Friday 3 June 2005
June 03, 2005
Russia: New Chechen Resistance Leader Vows No More Hostage Takings
Saidullaev succeeded Aslan Maskhadov (pictured) as leader of the Chechen resistance Abdul-Khalim Sadullaev, the successor to slain Chechen President and resistance leader Aslan Maskhadov, told RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service in a 3 June interview that he strongly condemns terrorism and said it is not part of the resistance's policy.
June 03, 2005
Chechnya: Kidnapped Relatives Of Slain Leader Released
Slain Chechen leader Aslan Maskhadov (file photo) Seven of the eight relatives of slain Chechen independence leader Aslan Maskhadov who were kidnapped in December 2004 have been freed. Those freed include two brothers, a sister, and a niece of Maskhadov. It is still unclear who had held them and where. Human rights activists have said the abductions were the work of Russian troops or their Chechen militia allies attempting to pressure Maskhadov. But Russian authorities have denied such accusations.
June 02, 2005
Russia: Could North Ossetian Leader’s Departure Herald Other Resignations?
North Ossetia’s 71-year-old president, Aleksandr Dzasokhov, announced his resignation on 31 May after talks with President Vladimir Putin’s envoy to southern Russia. The veteran leader said he is stepping down voluntarily so that a younger politician can take his place. But analysts believe that the Kremlin forced Dzasokhov out in a bid to reassert central control over the small North Caucasus republic. Will other regional leaders soon follow?
June 01, 2005
World: Journalists Tempted To Fight Fire With Fire
Murder is the leading cause of job-related deaths among journalists worldwide, and the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has identified the Philippines as the most “murderous country,” followed by Iraq. Despairing of getting protection from security forces, some Filipino reporters have decided to arm themselves. In Iraq, news organizations are hiring armed guards to protect their staff. Such measures imply some risks.
May 31, 2005
Russia: Balkars Launch New Campaign For Own Republic
31 May 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The ongoing process of revising and formalizing the internal territorial-administrative composition of Russia's North Caucasus republics, which triggered protests in Ingushetia in March, has now served as the catalyst for the reemergence of demands by the Balkar minority for the division of the Kabardino-Balkaria Republic (KBR) into two units to give that group an autonomous republic of its own.
May 26, 2005
Chechnya: Is Basaev Planning To Torpedo The Russian-Chechen Power-Sharing Treaty?
Pro-Moscow Chechen President Alkhanov More than two months after Russian forces hunted down and killed Chechen President and resistance leader Aslan Maskhadov, the resistance forces now under the overall command of radical field commander Shamil Basaev still have not mounted any major retaliatory action. But it is unclear whether the resistance is too weak to hit back, or is lying low and preparing a new terrorist attack.
May 25, 2005
World: Amnesty's Global Survey Condemns Governments For Human Rights Failures
The U.S. treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, figures heavily in the Amnesty report Amnesty International says governments are failing to provide principled leadership in the quest for a world order based on respect for human rights. In its annual global survey, released today, the watchdog group says the global war against terrorism has been more effective in eroding human rights principles than in countering violence. The report singles out the United States for particularly harsh criticism. Amnesty says Washington "thumbed its nose at the rule of law" by not properly investigating reports of prisoner abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghurayb prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and at Bagram air base in Afghanistan. The poor human rights situations in Iran, Russia, Central Asia, and the Caucasus are also highlighted. But Amnesty says there were signs of hope in 2004, too.
May 25, 2005
Caucasus/Central Asia: Analysts Expect Security, Economic Gains From BTC Pipeline
The leaders of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, and Kazakhstan gathered near Baku today to inaugurate the $4 billion Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline. The project is generally viewed as the key element of an overall plan to turn the Caucasus region into a transport corridor connecting Central Asia to Western Europe. From the onset, BTC was designed by its American sponsors as a way to reduce Russia's energy grip on its former southern satellites. But regional experts say that by helping make the region safer, the project's expected economic benefits might eventually outweigh its geostrategic importance. [For coverage of the ceremony, see "Caspian-Mediterranean Oil Pipeline Launched In Baku" --> /featuresarticle/2005/05/18a9dc83-9f19-4830-aea2-93a850b985fa.html .]
May 20, 2005
Russia: Court Clears Soldiers Of Murder In Chechnya
Rights groups fear the ruling will give Russian troops free reign to kill civilians A jury in a Russian military court has found soldiers from an elite military unit not guilty of murdering six Chechen civilians at a checkpoint in Chechnya in 2002. Unusually, the men admitted carrying out the killings but denied responsibility for them, saying they were acting under orders. Human rights activists fear the decision will encourage further abuses in Chechnya.
May 19, 2005
Russia: Rights Groups Say Country Intolerant To Minority Religions
Religious rights are regularly violated in Russia, human rights groups charged today in Moscow. They said believers of Christian confessions other than the Russian Orthodox Church are increasingly discriminated against in Russia. They also highlighted the negative attitude towards Muslims in Russia, describing it as particularly disquieting.
May 18, 2005
Russia: Sole Surviving Beslan Militant Goes On Trial
More than 300 hostages were killed when Russian special forces attempted to end the Beslan school siege A court in southern Russia has opened the trial of the only known surviving militant of last year's Beslan school siege. Nurpachi Kuliev appeared before the chief justice of Russia's republic of North Ossetia yesterday in the city of Vladikavkaz, to face charges of terrorism, murder and hostage taking. Some of the relatives of those killed in the Beslan massacre attended the trial opening, which took place in an emotional atmosphere. The proceedings could take several months.
May 14, 2005
Georgia: Calm Returns To Pankisi Gorge
In the last years of Eduard Shevardnadze's presidency in Georgia, the country's Pankisi Gorge came to be regarded as a symbol of global terrorism, kidnapping, and crime. It was claimed that Al-Qaeda used it as a training center; that Chechen fighters used it as a base for launching operations against Russia; and that it was a favorite conduit for supplying heroin to Western Europe. Georgia's new leaders say those days are over and that they have driven out the fighters and restored the state's authority. Yet Russia continues to describe the gorge as a center for international terrorism.