Russia 110908 Basic Political Developments

Medvedev, Gül to discuss economic ties in Yaroslavl

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Medvedev, Gül to discuss economic ties in Yaroslavl
Sep 8, 2011 10:11 Moscow Time

Russia and Turkey are going to enter a new phase of economic cooperation as the countries` Presidents, Dmitry Medvedev and Abdullah Gül are meeting in Yaroslavl today as part of the Global Policy Forum.

Moscow says it is ready to supply more gas to Turkey via the Blue Stream gas pipeline.

Mr. Medvedev and Mr. Gül will also discuss the implementation of the South Stream pipeline which will run under the Black Sea to deliver Russian gas to Europe via Turkey.

The two leaders will also discuss how Russia has been coping with the construction of Turkey`s first nuclear power station.

02:33 08/09/2011ALL NEWS

09:57 08/09/2011ALL NEWS

Injured local deputy dies at Makhachkala hospital

MAKHACHKALA, September 8 (Itar-Tass) —— A deputy of the district council of the Novolaksky municipal district Gadzhibutta Alunkachayev, who was injured in an attempt on his life, died at the Makhachkala hospital, a source in the Dagestani Interior Ministry told Itar-Tass on Thursday.

“An unidentified gunman opened fire at 12.30 p.m. Moscow time on Wednesday at a deputy, who was the former deputy chief of the Novolaksky district, and a Novokuli resident Rashid Akhmedov at the hairdresser’s Shans on the crossroads of Ostrovsky and Ordzhonikidze Streets in Makhachkala,” the detectives said. “Akhmedov died instantaneously of heart gunshot wound,” the source said.

Alunkachayev was hospitalized with a severe head injury, but died at the hospital.

A criminal case was opened over the attempt on the life of the deputy. The investigation continues.

Special operations in Ingushetia
At least four militants have been killed in several special operations
in Ingushetia this morning, Interfax reports.

The law-enforcers are pursuing militants responsible for murders,
attacks and bombings. They are hiding in the village of Ekazhevo in
the Nazranovsky District of Ingushetia and the village of
Orzhonikidzevskaya in the Sunzhensky District,
Interfax reports.

A counter-terrorism regime was imposed in the village of
Orzhonikidzevskaya. Several militants were surrounded in a private
house. They refused to give up. Two militants were killed in a
RIA Novosti reports.

Improvised bombs, grenades and AK ammunition were found in the private
house. The house owner has been detained.

Militants were surrounded at 32 Taldiyev Street in the village of
Ekazhevo. Two militants were killed. An improvised bomb was found.

Three militants killed in Ingushetia
Sep 8, 2011 11:24 Moscow Time

Three militants have been killed during a special operation in Ingushetia in the Russian North Caucasus.

On Thursday morning, police were informed that militants were hiding in two villages. Special task units were sent to the areas.

The militants rejected an offer to surrender and opened fire. Three of them were shot in the clash. They were wanted for kidnappings and terrorism.

Three militants killed, 1 arrested in North Caucasus

Three militants have been killed and one more arrested during a special operation in Russia's volatile North Caucasus republic of Ingushetia on Thursday, according to Interfax news agency, citing the National Antiterrorist Committee spokesman Nikolay Sintsov. Security forces have also discovered a large cache of arms and explosive devices apparently owned by militants. Meanwhile, Ingush President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov told Itar-Tass news agency those killed were planning to carry out terror attacks.

09:39 08/09/2011ALL NEWS

Two policemen injured, civilian killed in Kabardino-Balkaria

NALCHIK, September 8 (Itar-Tass) —— Two policemen were injured and a civilian was killed in two armed attacks in the Baksan district in Kabardino-Balkaria overnight to Thursday.

The road police post came under fire at 11.30 p.m. Moscow time on Wednesday on the Caucasus federal highway near Psychokh, the republican investigation department of the Investigation Committee told Itar-Tass on Thursday. The driver of a car, which was stopped for an identity checkup, was killed, a policeman was injured, the source said.

An attempt on the life of a police major was made at about 8.20 p.m. Moscow time on Wednesday in Islamey in the Baksan district. “The police major was on the way back home in Yevgashuzhov Street and came under submachine gun fire from the gunmen,” the source said. The police major was injured in both legs and was hospitalized, the source said.

A criminal case was opened for an attempt on the life of law enforcers, the illegal circulation of weapons and murder. The investigation continues.

The emergency headquarters of the law enforcement agencies in Kabardino-Balkaria introduced an anti-terrorist operation regime over a tense situation in the Baksan district.

Chechen forces may face new scrutiny over abductions
Wed Sep 7, 2011 3:50pm GMT

By Alissa de Carbonnel

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Islam Umarpashayev had lost hope of getting away alive from Chechen security forces after he was kidnapped from his home, beaten and held for months in a basement, handcuffed to a radiator.

But the 26-year-old Chechen survived and, more than a year after his release, is fighting what could be a landmark case against his captors.

Human rights groups say progress in the case could signal a turning point after years of impunity for Chechen security forces fighting an Islamist insurgency, in which rights activists say hundreds of civilians have disappeared.

Federal Russian investigators have taken on the case, raising the activists' hopes that it could lead to what they say would be the first prosecution of the mainly Muslim region's security forces for five years.

Rights groups say Russian authorities have turned a blind eye to abuses in return for Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov keeping at least a shaky peace, but the Kremlin now wants to rein him in because of fears he has won too much autonomy.

"Some kind of political decision has been made at the top not to allow any more of this (abuse), and to use the judicial system to bring the Chechen authorities back to reality," said Oleg Orlov, head of the Russian human rights group Memorial.

Kadyrov has denied any part in abductions or killings in Chechnya, which remains volatile after two separatist wars with Moscow. Chechnya's OMON special police chief, Alikan Tsakayev, denied his force has detained civilians illegally and said he was cooperating with investigators.

But rights groups say Kadyrov has spread a climate of fear in Chechnya and Umarpashayev's case is vital because he is the only survivor brave enough to cooperate with investigators.

In an interview after months in hiding, Umarpashayev told Reuters the Chechen security officers had released him to convince his father to drop an appeal over his case to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights.

Umarpashayev, who said he did not know why he was detained, said he was still afraid of what might happen to him but he would not give up his fight for justice.

"There is one guy, I'm scared of falling back into his hands alive ... but there is no way back for me," he said, a baseball cap pulled low over his eyes on a dark street in the central city of Nizhny Novgorod on his way back to Chechnya.


Umarpashayev was freed after four months captivity on April 2 last year following pressure from European diplomats. Rights activists used his mobile phone to track him down and fought for his release at the court in Strasbourg.

The European court has ruled against Russia in 186 cases involving Chechnya, and while Moscow has paid thousands of dollars in fines as a result, the court has few means to ensure it acts to prevent repeat violations.

Umarpashayev said the security officers who beat him had told him he was being groomed to look like thick-bearded rebels and would be shot in a mock counter-terrorism operation.

"They wouldn't let me shave. With a beard and long hair, I would look like a militant. They told me: 'We'll give you fatigues and a gun and you'll die like a man!'," he said.

At one stage in the investigation, Umarpashayev said he had risked leaving state witness protection to return to Chechnya to identify one of his kidnappers.

His father, Irisbai, said threats had forced him and six other relatives to also flee but the family was continuing to seek justice.

"My son is the only one who went in to that hell and came out alive because we fought. We will keep fighting," he said.

Chronically jobless and raised during wars, Umarpashayev put his faith in an anti-establishment strain of Salafi Islam.

But he says he has no sympathy with militants seeking to establish an Islamic state in Russia's North Caucasus.

Human rights activist Igor Kalyapin, Umarpashayev's lawyer, said his client had been targeted for criticising policemen in mobile phone conversations with other young people.

"Since Kadyrov became leader, not one officer has ever been brought to justice. To even hint of shortcomings among Chechen police or that, God forbid, they torture people, is taboo," he said.

Alvi Karimov, a spokesman for Kadyrov, said human rights campaigners misunderstood the situation.

"Officers are killed every day and badly wounded fighting terrorists. Should there really be criminal cases against them?" he asked.


But Memorial, whose activists have been described by Kadyrov as "enemies of the people" for their efforts to expose rights abuses in Chechnya, said security forces had kidnapped at least 27 people and killed 24 in Chechnya last year.

Two people Umarpashayev says were imprisoned with him are still missing, and rights activists say they fear one is dead and the other has fled abroad.

Memorial says its figures may show only a quarter of the true scale of abuses because many Chechens have feared coming forward since one of the group's leading campaigners, Natalia Estemirova, was shot dead hours after being abducted in 2009.

In a surprise move, investigators said last month they would look into suspicions that local security forces were involved in her death. Memorial had previously accused Russia of not investigating Estemirova's death properly.

Kalyapin said local investigators were afraid of reprisals if they challenged the security forces. He is acting for the families of victims of seven kidnappings in 2009 but said Umarpashayev's was the only one where there had been progress.

In a letter leaked to rights groups last year showing the internal tensions, Viktor Ledenev, the provincial head of the Investigative Committee, complained to regional Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov that forces under his command were obstructing investigations.

Ledenev's deputy, Nikolai Khabarov, went further in a letter to Kalyapin in March. He said investigators were not only failing to solve crimes but colluding in concealing kidnappings.

"As a result ... the perpetrators flee and the whereabouts of the victims is never established," he wrote.

(Additional reporting by Maria Tsvetkova; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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