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Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Hotting up down South

Photo: Sergey Maximishin

Since President Dmitri Medvedev triumphantly declared the end of the anti-terrorist operations in Chechnya last month, leading the republic’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov to envisage a bright future of foreign investment and economic growth, things in the Causcasus have gone a little bit iffy – it might not yet be quite time for a summer break in Grozny. Over the past month or so the daily news has been highlighted by intense gun battles between the military and the “bandits”, who have been hiding out in the forests of Dagestan or involved in shootouts in the capital of Ingushetia.

According to Vladimir Mukhin of Nezavisimaia Gazeta, despite attempts by the southern republics’ leaders to give the impression that everything is under control by underestimating the numbers of “bandits” participating in battle, the numbers of terrorists killed or detained recently as reported by the Ministry of Internal Affairs tells a different story. According to official figures, since the 16th of May, when anti-terrorist operations in the regions were stepped up, 28 bandits have been killed and more than 20 detained. Around 12 members of the Ministry of Internal Affairs have been killed. The Ministry of Defence stopped publishing figures for its members killed in Chechnya last year and so the final tally of law-enforcement victims is uncertain, but nevertheless the situation is considerably more serious than the leaders of these regions would like to admit.

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