Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has dropped his lawsuits against a number of Russian human rights defenders, writes Michael Schwirtz in the New York Times.
Prague Watchdog has published a recent interview with Akhmed Zakayev.
At Prague Watchdog, Memorial worker Usam Baysayev writes about the Chechen human rights defenders who became supporters of Ramzan Kadyrov.
What causes anxiety to the Russian government’s voluntary helpers is apparently the fact that Kadyrov is killing people not in order to increase the might of the Russian state, but to strengthen his own personal power. The man in the street, however, is bound to feel absolutely indifferent – after all, murders that are “needed” or “unneeded” by Russia, “useful” or “harmful” to it, will be committed in Chechnya no matter who is in charge. Kadyrov’s power is no better and no worse than the power of the FSB or any other Russian agency, since they are all reinforced by the same conveyor belt of death. And the protection of the public interest, the interest of the state, will not help the lawyers of the future to obtain a mitigation of the indictment. What matter are not the goals but the methods, and it’s the shedding of blood that counts, not good intentions. Seen with the eyes of the victims, the Russian state struggling for its territorial integrity and Kadyrov’s provincial dictatorship are no different from each other. In both cases the people end up equally dead, and their injuries look the same. And it does not matter at all how the power is divided up, or which of the criminals cherishes a dream of freedom and independence.
Several prominent human rights activists have expressed grave concern over the plan of Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov to open so-called Chechen Cultural Centres in several countries in the EU. The regime in Grozny, with Moscow’s acquiescence, intends to open such centres in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, and Poland, each home to a large Chechen diaspora.
The human rights activists remind the EU states of the reason that such sizable diaspora of Chechens have come into being: the establishment of a totalitarian regime based on violence, fear, and denunciation. The activists call on the EU states not to allow the establishment of Kadyrov’s semi-embassies in their territory.
The signatories of the appeal are US human rights activist Nadezhda Banchik; Mayrbek Taramov, chairman of the Chechen Human Rights Centre in Sweden; Viktoria Pupko, president of the Boston Committee against Ethnic Cleansing; Said-Emin Ibragimov, chairman of the French-based Peace and Human Rights association; and Yelena Maglevannaya, journalist and human rights activist currently residing in Finland.
“All independent sources report that Moscow’s puppet ruler, Ramzan Kadyrov, has created a regime of totalitarian regime aimed at the devastation of yet another generation of Chechens through physical terror and moral corruption,” the signatories write. They ask whether EU states wish for such a regime to spread its influence and culture of violence on their territory.
Kadyrov’s so-called cultural centres would only serve the purpose of destabilising Chechen diasporas in Europe, killing politically active Chechen refugees, pressuring EU countries not to accept more Chechen refugees, and intimidating those who have managed to flee to return, the signatories say.
The website of the American Committee for Peace in the Caucasus has published video footage (YouTube) of Moscow-backed Ramzan Kadyrov’s second-in-command, Adam Delimkhanov, issuing threats to human rights workers on Grozny TV, 11 days before the execution of Natalya Estemirova, and little over a month before the execution of Zarema Sadulayeva and her husband Umar Dzhabrailov. In the video, Delimkhanov, speaking in Chechen, says:
There are certain people who call themselves ‘human rights defenders,’ who actually help these militant scum [sic], these criminal-militants, who work for them and do their dirty work, promote their politics,… they carry on various dialogues…, [sic]
But I know the mood among the security services, the society; I know what the simple folk are saying. They’re saying that the claims made by these people [human rights workers], and a certain Aushev and others, in other words, what they’re saying and doing, their evil deeds are no better than those of the militants hiding out in the forest.
These people [human rights activists] are confusing the people with their rhetoric, are deceiving them. But they won’t fool the people. They won’t succeed in this. Truth and justice will always prevail… Our soldiers here, commanders, our guys are always asking me, ‘what do these people (activists) want?’ and I tell them that they’re not worth a penny to me. [sic]
God willing, all those that support evil, we will hold responsible. Each one of them, be they Chechen or Ingush or whom have you, should know, that they will pay for their words…”
Via the BBC:
The head of a Russian charity and her husband have been found dead in Chechnya a day after their abduction, activists and officials said.
The bodies of Zarema Sadulayeva and her husband were found with gunshot wounds in a car boot near the Chechen capital Grozny, the interior ministry said.
Armed men seized the two on Monday from the offices of Ms Sadulayeva’s charity, Let’s Save the Generation.
The case follows July’s abduction and killing of activist Natalia Estemirova.
Ms Sadulayeva and her husband Alek Djabrailov were in their mid-20s and had just got married, reports say.
Their bodies were found in the boot of Mr Djabrailov’s car in the Chernorechye suburb of Grozny early on Tuesday, an official at the Chechen prosecutor’s office said.
The official, quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency, said the armed kidnappers had been wearing camouflage uniforms.