In a Climate of Fear “Political Process” and Parliamentary Elections in Chechnya

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Joint Publication of the Human Rights Center “Memorial”, Center “Demos”, International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF), International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Norwegian Helsinki Committee

In a Climate of Fear

“Political Process” and Parliamentary Elections in Chechnya

The report was originally drafted in October-November 2005 and released on the eve of the November 27 parliamentary elections in Chechnya. In January 2006, it was revised and expanded to reflect the events of the voting days as well as some follow-up developments.


From the Editors 3

Introduction 4

Section I – Essence of the “Political Process” in Chechnya: From Referendum to

Parliamentary Elections 6

Chapter 1 – Analysis of the “Political Process” in the Chechen Republic (2003-2005) 6

The Referendum 6

The Presidential Election of 5 October 2003 9

The Early Presidential Election of 29 March 2004 11

The Round Table of the Council of Europe on the Political Situation in the

Chechen Republic 14

Chapter 2 - The Situation of the Media on the Eve of the Parliamentary

Elections in Chechnya 15

Lack of Infrastructure and Distribution Networks 16

Ownership 16

Self-Censorship 16

Persecution and Censorship 17

The Climate of Fear 17

Chapter 3 – Preparations for the Parliamentary Election in Chechnya 18

Section II – In a Climate of Fear 27

Chapter 4 – Activity of Chechen Rebel Fighters and Armed Clashes

Between the Antagonists 27

Chapter 5 – New Developments in the Activities of the Security Services in the

Chechen Republic in the Light of the “Chechenization of the Conflict 31

Chapter 6 – Illegal Methods Used in the “Counter-Terrorist Operation” by

Chechen Enforcement Groups 39

Hostage-taking and Abuse of Official Powers to Execute Personal Vendetta

or Attain Personal Gain 39

Abuse of Official Powers for Execution of Personal Vendettas or Attaining

Personal Gain 41

Torture and Cruel and Degrading Treatment 42

Fabrication of Criminal Cases 48

Abductions and “Disappearances” 55

Section III - Voting in the parliamentary elections in the Chechen Republic and the first decision of the newly elected parliament. 63

Chapter 1 – The situation on the day of elections: based on data from monitoring by the Human Rights Centre “Memorial”. 63

Grozny 63

Kurchaloevskii Region of the Chechen Republic 65
Chapter 2 - The situation on the day of voting: based on the data from monitoring by the Centre “DEMOS”. 67
Chapter 3 - The first decision of the Parliament of the Chechen Republic (Post Scriptum) 71

Conclusion 73

Appendix - Key information about the parliamentary election results in the Chechen Republic 76

List of Abbreviations

APC – Armored Personnel Carrier
GUVD – Municipal Department of Internal Affairs
FSB – Federal Security Service
IVS – Temporary Detention Center (under Ministry of Internal Affairs)
KPRF – Communist Party of the Russian Federation
MVD –Ministry of Internal Affairs
OGV – Joint Group of Troops (in Chechnya)
OMON – Special Task Police Unit
ORB – Operative Investigation Bureau
OSCE – Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
PACE – Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
ROVD – District Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (district police station)
RSO-A – Republic of North Ossetia-Alania
SIZO – Pretrial Detention Center (under Ministry of Justice)
SPS – Union of the Rights Forces (political party)
UPOB – Department for Combat of Organized Crime

From the editors

The present report has been co-authored by five Russian and international human rights organizations – the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF), Norwegian Helsinki Committee, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Center “Demos” and Human Rights Center “Memorial” - which permanently follow the situation in and around the Chechen Republic. The evidence included in this report has been collected through monitoring and field research in Chechnya.

This report reflects and illustrates the common position of all the organizations, which they have developed on the basis of long-term involvement or presence in the region: that the claims of the Russian government that in the last several years the situation in the Chechen Republic has stabilized and Chechnya has returned to peaceful life do not reflect the reality. There is no authentic conflict resolution. Moreover, the policy of the federal center of the Russian Federation only intensifies the “Chechen deadlock”. An important aspect of this policy is the imitation of a political process. The process leading up to and including the parliamentary elections, which will take place in Chechnya on November 27, 2005, represents a cynical and dangerous game, which has contributed to the establishment of a climate of fear.

In the first section of the report, “Essence of the “Political Process” in Chechnya”, we analyze the dynamic of the “political process in the Chechen Republic” from the Referendum of 2003 to the parliamentary elections of 2005 (chapter 1); the situation of media on the eve of the parliamentary elections (chapter 2); and the preparation for the parliamentary elections (chapter 3).

The second section, “In a Climate of Fear”, presents an analysis of the activities of the Chechen fighters (chapter 4), and the republican security agencies (chapters 5 and 6), such as hostage taking and vendetta or personal gain through abuse of official power, torture, fabrication of criminal cases on terrorism, and abductions.

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