16 August 2010, 13:00
Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of August 9-15
Dokku Umarov takes responsibility for terror acts despite the split in "Imarat Kavkaz"; Russia deploys "S-300" antiaircraft complexes in Abkhazia; kidnappings are incessant in Northern Caucasus, - look these and other events in the review of the week of August 9-15, 2010, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".
Caucasian Emirate ("Imarat Kavkaz") breaks up
Last week it became known that on August 10 Aslambek Vadalov, who was named on August 2 to be the successor of Dokku Umarov, leader of the "Imarat Kavkaz", and a number of other Amirs resigned from their positions. In his statement, which appeared in the Internet, Vadalov did not explain the reasons of his decision.
The recent video report pictured about 30 members of illegal armed formations sitting on the slope of a hill. In the front row we could see Aslambek Vadalov and Hussein Gakaev, two most well-known Chechen field commanders after Dokku Umarov. Near them was Arab Mukhkhadan, who is engaged, according to the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs and FSB, in training terrorists-suicide bombers.
Hussein Gakaev also stated that he and Amirs Aslambek and Mukhkhadan would not follow their earlier oath to Dokku Umarov, and quit subordination to him. It was also announced that although they quit Umarov's subordination, they remain in "Imarat Kavkaz".
"We tried not to bring the case to this outcome, but failed," said Gakaev. Judging from the statement, they failed because of Dokku Umarov, who, by having recalled on August 4 his resignation statement, "demonstrated his disrespect for the Majlis." "He can't be our Amir, because he had received someone's order," Gakaev concluded, hinting that Umarov was not free in his actions. In the end of his statement Gakaev expressed hope that "brothers" would also refuse to obey Umarov.
Militants take responsibility for terror act in Moscow
The split among militants did not prevent Dokku Umarov from taking responsibility for the explosion at the "Gazprom" Moscow office; he said that the explosion was organized by the team of militants-suicide bombers named "Riyadus Salikhiin" (Righteous' Gardens).
The incident happened on August 9 at 10:05 a.m. in a garage box of the garage cooperative GSK-15, located in Nauchny Passway and belonging to Pyotr Saprykin, a member of the Moscow government. The explosive device was stuffed with bolts and nuts, and its power made 3.5-5 kilos in trotyl equivalent. The explosion made a 70-centimetre opening in the roofing concrete slab.
Meanwhile, Chechen observers doubt of militants' involvement in the terror act. "After liquidation of Basaev, the team 'Riyadus Salikhiin' actually ceased to exist, although Umarov declared a couple of years ago his intention to restore it. It's absolutely clear that nowadays militants have no possibilities, forces and means, which Basaev possessed. Dokku Umarov has actually lost the remains of his influence and authority. In such conditions he has no other choice but to take responsibility for any explosions, technogenic accidents and other emergencies, wherever they happen," Ismail D., a power agent, is sure.
Russia deploys its air defence complex in Abkhazia
On August 11, it became known that Russia had deployed its S-300 antiaircraft defence complex in the territory of Abkhazia; it is also able to strike surface targets. Georgia regarded this step as Russia's violation of its international obligations. The USA also expressed their concern by noting that Russian S-300 complexes were present in the republic for about two years.
As stated by Andrei Nesterenko, official spokesman of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, deployment of S-300 systems in Abkhazia does no break any Russia's international obligations. Besides, on August 12 Russia announced creation in the region, with account of its bases in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, of its strategic system "Yug" (South).
On August 13, the official Brussels expressed its concern about the deployment of the Russian S-300 antiaircraft-missile complex in the territory of Abkhazia. It was stated by Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
The EU believes that Russia breaks its international obligations and deployment of S-300 in Abkhazia does not promote higher stability in the region.
Kidnappings continue in Northern Caucasus
On August 8, in Surkhakhi village, unidentified power agents kidnapped Magomed Alikhanovich Mutsolgov, born in 1995. The child was absent for more than two days, and only on August 10 he was found in the ROVD (District Interior Division) of the city of Nazran. All this time his relatives and advocate were not admitted to him.
On August 12, employees of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial" in Nazran interrogated the boy, who told that he was tortured by his kidnappers, who beat his legs and applied electric current, demanding him to confirm that the hideout detected in Surkhakhi belonged to his killed brother.
Besides, the fate of Zelimkhan Mutsolgov and Ibragim Tochiev, kidnapped by power agents in Ingushetia on August 5, has cleared up. On August 10 the beaten Mutsolgov was thrown out of a car in the suburb of Nesterovskaya village, while on August 11 Tochiev was presented a charge of involvement in the armed underground. Relatives of the latter assert that he was also severely beaten.
In Kabardino-Balkaria, a local resident Madina Lupezheva stated that on August 12, 2010, at about 9:30 p.m. her son Lupezhev, Aslan Arsenovich, left his home and never returned. The woman asserts that he was kidnapped.
"Several days ago Aslan told me that he was shadowed by unknown persons in silvery cars. One day prior to his disappearance we wanted to go to militia on the fact," runs the application lodged by Lepezheva to Valery Khatazhukov, head of the Kabardino-Balkarian Human Rights Centre, and Boris Zumakulov, Ombudsman in Kabardino-Balkaria.
On August 15, in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, two persons were kidnapped in Kazbekova Street. The "Caucasian Knot" correspondent was informed about it by Svetlana Isaeva, chair of the human rights NGO "Mothers of Dagestan for Human Rights".
"I was called and informed that unidentified persons in camouflage and masks kidnapped a man and a woman and took away to some unknown place. When I came to the venue, the fact of kidnapping was confirmed: eyewitnesses told that the armed persons had wanted to detain only the man, but the woman grasped them, started shouting; therefore, she was also forced into the car," said Ms Isaeva.