September 1, 2010 — Contents

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 1 CONTENTS

(1)  EDITORIAL: Три четверти россиян хотели бы покинуть Россию

(2)  EDITORIAL:  The Shameless Fraud called Putin

(3)  Update on Russian Butchery of Soldiers

(4)  Russians don’t Emigrate because they Might have to Obey the Law

(5)  CARTOON:  Medvedev, and Counting

NOTE:  Springtime for Stalin!  Russia Today gets an Emmy nomination, and Kim Zigfeld gets a migraine.  She has all the details in her latest installment of her Russia column over at Pajamas Media.

NOTE:  Wordpress has kindly provided us with a new facility for inserting links and tags into our posts for informational purposes so as to better disseminate our content.  We are beta testing this system, our links are in bold and the computer-generated links are in plain type.

9 responses to “September 1, 2010 — Contents

  1. Islamist rebels launch deadly attack on Chechen president’s village

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/aug/29/chechnya-president-islamist-attack

    TV footage showed a burnt-out car 150 metres from the entrance to Kadyrov’s residence. The rebels claim they carried out a “sweep” of the village, occupying it for one hour, and burning down 10 houses. They also seized ammunition and communications equipment, the website said.

    The assault on Kadyrov’s fortress-like headquarters appears to be a symbolic blow against Chechnya’s pro-Moscow president rather than a genuine assassination attempt. It is a reminder that, despite frequent Kremlin claims to the contrary, Kadyrov and other local leaders have failed to stop the Islamist insurgency in Russia’s northern Caucasus.

    “This is a very painful strike not only against Ramzan [Kadyrov] but against Moscow,” Alexei Malashenko, an expert on the north Caucasus at Moscow’s Carnegie Centre, said. “Tsentoroi is like a fortress with a lot of tanks and military men. I’ve been there several times.”

    “The situation in the North Caucasus is now much more difficult than [Vladimir] Putin or [Dmitry] Medvedev imagine it. We are talking about a growing Islamist opposition and hundreds or even thousands of militants in Chechnya alone, with more young men joining them up in the mountains. It’s a civil war. Invisible or visible, it’s a war.”

    The village may also have been chosen out of revenge, Malashenko said. Kadyrov – who has been accused of involvement in the murder of the journalist Anna Politkovskaya, a claim he denies, as well as numerous human rights abuses – has his own private prison in Tsentoroi, where inmates including captured rebels are often tortured, survivors have testified.

    • Kadyrov, 33, a pro-Kremlin strongman, has been accused by human rights groups of using torture and his personal security forces to crack down on critics in his half-decade in power in Chechnya.

      Shootings and bomb attacks are a near-daily occurrence in the North Caucacus, where pro-Russian authorities are battling an Islamist insurgency.

      While the bulk of recent violence has been reported in the republics of Dagestan and Ingushetia, the impression of relative calm in Chechnya is misleading and a result of a crackdown on dissent, Alexandre Cherkasov, an expert in the region for NGO Memorial, told AFP.

      “The situation deteriorated in 2009 and there is no reason to believe that it has improved since then,” said Cherkasov.

      http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jjN9tEUbVQwSX_QWIO2Wg9yPCV4g

    • “We had information [about the imminent attack] and we were waiting near Tsentoroi,” Kadyrov told reporters.

      “We let them enter the village, so they dispersed. And we even prepared a place, where it was possible to destroy them. And the guys from [the president’s] personal security service did a great job.”

      Two law-enforcement officers were killed and two were hospitalized during the operation, Kadyrov said. Four civilians were also wounded, according to the president.

      Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency, however, reports that five civilians were killed in the shoot-out, which began at around 0430 local time.

      Identities Unclear

      The identity of the suspected militants and their allegiances to insurgent groups remains unclear.

      RFE/RL’s Caucasus analyst Liz Fuller points out that in recent years Kadyrov has “consistently overestimated the number of fighters killed and underestimated the number of fighters still hiding out in the mountains.”

      Fuller describes the August 29 attack as the “largest-scale offensive launched by Chechen fighters so far this year,” and also the “boldest” as the suspected militants targeted Kadyrov’s hometown.

      http://www.rferl.org/content/Twelve_Suspected_Rebels_Killed_In_Chechnya/2140449.html

  2. Kadyrov Is Warned: ‘You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide’

    August 30, 2010
    Precisely what happened during the fighting early yesterday morning in Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov’s home village of Tsentoroi remains unclear. But the version promulgated by insurgency websites is far more credible than the contradictory accounts Kadyrov himself has given.

    The insurgency website Kavkazcenter.com gave periodic, increasingly detailed updates throughout the day. It claims that up to 60 militants in three detachments, led by amirs Zaurbek, Makhran, and Abdurakhman (all three are featured in this portrait gallery), penetrated the village at around 4:30 a.m. local time, destroyed the homes of 10 of Kadyrov’s closest associates, killed up to 15 of Kadyrov’s men, and blew up an armored personnel carrier before retreating an hour later, taking with them quantities of weaponry. The fighters sent an SMS message to RFE/RL’s North Caucasus Service at 6:30 a.m. local time saying, “Tsentoroi is burning.”

    Speaking three hours after the attack, Kadyrov claimed initially that the attacking force numbered between 15-30 fighters, of whom 12 were killed. He said his security forces had advance warning of the planned attack, permitted the fighters to enter the village and disperse, and then cornered them.

    Chechen Interior Ministry sources confirmed that the militants entered the village and set fire to several homes. But Kadyrov claimed in his personal blog later on August 29 that his men opened fire on the fighters as they were approaching the outskirts of the village and that the fighters were swiftly surrounded and killed.

    An unnamed Chechen security official confirmed to Kavkaz-Uzel that at least one of the fighters killed was from Zaurbek Avdorkhanov’s group.

    Official claims that there were 15-30 attackers are not credible. The insurgents are not amateurs, or mad: One would have had to be both to launch an attack with so few men on one of the most heavily guarded villages in Chechnya, as the website Kavkaz-uzel quoted one local expert as pointing out.

    By the same token, the insurgents’ account of a three-pronged attack is in line with the objectives they reportedly set — and accomplished. Their reported losses — chechenpress.org quoted Zaurbek as saying eight fighters were killed — are credible. And their unsubstantiated claim, citing an unnamed Tsentoroi resident, that the dead men Kadyrov identified as slain attackers were young men who had been held for some time in Kadyrov’s private prison in Tsentoroi is entirely in keeping with what is known of his treatment of anyone suspected of abetting, or even sympathizing with the insurgency.

    If the Kavkazcenter account is true, then the August 29 operation was, as Moscow-based expert Aleksei Malashenko described it to “The Guardian,” a very painful blow against both Kadyrov and Moscow.

    It was the largest-scale and most audacious attack launched in Chechnya for over a year. It sends the message that despite reports earlier this month of a rift within the insurgency ranks, the Chechnya-based fighters are still a force to be reckoned with, even though it is not clear whether the attack was ordered by insurgency commander and self-styled leader of the North Caucasus Emirate Doku Umarov or by the four Chechnya-based commanders (Aslambek, Tarkhan, Khuseyn and Mukhannad) who withdrew their support for him following his disavowal of video footage in which he announced his resignation to relinquish the leadership and enjoined fighters to pledge support for one of them as his chosen successor.

    Moreover, the insurgency manpower is clearly in excess of the “maximum 70 fighters” Kadyrov claimed on August 10. They have few problems moving freely on densely populated territory controlled by the enemy. They now have a strategist experienced enough to plan and coordinate a three-pronged attack, and three mid-level commanders capable of carrying it out with minimal losses. They have quantities of light weaponry — Kalashnikovs, machine-guns, sniper rifles, and rocket-propelled grenade launchers (RPGs). The website hunafa.com recently posted footage of a lone masked fighter opening fire from an RPG on the 503rd Motor Rifle Division on August 13.

    The Chechen resistance managed to retake Grozny from a numerically superior Russian force in August 1996 armed with only such light weapons. But the insurgency has not launched a large-scale attack involving hundreds of fighters since the death of veteran military strategist Shamil Basayev in July 2006, which raises the question: Who among the current leaders has the know-how to plan such an operation?

    Yesterday’s attack nonetheless is of huge symbolic significance for the message it sends to one of the most powerful and feared men in Russia: “You can run, but you can’t hide, even on your own native turf.” Whether it heralds a shift in tactics, at least in Chechnya if not elsewhere in the North Caucasus, is too early to predict.

    http://www.rferl.org/content/Kadyrov_Is_Warned_You_Can_Run_But_You_Cant_Hide/2141433.html

    • @The insurgency website Kavkazcenter.com

      KC is not an “insurgency website” anymore, it’s basically Movladi Udugov’s personal private website. The Chechen mujahideen are no longer following Umarov, and even Umarov dismissed Udugov.

      Zakayev-affilated nationalist website Chechenpress cited commander Zaurbek saying 8 fighters were killed in the attack (the Russian TV footage also showed 7-8 corpses piled by Kadyrov for a photoshoot) with an estimated up to 30 enemy casualties, they also say a video from their side will be published:
      http://chechenpress.org/events/2010/08/29/04.shtml

    • @one of the most heavily guarded villages in Chechnya

      More like the single most heavily guarded village in Chechnya.

      @It sends the message that despite reports earlier this month of a rift within the insurgency ranks, the Chechnya-based fighters are still a force to be reckoned with,

      They basically expelled Umarov, who was probably not even in Chechnya anyway, maybe some of his die-hard Chechen followers. Not a big loss.

      @even though it is not clear whether the attack was ordered by insurgency commander and self-styled leader of the North Caucasus Emirate Doku Umarov

      I don’t think he has any real following in Chechnya now.

      @Moreover, the insurgency manpower is clearly in excess of the “maximum 70 fighters” Kadyrov claimed on August 10.

      More like as he is claiming ever since 2006, at least:
      http://www.kommersant.com/p693680/r_1/Ramzan_Kadyrov_Invites_Nashi_to_Have_Fun_in_Chechnya/

      @The Chechen resistance managed to retake Grozny from a numerically superior Russian force in August 1996 armed with only such light weapons.

      Very unlikely now, the last large-scale attack on Grozny was in 2004 and it was just a hit-and-run raid.

      Since then the rebels (broadly speaking) only seized small villages, never a town except Nazran in Ingushetia and a failed attempt in Nalchik in KBR (involving Basayev to some degree, but mostly a botched job by the local Kabardin and Balkar amatours).

      @But the insurgency has not launched a large-scale attack involving hundreds of fighters since the death of veteran military strategist Shamil Basayev in July 2006,

      Yeah, this. Also Russia has now thousands of veteran former rebels in Kadyrov’s service, not the piss poor-quality ethnic Russian soldiers and policemen like in 1996. Here too Chechens clashed against the other Chechens.

    • Kadyrov:

      “This is an average Chechen village. Anyone can walk in but it is impossible to leave for those with bad intentions. The militants learned that it was true,” he said.

      The attack consolidated the people of Chechnya. “Hundreds of people came to the village from entire Chechnya immediately after the news was posted. People started calling from neighboring republics to express their support. The attack had no effect on the republican life. On the contrary, it once again displayed the true face of the militants to the people,” he said.

      ;)

      http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=15448739

  3. Two days after the attack, in the morning on August 29, of militants on Tsentoroy village in Chechnya, there is no exact data on the number of casualties and victims among power agents and peaceful residents, as well as on the number of attackers. The family village of the president of Chechnya is completely blocked; and local residents cannot leave it yet.

    Initially, the official authorities reported that the fight with a grouping of militants burst out in the suburb of the village; now it has become known that the skirmish happened inside the village, which is defended not only by employees of Chechen power agencies, but also by their Russian colleagues. The attack of a group of militants on Ramzan Kadyrov’s family village Tsentoroy (Khosi-Yurt) was a complete surprise both for the population of the republic and for power agents.

    Some local experts believe that, despite the stressed victorious tone, with which President of Chechnya was talking about the defeat of the attack on his family village, this militants’ action has essentially undermined Ramzan Kadyrov’s authority and image.

    “The contradictory information about the incident, when initially it was reported about two liquidated and several wounded power agents, and now it appears that there were more than 20 casualties and victims (according to the latest data, six militiamen were lost, and 18 militiamen and 7 local residents were wounded), is another evidence that the leaders have no trustworthy information. The authorities and power agents operated under their usual plan – they have strongly underestimated their losses and overestimated those of their opponents. Now, we can’t exclude still tougher measures against any persons, who may be suspected of any sympathy to the armed underground,” the source believes.

    http://www.eng.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/14287/

  4. The Pajamas article by LR is shocking even to a cynic.

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