Russian secret services have foiled an attack on President Vladimir Putin close to Red Square, it has been claimed.

From: MSN NicknameEagle_wng  (Original Message)    Sent: 3/17/2008 7:04 AM
Vladimir Putin assassination attempt ‘foiled’

By Will Stewart in Moscow
Last Updated: 2:39am GMT 16/03/2008

Russian secret services have foiled an attack on President Vladimir Putin close to Red Square, it has been claimed.
Vladmimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev
Mr Putin and his president-elect, Dmitry Medvedev, were apparently targeted at this concert

A man with a sniper rifle and Kalashnikov assault gun was found and detained in a rented apartment overlooking Moscow’s St Basil’s Cathedral, on March 2, the day of the Presidential election in Russia.

Mr Putin and his president-elect, Dmitry Medvedev, appeared under the cathedral for a late-night pop concert once early results indicated that Mr Medvedev would win a landslide.

The popular Tvoi Den newspaper, which broke the story, claimed that both men could have been killed from the flat which was in the line of sight of a stage where they appeared.

The gunman was named by the newspaper as Shakhvelad Osmanov, a 24-year-old Tajik national. His sniper rifle was said to be foreign-made and to have optical lenses, it said.

The newspaper claimed that an informant told FSB officials a few days before the election that Mr Putin’s assassination was being planned.

The revelation came after Nikolai Patrushev, head of Russia’s FSB secret services, said last week that his officers had foiled “terrorist attacks” during the election campaign.

It was unclear why it had taken so long for the alleged assassination bid to be made public and why a tabloid newspaper was chosen as the outlet. The FSB have not confirmed or denied the report, but Interfax, the Russian news agency, quoted an unnamed secret service official who denied the report.

“Reports that there was some kind of plot against the leadership of the country are absolutely false,” the unnamed officer was quoted as saying.

The officer confirmed there had been arrests in March of “people with weapons” but said it had nothing to do with an assassination plot. “We are talking about an organised crime group.”

An apartment had been rented on the other side of the Moscow River from the Kremlin for the purpose, the newspaper reported. The man was due to move out the following day.

Security officers apparently raided the apartment at 8pm on March 2 and detained the man and found a “whole arsenal of firearms,” including a sniper rifle and a Kalashnikov assault rifle.

Close to midnight, Mr Putin, a former head of the FSB, and his ally Mr Medvedev walked from the Kremlin onto Red Square to give short victory speeches in front of thousands of celebrating supporters.

“For an experienced marksman, both would have been easy targets,” stated Tvoi Den.

The FSB was said to be hunting for the organisers of the crime. For now, the man is arrested and charged with firearms offences. The paper said that Osmanov is not thought to be the mastermind behind the assassination bid.

The flat is near the five-star Kempinsky Hotel and not far from the official residence of the British Ambassador, the old British embassy, on Sofiyskaya Embankment.

The residence is now undergoing renovation.

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Nalchik Nerves Still Jangling

From: Eagle_wng
Nalchik Nerves Still Jangling

Kabardino-Balkaria experiences a thaw one year after Islamist attack but fears renewed violence

By Dana Tsei in Nalchik
Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria, on October 13 marked the first anniversary of the militant attacks on the town that left more than 140 dead. Just as one year ago, the day was dull and overcast. Around two thousand people held an officially sponsored rally on Abkhazia Square, carrying banners of the United Russia governing party and slogans such as “We are against terror!”

Officials and leaders of public organisations delivered speeches. The rally broke up quickly, as most of the people had been ordered to attend by their bosses, while students had been brought in directly from their classes.

At the same time, another group was holding a meeting in front of the local prosecutor’s office, just one block away. These were silent men and women clad in black, who had in their hands portraits of young smiling people and home-made placards bearing awkward inscriptions, such as “Our children fell victims to the authorities’ repression”, “Give our sons back to us!” and “They killed [Anna] Politkovskaya because they were afraid of the truth”. They also had sheaves of photocopied articles from Russian and international publications, which they handed out to passers-by.

These were relatives of the dozens of members of Kabardino-Balkaria’s “jamaat” (Islamic organisation), who were killed in last year’s attack and who are still being refused the right to bury their loved ones, despite repeated protests and requests.

Around 200 militants attacked 18 offices belonging to security officials on the evening of October 13 and held them until the following afternoon, when troops were sent into the city. According to official data, 12 civilians, 35 security personnel and 98 attackers were killed. The leaders of the jamaat said that the number of armed militants who died was only 35 and most of the others listed killed were actually civilians. Sixty-nine people were arrested, but their trials have yet to begin and have been postponed until next year.

Many in the autonomous republic say it is moving towards better times, in large part due to the young and wealthy president, Arsen Kanokov, who took up his post two weeks before the October raids. Kanokov said recently, “Many people are calling the present period in Kabardino-Balkaria as a thaw. We will do our utmost to make the thaw a real spring.”

Kabardino-Balkaria has indeed undergone many changes. For example, Valery Khatazhukov, a staunch oppositionist and human rights defender, now has his own office in the centre of Nalchik, where he holds conferences whenever he wants. Khatazhukov was the first person to use the word “thaw” in reference to the changes.

Relatives of the dead attackers are allowed to hold rallies, without them being broken up by the police – who do however still videotape the proceedings.

In the past year, the local government has also paid off enormous debts to Russian giant energy companies Gazprom and UES – by handing over a number of assets – as well as a huge volume of wage arrears. The local football team – personally owned by the president – is now playing in the Russian premier league. On President Putin’s birthday, Nalchik’s newly repaired hippodrome stadium hosted a horse race with a total prize fund of 600,000 US dollars. Chechen prime minister Ramzan Kadyrov, who had marked his 30th birthday two days before, was among the guests at the event and received as a birthday present from Kanokov – a thoroughbred Kabardinian stallion.

Despite having had some of the worst socio-economic indicators in Russia, Nalchik is beginning to look prosperous and foreign investors have begun to visit on the invitation of the president.

However, the investors are nervous that violence could still erupt. Writer Vladimir Terekhov sums up Kanokov’s dilemma – that although he is making great strides to improve the socio-economic situation in Kabardino-Balkaria, he is not fully in control of his own security apparatus.

Not only is the local interior ministry not wholly obedient to the president, but Nalchik is also home to the North Caucasian Anti-Terrorist Centre, which reports directly to Moscow.

Over the last few weeks, there have been new reports of arrests, searches and violence in the republic.

Well-known lawyer Larisa Dorogova has been barred from defending participants in October 13 events along with two other lawyers. She said she had recently received a threatening telephone call from someone she was able to identify as an interior ministry official. “What are they provoking us for?” she said. “This is exactly how they tortured our boys, morally and physically. Everybody knows what tragedy this led to!”

Ramazan Tembotov, who is not only a human rights activist but also a member of the pro-presidential United Russia party, was recently searched and briefly detained, after he had called for an investigation into the murder of village head Artur Zokayev.

Local resident Raja Bulatov says he was abducted and badly beaten by the police last month and then denied medical treatment. He was not allowed to choose his own lawyer, but had one imposed on him against his will.

His mother Nafisat Bulatova wrote to the prosecutor’s office, “On September 27 my son was kidnapped from the vicinity of our house by masked people. I spent a whole night searching for him. In the morning, masked people broke into our house without producing any documents. One of them struck me in the stomach with the butt of his automatic weapon. After wrecking my house, they called an ambulance for me and left,” she wrote.

Relatives of another detainee Magomed Dambekov say he was snatched near his own house too by the anti-terrorism centre. Only two days later did the family get a notification that he’d been arrested and accused of possessing weapons.

“The methods have been well tested in Chechnya,” said Ruslan Badalov, head of the Chechen National Salvation Committee human rights group. “The usual method of the Russian security services is to give themselves one day to make a man confess and sign. If the man does not confess within a day of his kidnapping, he is likely to disappear without a trace forever.”

In the mean time, the actual planners of last year’s raids are still at large but lying low, making statements on the Islamist rebel website Kavkaz-Center. And they still have support, judging by the fact that an estimated 300 young men have left their homes in the last year, apparently to join up with the Islamists. Many in the republic are still living in fear of what happens next.

Dana Tsei is the pseudonym of a freelance journalist in Nalchik.

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Adygeanatpress: CNN Film Crew Detained In Nalchik

 CNN film crew detained In Nalchik

On Sunday, September 10th approximately at 10.30 in the morning in Nalchik employees of the law enforcement bodies detained a film crew of CNN TV-channel that on the eve interviewed the president of Kabardino-Balkaria Arsen Kanokov. Together with them they detained IА REGNUM chief-editor across the Northern Caucasus Fatima Tlisova whom CNN journalists had been going to interview. At present there is no phone connection with Tlisova. Any communiques about the reasons CNN journalists’ detention from the Kabardino-Balkarian law enforcement bodies were not received, too.


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Kabardino-Balkarian parliamentarians initiated changes of the Law “About citizenship of Russian Federation”

From: Eagle_wng
Kabardino-Balkarian parliamentarians initiated changes  of the Law “About citizenship of Russian Federation”

Deputies of KBR parliament intend to bring into the State Duma as a legislative initiative the bill “About modification in the Federal law “About legal status of foreign citizens in Russian Federation” and the Federal law “About citizenship of Russian Federation”. As they informed IА REGNUM correspondent in the press-service of the parliament, the decision was adopted on March 23rd at the plenary session.

The bill assumes some modification into the Federal law “About legal status of foreign citizens in Russian Federation” according to which departure from Russian Federation in a foreign state for constant residing or residing outside Russian Federation during more than 6 months are not the basis for refusal in giving or cancellation of the time residing sanction, residence permit to natives (emigrants) from Russian state, Russian republic, RSFSR and Russian Federation, to those who have corresponding civil accessory and who have become persons without a citizenship, as well as to their strict descendants. They also offered to provide for that group of citizens the preferential order of residence permit reception.

If in the Federal law “About citizenship of Russian Federation” offered changes are made the named group of persons will have opportunity to get citizenship of Russian Federation in the simplified order, without present necessity residing in Russian Federation within 5 years, refusal of their previous citizenship, knowledge of Russian language. It is also offered to provide an opportunity of reception of citizenship of Russian Federation, at observance of other conditions, by the persons knowing one of the state languages of the subjects of Russian Federation.

The deputy chairman of the parliamentary committee under legislation, state construction and local self-management Ruslan Abazov (who represented the bill) emphasized that if such norms were adopted, it would considerably simplify the process of returning on the historical native land the compatriots who had appeared in emigration since the times of the Russian-Caucasian war of the XIX century.


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WordPress: Presidential Tit-for-Tat

From: MSN NicknameEagle_wng  (Original Message)    Sent: 7/4/2006 1:11 AM
Presidential Tit-for-Tat
June 30th, 2006

Moscow is blaming the United States for the deaths of the four abducted Russian embassy workers in Iraq at the hands of an Al Qaeda group. Following up on the FSB’s recent assassination of ChRI President Sadulayev, President Putin has ordered Russia’s secret services to find and kill the kidnnappers.

Meanwhile, in EDM, Andrei Smirnov notes that Shamil Basayev, now Ichkeria’s vice-president, has created a new assassination strategy that targets the FSB:

    On June 21 assassinations rocked the city of Khasavyurt, in the North Caucasus republic of Dagestan. Saigidsalim Zabitov, head of the local police organized crime division, was shot dead together with Shamsudin Kachakaev, a policeman who was accompanying him. Rebels ambushed their car late at night as Zabitov returned home.

    According to Kommersant, the rebels had been hunting Zabitov for two years, finally succeeding on their fourth attempt. In 2004 gunmen planted an explosive device on a street that Zabitov usually passed on his way to work, but that day he took a different route. Next the rebels tried to plant a bomb near his house, but the bomb detonated accidentally, killing the rebel planting the mine in front of the gate to Zabitov’s house. In 2005 Zabitov was shot in the hip but survived. He was regarded as one of the most ruthless fighters against local militants, and had helped eliminate Chechen field commander Anvar Visaev and Abdullah Kadyrov, leader of the Chechen and Dagestani rebel groups in Khasavyurt. On October 1, 2005, Zabitov headed a special operation against a rebel group in the village of Tortuybi-Kala Kommersant, June 22).

    Zabitov’s death follows that of his colleague, Dzhabrail Kostoev, in Ingushetia, another restive North Caucasus republic. Like Zabitov, Kostoev had battled the Ingush insurgency, although his drive was fueled by the deaths of two of his brothers, policemen who were killed during the rebel assault on Ingushetia in June 2004 (Kommersant, May 18). The first attempt to kill Kostoev was made in 2005, when he was the police chief of Nazran. A roadside bomb hit his car, wounding him, but Dzhabrail managed to survive. Kostoev refused to be cowed by the militants and did not hesitate to assist the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) in fighting the Ingush and Chechen insurgents. Before he was killed by a car bomb in May, Dzhabrail Kostoev had been named first deputy interior minister of Ingushetia.

    The assassinations of Zabitov in Dagestan and Kostoev in Ingushetia were not the only insurgency operations this year targeting senior police officers in the North Caucasus. In March Magomed Magomedov, a deputy head of Dagestan’s criminal investigation department, and two other senior officers from the organized crime division were killed. Musa Nalgiev, commander of the Ingush police special-task unit was shot dead in Ingushetia on June 9, and two months earlier, on April 12, rebels fired two shots at the headquarters of the anti-terrorism department in the city of Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria, using disposable grenade launchers. Official reports say that a soldier in the watch tower near the headquarters was killed, but locals told Regnum news agency that the second shot had destroyed a car parked at the facility, killing two officers inside the vehicle (Regnum, April 12). The officers were likely the primary target of the attack.

    In May rebel leaders described their new tactics to the media. Just two days before the assassination of Kostoev, the Kavkaz Center website posted an interview with Amir Magas, the commander of the Ingush insurgency. Magas said that Chechen warlord Shamil Basaev had convened a meeting of the North Caucasus rebel commanders in Chechnya during which he called on rebel factions to set up “special operations groups all over the Caucasian front, which should target personalities and conduct operations to destroy objects planned in advance.” Magas called the formation of these groups an adequate response to the FSB activities in the region (Kavkaz Center, May 15).

    Indeed, their name, Special Operations Groups, sounds very similar to the Unified Special Groups (or SSG in Russian) of the FSB and the Russian Interior Ministry that operate in the North Caucasus. These SSGs are subject to the Operations and Coordination Directorate of FSB whose headquarters are located in the town of Pyatigorsk in Stavropol Krai (the ethnic-Russian-dominated region of the North Caucasus) or to the Regional Operations Anti-Terrorist Staff headquartered in Khankala, a Russian main military base in Chechnya (Novaya gazeta, January 19). These Unified Special Groups are usually those unidentified masked men whom human rights organizations like to talk about and who enter houses in Chechnya, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, or Dagestan to detain those whom they suspect in rebel activity. By giving a similar name to his special squads Basaev wants to demonstrate the capability of his forces and that the rebels are not weaker in the Caucasus than the Russian security officials.

    Aslan Maskhadov, the Chechen rebel leader killed last March, often said that the Russian army is just a primitive force and the FSB and Russian military intelligence are the brains of the Russian forces in the North Caucasus. However, the FSB will also become a benign force without information provided by local police in the region. That is why the rebels target senior police officers, diligent individuals who work hard against them. Basaev and his commanders know that weakening local police forces will in turn weaken FSB activity in the region, and weak Russian intelligence will ultimately weak the Kremlin’s control over the North Caucasus.

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Public of KBR opposed restrictions for jury

From: Eagle_wng
 Public of KBR opposed restrictions for jury  
The public of Kabardino-Balkaria had opposed initiatives of the public prosecutor of republic Jury Ketov about bringing by KBR Parliament a legislative initiative into the State Duma. The initiative concerns the jury to which, in the opinion of the public prosecutor it is impossible to give cases on a number of clauses of the Criminal code of Russian Federation for ” jurymen for some reasons are not ready to form a fair verdict”. We shall remind that the initiative got support of majority of deputies of the Parliament of Kabardino-Balkaria who also considered that the national mentality, related and other relations prevent juryman from adequate verdicts.

In the opinion of the independent lawyer, the honourable judge in resignation Iskhak Kuchukov, such statements have no under themselves any ground. “In that case it is necessary to raise the question whether militia, the Office of Public Prosecutor, courts are formed of same people. Or maybe they are done an inoculation, and they serve legality and justice with 100 percent guarantee”. In Iskhak Kuchukov’s opinion, it would be more correct to raise the question about increase of the level of professionalism of employees of the Office of Public Prosecutor and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, improvement of quality of investigatory bodies, and toughening of selection in jurymen.

He was supported by the head of the legal expert center of Kabardino-Balkaria Valery Hatazhukov in whose opinion there is the problem of jury in Russia, too: “Ulman’s case” could serve that. “This is a new democratic institute in our country, and it should be let develop, instead of strangle it”, – declared Hatazhukov.

Caucasian unit

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KAVKAZ CENTER: Russian Anger Over Caucasus Seminar

From: MSN NicknameEagle_wng  (Original Message)    Sent: 4/20/2006 9:19 PM
Russian anger over Caucasus seminar  
Russia issued an official protest to the US ambassador to Moscow, alleging that a seminar held in Washington last week on Russia’s troubled north Caucasus region had included incitements to terrorist acts in Russia.
William Burns was handed a protest note by Sergei Kislyak, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, over a seminar held by the Jamestown Foundation, a US thinktank, the foreign ministry said in a statement. Jamestown rejected the allegations as a “complete distortion”.
The incident highlighted the tensions between Moscow and Washington as the US sharpens its tone over Russia’s democracy and human rights record ahead of the summit of the Group of Eight industrialised nations, to be hosted by Russia in St Petersburg in July.
It also came a day after a controversial law tightening regulation of non-governmental organisations took effect in Russia. The law was toned down after an initial draft was criticised by foreign governments including the US. But human rights groups say it still gives the Russian authorities powers to close down any non-profit group whose activities they disapprove of.
Russia’s foreign ministry said the seminar held last Friday had “provided a platform for calls to carry out new terrorist acts on Russian territory”.
The seminar included a discussion of events in Nalchik, capital of the north Caucasus republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, and scene of an attack last October by militants linked to rebels from the breakaway Chechnya region. Russia said the meeting contradicted the US’s obligations under international resolutions on counter-terrorism.
“Such tolerance by Washington for Chechen warriors and separatists goes against the spirit of partnership in anti-terrorist cooperation by both countries and harms bilateral relations,” it added.
The protest followed critical coverage of the meeting by Russian television over the weekend.
Glen Howard, president of Jamestown, said Russian TV had distorted what was said at the seminar, and he dismissed the accusation that it had contained incitements to terrorism.
Recent months have seen a clampdown by the Kremlin on foreign NGOs, blamed by senior Russian officials for helping foment pro-democracy revolutions in neighbouring Ukraine and Georgia. Nikolai Patrushev, head of the FSB, the KGB successor body, told Russia’s parliament last summer many NGOs were fronts for foreign intelligence, a few months before law-makers began debating the new NGO law.
A spying scandal in January in which four UK diplomats were alleged to have gathered intelligence from Russian agents via a radio transmitter hidden in a rock was also seen as part of the anti-NGO campaign. One of the diplomats was responsible for signing legitimate grant payments to non-profit groups – allowing Russian television to present the case as confirmation of claims that many NGOs were funded by foreign security services.
Source: FT.Com
2006-04-20 10:27:46

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