Sunday, August 23, 2009

ARTICLES: RFE/RL Caucasus Report

A review of RFE/RL reporting and analysis about the countries of the South Caucasus and Russia's North Caucasus region. For more stories on the Caucasus, please visit and bookmark our Caucasus page .

Group's Claim Of Russian Power Plant Attack Dismissed Russian officials have dismissed apparent claims by the militant group Riyad-us Salihiin that it was behind this week's deadly explosion at a hydroelectric station in Siberia. But analysts say the group is developing the ability to strike deep inside Russia. More

Armenia Steps Up Security On Websites After Cyberattacks Armenian authorities are stepping up security after a wave of cyberattacks on government websites, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports. More

Medvedev Outlines Strategy To Contain North Caucasus Violence Russian President Dmitry Medvedev convened a session of the Security Council in Stavropol on August 19 to evaluate the security situation in the North Caucasus in light of the suicide bombing in Nazran two days earlier that claimed 25 lives. More

Early Ramadan Raises Health Concerns For the first time in decades, Muslims will be observing the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in what will be the peak of summer in the northern hemisphere. The timing has prompted concerns over how believers can deal with sunrise-to-sunset food and water abstention during the year's hottest days, while maintaining their health. More

Armenian Journalist Spurns 'Illegal' Amnesty An Armenian photojournalist who was penalized for contempt of court has successfully petitioned authorities in Yerevan to rule illegal the amnesty that was granted to him in July, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports. More

Eurovision Investigating Baku's Questioning Of Voters The head of the Eurovision Song Contest says the organization is investigating reports that Azerbaijani officials are interrogating Azerbaijanis who voted for the Armenian entry in the May contest, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports. More

Georgian Interior Ministry Makes First Concession To Opposition Ten Georgian opposition activists detained for their participation in the protest demonstrations launched in April to force President Mikheil Saakashvili to resign have been released from pretrial detention following a landmark meeting on August 12 between the leaders of several Georgian extraparliamentary opposition parties and Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili. More

Daghestan's Leaders Seek To Allay Public Panic In the four weeks since Daghestan Security Council Chairman Ali Magomedov was named to head the republic's Interior Ministry, 16 police officers have been killed in 10 separate militant attacks in five towns or regions. More

Is Russia Losing the North Caucasus? A wave of bloody attacks in Russia's North Caucasus region is fueling speculation that Moscow is losing control over its volatile southern region. Experts blame the Kremlin for failing to tackle endemic poverty and corruption. But some say the violence is evidence of an effective military crackdown against a handful of extremists, pushing them to commit desperate acts. More

Armenian President's Turkey Visit Called 'Irrelevant' The main Armenian opposition group says a possible visit by President Serzh Sarkisian to Turkey in October would be "irrelevant" to the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports. More

Armenian Activist Faces Jail After Citing Alleged Abuse A young civic activist is facing criminal proceedings and the possibility of two years’ imprisonment for helping to trigger a scandal about alleged sexual and other abuse at a Yerevan school for children with special needs, RFE/RL’s Armenian Service reports. More

Surge In North Caucasus Violence Reflects Diversification Of Resistance Tactics The attacks on police in Daghestan on August 13, and Ingushetia on August 17 serve to highlight the extent to which resistance jamaats in different North Caucasus republics adapt and modify their tactics in light of local conditions and constraints, and their own growing numerical strength. More

Russia's U-Turn Toward Zakayev Russian rulers, courtiers, and bureaucrats have been anything but uncreative, inflexible and lacking in ideas. Even today, a Russian politician can perform U-turns and somersaults that would turn any acrobat green with envy. Witness the Kremlin's overtures to Akhmed Zakayev. More

Azerbaijani Authorities Interrogate Music Fan Over Armenia Vote Rovshan Nasirli, a resident of the Azerbaijani capital Baku, this week received a surprise summons to the National Security Ministry for questioning. His transgression? Voting for the Armenian contestants in this year's Eurovision Song Contest. More

Readers React To Kadyrov Interview More

Are Chechen Factions Headed Toward Unity? Officials from both the pro-independence Chechen government in exile and the Moscow-backed Chechen administration have announced plans to hold a World Congress of Chechens later this year. Will that gathering contribute to the hoped-for consolidation of the Chechen people? Or is it just intended primarily to enhance the image of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov? More

Likely New U.S. Diplomat For Eurasia 'Gets Things Done' The United States will soon have a new deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. The man who is vacating the post after four years, Matthew Bryza, has announced he will be replaced by Tina Kaidanow, a longtime diplomat with more than 10 years of experience in the Balkans, who most recently served as the first U.S. ambassador to Kosovo. More

Azerbaijan To Adopt New Law On Political Parties Azerbaijani parliamentarian Siyavush Novruzov, who is deputy executive secretary of the ruling Yeni Azerbaycan Party, told journalists in Baku on August 10 that when it reconvenes for the fall session, the parliament plans to adopt a new law regulating the activities of, and funding for, political parties. More

Life In Kadyrov's Grozny Permeated By Fear Chechens praise Ramzan Kadyrov for overseeing the republic's dramatic reconstruction after two wars. At least in public. Off the record, many call Kadyrov an autocratic thug who's imposed order through fear. RFE/RL correspondent Gregory Feifer traveled to Grozny for a behind-the-scenes look at life in the capital. More

Two More Rights Activists Murdered In Chechnya Zarema Sadulayeva, the head of a charity for Chechen war victims, was found shot dead today along with her husband, Alik Dzhabrailov. More

Freed Armenian Editor Pledges To Fight For Change As He Fights For His Life Arman Babajanian, the gravely ill newspaper editor released from prison last week, pledged to fight for leadership change in Armenia alongside the country’s main opposition force today as he prepared to travel abroad for urgent medical treatment. More

Russian Rights Groups Assails Kadyrov Over Estemirova Comments The Russian rights group Memorial has responded strongly to comments made to RFE/RL by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov about slain activist Natalya Estemirova. More

Is Ingushetia Heading For A New Political Standoff? Ingushetian President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov was discharged from hospital in Moscow today, exactly seven weeks after sustaining serious injuries in a suicide-bomb attack. He is likely to resume his duties by the end of this month, by which time political tensions may be on the rise in the run-up to the municipal elections scheduled for October 11. More

NGOs Orchestrate Grandiose Show Of Suppport For KBR President NGOs in the Kabardino-Balkaria Republic (KBR) convened a meeting in Nalchik on August 6 under the slogan "For peace, for concord, for unity," at which speakers proceeded to demonize the republic's Balkar minority for allegedly seeking to destabilize the political situation. At the same time, participants praised KBR President Arsen Kanokov's success in galvanizing the republic's stagnating economy, and called on the republic's 900,000-plus population to close ranks in his support. More

Playing Billiards With Chechen Strongman Kadyrov RFE/RL's interview with Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov has sparked a good debate on our Russian site. More

Ramzan Kadyrov's Evolving Political Credo Ramzan Kadyrov's career trajectory, from the poorly educated son of a Muslim cleric to one of the most powerful men in Russia, epitomizes Mao Tse-Tung's classic pronouncement that "political power grows out of the barrel of a gun." But Kadyrov's recent statements reflect a desire for a redefinition of the powers of federation subject heads that would strengthen his position even further. More

Chechen Leader Denies Blame For Killings When Russian rights activist Natalya Estemirova was abducted and brutally murdered last month, her colleagues blamed Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. They accuse him of fostering an atmosphere of impunity in which the abductions and killings of his critics take place. But in an exclusive interview, Kadyrov denies the charges and accuses the West of spreading lies about him. More

Semneby: Don't Blow 'Virtual' Incidents Out Of Proportion Peter Semneby, the European Union's special representative to the South Caucasus, has been in the Georgia capital, Tbilisi, for meetings with government officials, opposition members and NGOs. Semneby also visited Sukhumi, the capital of the separatist region of Abkhazia. One year after the start of the war between Russia and Georgia, the ambassador sat down for an interview in Tbilisi on August 6 with Nino Gelashvili of RFE/RL's Georgian Service. More

Causes And Effects Of The Russia-Georgia War Ahead of the first anniversary of the Russia-Georgia war that erupted on August 7-8, 2008, RFE/RL's Georgian Service invited two intent Russia- and Georgia-watchers for a discussion of the actions that precipitated that conflict, what it taught both countries and the international community, and its effect on future relations in the region and farther afield. The participants were Edward Lucas, author of "The New Cold War: How The Kremlin Menaces Both Russia And The West," and Lincoln Mitchell, a Georgia scholar and assistant professor in the Practice of International Politics, Columbia University. The discussion was moderated by RFE/RL Georgian Service correspondent Salome Asatiani and director David Kakabadze. More

No comments: