17 November 2009, 23:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of November 9-15

Disfavoured Major Dymovskiy reports threats against him and continues exposing militia bosses; during the week, conflict in the Caucasus took away dozens of lives, - look up these and other events in the review of the week of November 2-8 in the Caucasian regions prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Kremlin to appoint "Boss for Caucasus"

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev stated in his Address to the Federal Assembly on November 12 a need to appoint a federal-level official in charge of the republics of Northern Caucasus. According to Mr Medvedev, the level of corruption and clannish rule in these republics is "unprecedented"; therefore, having a person in Russian government with sufficient powers and personally responsible for the state of affairs in the region is a must.

Alvi Karimov, press secretary of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, said that the Chechen leader supports Dmitri Medvedev's initiative. President of Karachai-Circassia Boris Ebzeev reminded that the Caucasus is more than several republics. In his opinion, the new special representative will face plenty of serious work.

Possible candidates to the post are Vice-Premier Dmitri Kozak, Deputy Interior Minister Arkadiy Edelev, former head of "Russneft" Mikhail Gutseriev and businessman from Dagestan Suleiman Kerimov.

Let us remind you that Gutseriev's name reappeared in front pages of Russian media in late October, when London County Court cancelled his arrest order and the Interpol stopped searching the "Russneft" boss.

The authorities of Ingushetia are ready to meet Mikhail Gutseriev halfway, should he decide to come back to the republic, as reported on November 12 by Kaloy Akhilgov, press secretary of the Ingush President. However, on November 13, General-Lieutenant of Justice Alexei Anichin, head of the Investigatory Committee at the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Russian Federation, clarified that the criminal case against the "Russneft" boss Mikhail Gutseriev was not stopped. The investigatory bodies continue suspecting him of illegal entrepreneurship; and should the charges be confirmed, the businessman can be punished without deprivation of liberty.

Meanwhile, Medvedev's suggestion caused discrepant estimates both in Moscow and in the Caucasus.

"It's just impossible to work there normally," said Alexei Malashenko, an expert of the Carnegie Centre for Northern Caucasus. "I see no normal mechanism; maybe some genius will invent one." Stanislav Belkovskiy, president of the Institute for National Strategy, believes that a vice-premier or federal minister will be in charge of the region. He thinks that a "not very strong and dependent" from President of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov person will be appointed.

Yulia Latynina, an observer at the "Echo Moskvy" Radio, thinks that the person in charge of the state of affairs in Northern Caucasus is needed; however, the point is in the person to be appointed. In her opinion, to be able to address regional problems, this person should be a North-Caucasian native.

In Dagestan, some experts, Nadira Isaeva, editor-in-chief of the "Chernovik" weekly, among them, believe that appointment of "North-Caucasian boss" will change nothing. At the same time, another opinion is also expressed. Thus, according to the political scientist Dengi Khalidov, various North-Caucasian NGOs had repeatedly offered the country leadership to introduce such post; moreover, ranked as vice-premier.

Georgia's conflict with Abkhazia and South Ossetia continues at diplomatic level

Last week, the contradictions between Tbilisi and Tskhinvali and Sukhumi re-entered the international arena.

On November 11, in Abkhazian waters, near Anaklia village, Russian frontier guards detained Georgian seamen. According to Georgia's MIA, five Georgian seamen accused of illegal crossing the marine border and illegal fishing, were placed into the Sukhumi investigatory isolation facility. However, Andrei Nesterenko, official spokesman of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), said about nine detainees.

According to Mr Nesterenko, frontier guards detained the fishermen in the territorial waters of Abkhazia, not Georgia, which corresponds to Moscow-Sukhumi arrangements. On its part, the Georgia's MFA treated the incident as "a dirty Russia's provocation" and demanded immediate release of Georgian citizens.

On November 13, a Moscow delegation headed by Mayor Yuri Luzhkov visited Abkhazia. Within the meeting, the "Cooperation Agreements in Trade and Economic, Scientific and Technical, and Humanitarian and Cultural Areas" between Abkhazia and Moscow was signed by Messrs. Luzhkov and Bagapsh.

In this context, the Georgia's MFA served a protest note to Russian counterpart through the ambassador of the Swiss Confederation.

Last week, the most acute issue in Georgian-Ossetian was the fate of the four detained Georgian teenagers detained in South Ossetia on November 4. On November 9, their trial was to begin in South Ossetia; however, it was indefinitely postponed.

On November 12, the EU mission of observers in Georgia expressed its concern with the arrest. The observers said that it was inadmissible to keep teenagers at the pre-trial facility together with criminals. "Treatment of minors should meet the International Convention on Children's Rights," runs the statement of the EU Mission.

The issue of detained teenagers was discussed on November 11 in Geneva at the 8th round of debates on security and stability in the Caucasus.

According to Giga Bokeriya, Foreign Minister and head of the Georgian delegation, the official Tbilisi will continue exerting "pressure from all possible tribunes, first of all, on Russia to force them release these kids." However, Boris Chochiev, plenipotentiary envoy of President of South Ossetia for post-conflict settlement, reiterated that the Georgian teenagers had grenades and explosives. "They were twice visited by representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross; soon their relatives will be able to do the same," said Mr Chochiev.

He has emphasized that the Georgian party keeps five residents of South Ossetia since autumn 2008, calling them missing. The South-Ossetian party promised to suspend its participation in the mechanism for prevention and timely reaction to incidents, if Tskhinvali should not receive information about the kidnapped persons from Tbilisi.

The main issue in debates on safety and stability in the Caucasus was  drafting agreements on non-application of force. The participants of the meeting could not agree any future documents to this end. Actually, prior to the meeting, the parties had expressed their hard lines.

On November 10, the "Izvestia" newspaper published an article by Gregory Karassin, deputy head of Russia's MFA, entitled "Transcaucasia. In Geneva Format", where the author wrote that the main priority in Geneva has to do with the legal fixation in the form of official document Tbilisi's obligations not to use force, to be approved by "direct representatives of Georgia, on the one hand, and Abkhazia and South Ossetia, on the other."

"The Georgian party is ready to consider a force non-application agreement; however, only provided that the parties to such agreement are Russia as the country-aggressor and Georgia as the victim of the aggression, whose 20 percent of the territory is today occupied," the department for press and information of Georgia's MFA stated on November 11. It is desirable that "the Russian party takes a legal obligation of non-application of force."

European politicians were highly active in the diplomatic front of the conflict in the Caucasus.

On November 12, in the course of the visit to Georgia of 27 EU ambassadors, Hans Jorg-Haber, head of the Mission of EU observers, said that the European Union will not recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Moreover, the EU plans to use satellites for tracking military activities in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as the observers have no access to this territory. "As a result, we'll be able to document any essential troop dislocations or civil works," said Mr Haber.

Scandalous denunciations of corruption in the MIA by Novorossisk Major Dymovskiy

Last week, a broad resonance was given to the initiative of the recently dismissed senior operative officer of the UVD (City Interior Department) of Novorossisk Alexei Dymovskiy, who placed in his own website two video appeals to Vladimir Putin telling about numerous malversations of militia bosses.

On November 10 in Moscow, Mr Dymovskiy held a press conference, where he said that he possesses some secret information to be reported only in private to Russian Premier Vladimir Putin. Also, the militiaman wants to address President Dmitri Medvedev with his proposals on changing the structure of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA). Alexei Dymovskiy named the person against whom he was forced to initiate an illegal criminal case. This was the son of the militia lieutenant colonel from Novorossisk Slyshik by name who had a conflict with Dymovskiy's boss. Besides, Dymovskiy said that he managed to make 150 hours of audio records incriminating Novorossisk militiamen of corruption.

On that very day, Militia Lieutenant General Sergey Kucheruk, head of the GUVD (Chief Interior Department) of the Krasnodar Territory held his own press conference. He said that information "was actively checked" that the major could have been used by "certain third parties backed by western special agencies." A check in the context of Alexei Dymovskiy's video appeal was also launched by the Investigatory Department for the Krasnodar Territory. Also, a certain source from the Department of Internal Security of Russian MIA said that the major's public revelations were backed by the NGOs funded from abroad, in particular, the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

Dymovskiy himself had categorically refuted these accusations.

According to Vadim Karastelyov, an expert of the public organization named "Novorossisk Committee on Human Rights", Major Dymovskiy's supporters in Novorossisk are persecuted by the militia. Alexei told about his plans to "evacuate his family", since local law enforcers undertake illegal attempts to bring his son "to certain responsibility", and his mother-in-law was summoned to the prosecutor's office as someone filed a claim accusing her of extortion. However, after publication of these facts in the media, the militia pressure on Dymovskiy's family stopped, as he has reported.

On November 14, Dymovskiy also said that he had a chance to meet top MIA bosses, but he refused, as he believes that "generals are also involved in violations."

Meanwhile, as reported by Mr Karastelyov, actions in support of Militia Major Alexei Dymovskiy are prepared all over Russia; debates are on in social networks and Internet forums about the forms and methods of the planned all-Russian support campaign.

Count of daily victims in Northern Caucasus goes in dozens

On November 13, in the Chechen village of Shalazhi, a truck that transported several supposed militants from the grouping of field commander Islam Uspakhadzhiev, also known as "Imam", was shelled by missiles from helicopters. The authorities then reported that about ten militants were liquidated.

"Doku Umarov can be among the casualties," Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov said later. However, so far, the power agencies of Chechnya cannot confirm the fact of liquidation of the North-Caucasian militants' leader, since the bodies were so severely damaged by the shelling that it is even hard to count them.

On November 12, in Chechnya between Elistanzhi and Eshelkhatoy villages, Ahmad Pashaev, 20, a member of the armed underground was killed.

On November 11, power agents reported that they had liquidated five members of armed underground formations in the Shali District of Chechnya. Four casualties were identified; but it was asserted that the remaining militants managed to take away the fifth body and the wounded Arabian mercenary known as Yasir.

However, an activist of one of local NGOs, who preferred not to name himself, told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent that two out of four casualties of the armed clash had been law enforcers, liquidated on suspicion of complicity with militants. In his opinion, these were, most likely, Ilyas Khatsuev, 27, and Mokhdan Isaev, 26, as, under the official data, the other two militants murdered in the vicinity of Serzhen-Yurt village - Hussein Aliev and Abu Umarov, - had long been in search as members of illegal armed formations.

On November 9, the CTO (counterterrorist operation) regime was lifted in the Urus-Martan District of Chechnya, after the power agencies had reported liquidation of a supposed militant in the southern suburb of Tanga-Chu village.

The neighbouring Ingushetia also saw no decrease in the intensity of the conflict.

On November 15, unidentified persons shelled a militia post in the Sunzha District of Ingushetia, and then blew up the cars with the operative group, which hurried to the place of the incident.

On November 14, in one of the construction in the vicinity of the Nazran City Interior Department (GOVD) five bombardment missiles were detected installed by unidentified persons, with a self-made explosive attached to them. One of the missiles blew up at night and three more - in the morning on Saturday, November 14. One of the triggered missiles got into the GOVD building, where it blew up in the second level, contusing three law enforcers. Local sappers managed to neutralize the fifth missile.

On November 13, an explosion took place along the course of the column with servicemen in the area of Nazran. Nobody suffered; the circumstances of the incident are now studied.

On that very day, the FSB (Federal Security Bureau) reported liquidation in Ingushetia of Vakha Bekov, organizer of a series of terror acts. Together with him power agents shot dead two more persons.

On November 12 in Ingushetia, and unidentified bomb blew up under the car of Kosum Meiriev, Imam of the Sunzha District. The churchman was wounded and hospitalized.

Last week, a series of terror acts and diversions was committed in Dagestan.

On November 13, two bombs were planted into the cemetery of the Gubden village, Karabudakhkent District. One of them blew up and killed Elena Triftonidi, the widow of Abdulmalik Magomedov, former commander of the territorial militia unit, their daughter Gulbariyat Magomedova and Abdulmalik's sister Umukhanum Khizrieva. The second bomb was destroyed by bomb-disposal experts.

On the same day, two bombs were planted under the railway track. When sappers were surveying the territory, a trap mine got triggered. Nobody suffered; and sappers managed to neutralize both devices.

On November 11, two explosions were committed in the Mozdok-Kazimagomed gas line, which supplies gas from Russia to Azerbaijan. The gas supply was interrupted for 545,000 residents of Makhachkala and over 1000 more in Talgi village.

The situation in Karachai-Circassia also got radically worse.

On November 10, as a result of shelling a road-sentry unit in Karachaevsk, two road patrollers and a former employee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs were wounded.

On November 9, in the vicinity of Indysh village, in the course of the special operation aimed at detaining Ruslan Khubiev, suspected of attacking several militiamen, four supposed militants were liquidated, including Khubiev, and one militiaman was wounded.

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