NORTH CAUCASUS (CIRCASSIA, INGUSHETIA, CHECHNYA, DAGESTAN)
European Rights Court Investigates Police Abduction of Journalists in Ingushetia. The European Court of Human Rights (E.C.H.R.) opened an investigation this week into the 2007 abduction of three television journalists by police in southwestern Russia’s Republic of Ingushetia, in the North Caucasus. The television crew was covering protests that followed the killing of a six-year-old boy during an anti-terrorist operation in Nazran, Ingushetia. Men believed to be police threatened to kill them if they did not flee Ingushetia.
Widow of Slain Warlord Complies with Ingush President’s Plea for Surrenders. Responding to last week’s call by the president of the Republic of Ingushetia to separatist militants to turn themselves in, the widow of a warlord who was killed in an anti-terrorist operation in September has surrendered to the authorities. The woman, Anastasia Alekseeva (Ganieva), was married to Timur Khayauri, a leader of the Sunzhenskoi Gang, and was herself involved in the Caucasus insurgency. The Ingush president, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, had publicized his cellphone number online and pleaded with separatist guerillas to turn themselves in.
5th Imam This Year Assassinated in Dagestan, in Drive-By Shooting. The drive-by assassination of an imam in Derbent, in southwestern Russia’s Republic of Dagestan, on October 30th brings to five the number of religious leaders killed by militants in the republic this year. Unidentified gunmen shot Karimulla Ibragimov dead along with his father and brother. He was said to be in charge of an unregistered mosque that was attended by several Islamist radicals.
House Siege Kills 2 Militants in Dagestan. Two militants besieged in a house in Khasavyurt, in southwest Russia’s Republic of Dagestan, were killed by police on October 28th when they refused to surrender. The search was on for a third member of the gang who escaped.
SOUTH CAUCASUS (GEORGIA, ARMENIA, AZERBAIJAN)
Belarus Foreign Minister Won’t Rule Out Recognizing Abkhazia, South Ossetia. The foreign minister of the Republic of Belarus, Uladzimir Makei, said October 30th that he did not rule out extending diplomatic recognition to South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two Russian puppet states carved out of the Republic of Georgia after the fall of Communism. But he said the decision would be made “on the basis of national interests.” Currently, only the Russian Federation and a handful of third-world countries recognize the two republics.
Georgia May Recognize Abkhaz and South Ossetian “Passports,” Minister Says. Mere weeks after Georgians elected a president expected to be more conciliatory toward Russia, Georgia’s minister for “reintegration,” Paata Zakareishvili, spoke in favor of his government recognizing the passport-like identity papers issued by two de facto independent Russian puppet states carved out of Georgian territory after the fall of the Soviet Union: Abkhazia and South Ossetia. He said recognition would allow greater freedom of travel between the territories, both of which are occupied by Russian troops.
South Ossetian Parliament Pushes “Ossetianization” of Russian, Georgian Surnames. The parliament of the Republic of South Ossetia, a de facto independent Russian puppet state which most of the world regards as part of the Republic of Georgia, adopted legislation this week creating a mechanism for citizens to change their surnames to Ossetian-sounding ones if desired. The traditional Ossetian surname suffixes -ty, -ti, and -on can now replace the Georgian endings -shvili and -dze and the Russian ones -ov and -ova in a bureaucratically streamlined manner.