant step away from democracy. Putin, who proposed the changes after a series of terrorist attacks last summer, says centralizing power is needed to keep the country together.
December 11, 2004
Analysis: Look Back In Anger -- Ten Years Of War In Chechnya
Ten years ago, on 11 December 1994, the Russian Army rolled into Chechnya on orders from Russian President Boris Yeltsin in a bid to overthrow then Chechen President Djokhar Dudaev, who had proclaimed Chechnya's independence from the Russian Federation three years earlier. That military intervention heralded almost a decade of war in which Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov estimates that 250,000 Chechen civilians have been killed, and the Chechen capital, Grozny, has been largely destroyed. Russian troop deaths over that period are estimated at between 15,000-30,000, compared with the 14,453 Soviet troops killed between 1979 and 1989 in Afghanistan.
December 10, 2004
Chechnya: Ten Years After -- The Logic Behind The First Chechen War
On 11 December 1994, Russian troops entered Chechnya. Officially, their mission was to restore Moscow's authority over the secessionist republic. The Russian defense minister at the time, Pavel Grachev, assured then President Boris Yeltsin that the Chechen capital Grozny could be seized in two hours by a regiment of paratroopers. Ten years and two military campaigns later, the war rages on, with no end in sight. RFE/RL takes a look back at the events that led Russia and Chechnya into the most brutal conflict of the late 20th century.
December 08, 2004
World: Rights Group Calls Women The 'Unrecognized' Casualties Of War
Women continue to suffer profound discrimination in Afghanistan A new report by the human rights watchdog Amnesty International says that women and girls bear the brunt of violence in armed conflicts throughout the world. The report documents accounts of rape, torture, and mutilation of women in places ranging from Africa and South America to Iraq, Chechnya, and Afghanistan. It cites the failure of governments to address the crisis and calls for global action to challenge the violence.
December 03, 2004
Abkhazia: Declared Presidential Victor Gears Up For Inauguration Amid Russian Threats
Tensions are running high between Russia and Sergei Bagapsh, the official winner of October's presidential election in Abkhazia. Russia this week announced a string of economic sanctions against Abkhazia that are obviously aimed at forcing Bagapsh to drop plans for his inauguration. But the Abkhaz opposition leader insists he will be sworn in on 6 December as scheduled.
November 17, 2004
World: Researchers Assess How Children Are Used In Combat Around The Globe
A coalition of human rights groups and developmental organizations released a report today about how children around the world are being encouraged, recruited, or even forced to join military units that do battle in armed conflicts. The Coalition to Stop The Use of Child Soldiers has compiled three years of research by groups like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, World Vision, and the Save the Children Alliance. The report concludes that at least 10 governments -- most of them in African countries -- continue to use children under the age of 18 as combat troops, scouts, messengers, or spies. Outside of Africa, the report says governments that do not directly recruit children sometimes support paramilitary groups or local militias that employ child soldiers. It says scores of armed political groups across the world also continue to recruit children and force them into combat -- subjecting them in the process to rape, violence, hard labor, and other forms of exploitation. RFE/RL speaks with the project's research coordinator, Victoria Forbes-Adams, about the aim of the study and what it reveals about conditions for children in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Chechnya.
November 16, 2004
Analysis: New Proposals On The Russian Antiterrorism Front
After the initial shock and confusion of the Beslan hostage tragedy faded, Russian law enforcement agencies began in mid-October and early November to provide background information to the press about possible new measures to be used in the war on terrorism.