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Russian-Chechen War: Media Coverage #004 [13 DEC 2000]

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  • Ralph Davis
    Russian-Chechen War: Media Coverage #004 [13 DEC 2000] [Open-source resources compiled by Ralph Davis for the recipient s personal use.] 1. Reporting from
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 8, 2001
      Russian-Chechen War: Media Coverage #004 [13 DEC 2000]

      [Open-source resources compiled by Ralph Davis for the
      recipient's personal use.]

      1.   Reporting from Chechnya? Take your ATM card
      2.   Chechens say pro-Moscow leader's bodyguard killed
      3.   Russian soldiers released from captivity in Chechnya
      4.   Russia: Decapitated bodies found in District in Chechnya
      5.   Georgia: Whereabouts of kidnapped Spanish businessmen still unknown
      6.   Dagestan High Court Confirms Babitsky Guilty
      9.   Dine Criticizes Court's Upholding Of Babitsky Conviction
      10. Notorious Chechen hostage-taker captured - Russian TV
      11. A Comment on Casualty Counts in the Second Chechen War
      12. Budanov case investigation extended till December 30, 2000
      14. Chechens committing crimes in Georgia face death penalty - Chechen
      15. Russia: army servicemen detained for illegal trafficking of firearms


      1.   Reporting from Chechnya? Take your ATM card
      By Scott Peterson
      Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor (13 December 2000)

      KHANKALA BASE, RUSSIA - The price of getting a story often makes journalists
      inveterate hagglers.

      Our skills are honed almost daily with taxi drivers, and local guides
      routinely demand exorbitant fees for safe passage through bandit- or
      guerrilla-held territory.

      But a recent trip to Chechnya, as "guests" of the Russian Army, devolved
      into its own survival test of negotiating skills.

      In Moscow, our group of 12 journalists had agreed to pay 30,450 rubles
      ($1,100) to "rent" military helicopters for the trip. It was the final
      price - or so we thought.

      Almost anywhere else in the world, journalists travel free with military
      units. But Russian forces - once a formidable cold-war adversary - are so
      cash-strapped these days that we agreed to ante up about $90 each to cover
      Russian costs.

      The money was duly deposited in a Russian military account at a civilian

      But after arriving in a neighboring republic just outside Chechnya, we got
      our first taste of things to come: a military driver taking us to the
      helipad took up a collection - 50 rubles each (about $2) - to pay for gas.

      In Chechnya, it is Chechen warlords and their gangs that have the reputation
      for roaming the breakaway Russian republic - kidnapping, extorting, and
      blackmailing at will. But as the impoverished Russian military bogs down in
      its fight against the Chechen "bandits" and "terrorists," the troops rarely
      see a paycheck, and are themselves quick studies of the local forms of

      Military units are involved in a vast looting spree of Chechnya's oil,
      metals, and other assets, says a recent report by the pro-Moscow Chechen
      administration, that was detailed in The Moscow Times.

      "The stealing of the republic is in full swing," it notes, including the
      wholesale ripping off of oil company pipes and the stealing of re-installed
      power lines.

      State auditors in Moscow also say that senior finance and economic
      development officials have siphoned off millions in reconstruction aid meant
      for Chechnya.

      After landing, we discovered that our Russian hosts, too, were preparing for
      some petty larceny.

      "Unfortunately, we've got some bad news," said Vice-Col. Constantine
      Glukharenko, greeting us at Russia's main base of Khankala, a sea of mud and
      snow-swept military misery 10 miles east of the destroyed Chechen capital,

      "We got an order that, beginning from now, the price of the helicopter has
      gone up. There is a bank near here," he said, nodding helpfully toward an
      unlikely cluster of weather-beaten canvas tents.

      A groan welled up from our party - especially among the Russian journalists,
      who immediately smelled a swindle. A previous promise to take us on a rare
      visit to Grozny seemed to be in the balance - if we didn't pay, we wouldn't
      go. The total cost had soared to $2,949.

      "Even Aeroflot [which operates in the red] lets you fly on the price you
      bought the ticket," protested one photographer. "It's Russia," explained
      another. "They couldn't just add 5 percent more - they had to charge three
      times as much!"

      A decision was put off until morning, and Colonel Glukharenko half-heartedly
      promised to take up our case with Gen. Valery Baranov, commander of joint
      Russian forces in Chechnya.

      Russia, defeated by guerrillas in the first 1994-96 Chechen war, withdrew
      its troops and granted self-rule. But it returned in September 1999. The
      result of the current stalemate has brought more frustration - and looting.

      "This war won't end, let me tell you," a soldier called Alec privately
      confides. "The main reason for this war is money. The commanders enrich
      themselves, so why should they stop?"

      Any cash our group paid here, he said, "goes to the camp commanders, for

      The next morning after breakfast - 36 rubles ($1.30) for food per day,
      please - Glukharenko was in a sour mood. Our "insolence" was a problem, he
      said, peering through thick glasses and still wearing his slippers at the
      door of his tent-office. He had "never seen such an ungrateful group."

      Therefore, General Baranov now insisted that we not only pay for the
      helicopters, but also rental of the armored personnel carriers in Grozny -
      the intricately calculated wear-and-tear those vehicles would receive, and
      the cost of the special forces guard that would go with us.

      "Baranov can do anything, and he personally ordered you to pay," the colonel
      said. "You have to pay everything."

      "How much?"

      "They're counting."

      Even for the graft-familiar Russians, this was met with an anxious gulp. To
      make our decision easier, the colonel presented us with a printed
      calculation of the helicopter fee, titled "Grounds for new payment, Order
      No. 9/3/919/91." Unlike any other official document in Russia that deals
      with money, which is invariably pasted with innumerable stamps and
      signatures, this letter had one pathetic scrawl at the bottom, the signature
      of an unknown vice colonel.

      "Someone invented this!" protested one journalist.

      "If you want a seal, we can put a seal on it in 10 minutes and make it look
      official," Glukharenko said. Several hours of steadfast protest put off a
      final decision again, until after the visit to Grozny.

      Upon return, the battle of wills continued. Negotiations dragged on until
      darkness fell. The armored vehicle cost was set at 4,460 rubles, or $161 for
      the group. We said we'd pay - but not for the helicopters.

      "You are detaining us, we're hostages!" shouted one Russian journalist, who
      had played this game before.

      Late that night, word came that the commander wanted to apologize for the
      "moral abuse," Glukharenko said, and we could fly back without emptying our

      "Money, money, money," sang a relieved Russian journalist, to the tune of
      the Abba song, "makes the world go round." Even in Chechnya.

      2.   Chechens say pro-Moscow leader's bodyguard killed
      BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Dec 13, 2000

      Chechen fighters said on Wednesday that they had killed the head of the
      bodyguard of Akhmad Kadyrov, the leader of the pro-Russian government in

      The headquarters of the mojahedin command told Kavkaz-Tsentr news agency
      that they killed the bodyguard at his house in a special operation in
      Bachi-Yurt village.

      This was part of a continuing large-scale special operation to "neutralize
      and physically eliminate national traitors and the leadership of the Russian
      occupational grouping", the Chechen military headquarters said.

      Source: Kavkaz-Tsentr news agency, in Russian 13 Dec 00

      3.   Russian soldiers released from captivity in Chechnya
      BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Dec 13, 2000

      Text of report in English by Russian news agency Interfax

      Nalchik, 13 December: Two soldiers have been released in Chechnya as a
      result of a special operation.

      The operation to release the soldiers was carried out in the village of
      Sernovodsk (in the Sunzhenskiy region [District] of Chechnya), the North
      Caucasian regional department for the prevention of organized crime's press
      service has told Interfax.

      Soldiers Dmitriy Khorolya and Vitaliy Serotetto, who were called up for
      military service from Tyumen Region, were kidnapped on 2 December from their
      military unit located in the village of Sputnik in the Vladikavkaz suburb.

      Source: Interfax news agency, Moscow, in English 0854 gmt 13 Dec 00

      4.   Russia: Decapitated bodies found in District in Chechnya
      BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Dec 13, 2000

      Text of report in English by Russian news agency ITAR-TASS

      Gudermes, 13 December: Local Chechen residents discovered two decapitated
      bodies in Chechnya's Achkhoy-Martanovskiy region [District] on Tuesday [12
      December]. The bodies were found between the villages of Khanty-Irzi and
      Kulary, the regional interior ministry department told ITAR-TASS on

      The prosecutor's office has launched an investigation. There have been no
      reports so far on whether military or civilians were killed.

      Source: ITAR-TASS news agency, Moscow, in English 0628 gmt 13 Dec 00

      5.   Georgia: Whereabouts of kidnapped Spanish businessmen still unknown
      BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Dec 13, 2000

      Text of report by Georgian news agency Prime-News

      Tbilisi, 12 December: Georgian law-enforcement bodies have so far failed to
      determine the whereabouts of the kidnapped Spanish businessmen.

      Prime-News was told by the Akhmeta police head, Temur Arabuli, that
      according to information available to him, another four people, who were
      also kidnapped, were being kept in the Pankisi gorge and every measure was
      being taken to release them. As regards the Spanish businessmen, the case is
      till shrouded in mystery. However, the local people of the Pankisi gorge
      have categorically ruled out the possibility of the Spanish businessmen
      being in the Pankisi gorge.

      Arabuli went on to say that after the deployment of Internal Troops in
      Akhmeta District, the situation had become more stable and law-enforcement
      bodies had not registered more instances of banditry, robbery, kidnapping
      and shoot-out.

      People, including their documents and cars, are being checked when they
      enter from the Pankisi gorge. Law-enforcement bodies have detained two
      Chechens in whose cars weapons were found. They have been charged with
      illegal arms possession.

      Because of the worsening of the criminal situation in the Pankisi gorge, the
      Internal Troops units were deployed in the Kakheti province on 8 December.

      Source: Prime-News news agency, Tbilisi, in Georgian 1800 gmt 12 Dec 00

      6.   Dagestan High Court Confirms Babitsky Guilty
      NTV (13 December 2000)

      High Court of Dagestan confirmed sentence passed by Sovetsky district court
      of Makhachkala on Radio Liberty correspondent Andrei Babitsky.

      On October 6th this year Babitsky was found guilty in using false ID papers
      and sentenced to fine in equivalent of 100 minimum monthly wages. He was
      amnestied immediately after the sentence was passed under the State Duma act
      on amnesty.

      Andrei Babitsky resolved to contest the court decision. The journalist
      claims the whole incident was staged by special services of Russia.
      According to Babitsky, “today a journalist in Russia may find himself in the
      dock for his professional activities, facing any criminal charges.”

      Dagestani High Court board of appeal listened to the statements of Sovetsky
      district court judge Goncharov, Babitsky’s lawyer Genri Reznik and
      prosecutor Zulfikarov. Genri Reznik asserted, that the decision of the board
      would be contested in the Supreme Court of Russia.


            MOSCOW, December 13, 2000 (AVN) - The defence committee of the State
      Duma lower house of parliament met on Wednesday to consider the bill
      "Concerning the Status of Combat Operation Participants," committee chairman
      Andrei Nikolayev told the Military News Agency.

             The committee submitted the bill to the Duma Council, asking it to
      send the document to interested ministries and agencies for amendments and
      corrections, Nikolayev said. Deputy chairman of the committee Alexei Arbatov
      was charged to supervise the work on the bill.

             The status of people who took part in World War II and other wars
      that involved the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation is defined by
      federal bills "Concerning Veterans", "Concerning the Status of Servicemen",
      "Concerning Military Duty', "Concerning Defence" and others. However the
      laws sometimes contradict each other, Nikolayev said.

             Besides, many participants of hostilities (for instance those who
      have been involved in the anti-guerrilla operation in Chechnya) are entitled
      to additional benefits and bonuses in accordance with presidential decrees
      and government resolutions that can be cancelled any minute, the lawmaker
      stressed. That is why it is expedient to have a single federal law
      regulating the status of combat operations participants, he said. Under it,
      the state would assume certain financial and moral obligations.

             The bill consists of six chapters and 16 articles. It gives
      definitions of such terms as "combat operation participant" and "disabled as
      a result of hostilities," lists terms on which recruits can be sent to the
      area in the state of emergency or to the combat zone, and deals with social
      protection of combat operation participants.

      Pravda (17:35 2000-12-13)

      Today in the Daghestan city of Makhachkala the appeal of radio “Liberty”
      correspondent Andrew Babitsky about Sovetsky district court decision made
      October 2000 is being considered. The court sentenced Babitsky to 8,4
      thousand rubles (about 300 dollars) of penalty because of using false
      passport and released him from punishment in connection with amnesty.
      Babitsky didn’t agree with the court’s decision and appealed to the higher
      authority of the republic demanding complete acquittal, NTV reports. He
      stated that the accusation of using a false passport was feigned by RF
      special services. According to Babitsky, “today a journalist can find
      himself in the dock for his professional activity on any criminal

      It is astonishing that so far Babitsky is the only Russian journalist who
      “has found himself in the deck”. That is grotesquely, but today’s trial has
      a good chance of success, in spite of the fact that Babitsky’s contacts with
      Chechen leaders are beyond any doubt, as well as the fact that his reports
      from the operations zone are biassed. Suffice it to remind that in one of
      his reports Babitsky said that Chechen were cruel to soldiers “not because
      they are sadists…but because for them it’s the way to make the war more
      visible, more vivid and distinct… “

      The mouthpiece of Chechen militants should have been removed from Chechnya
      for anti-Russian propaganda at least. It was done. But in a in a very crude
      way. From the moment he was arrested until the trial began “Babitsky’s case”
      caused too many questions which are staying without answer to present day.
      His lawyers can achieve his acquittal, emphasising court regulations
      violations. But it is unclear how they are going to prove the theory that
      “Babitsky’s case” was feigned by Russian special services.

      9.   Dine Criticizes Court's Upholding Of Babitsky Conviction
      RFE-RL Press Releases

      (Washington, DC--December 13, 2000) Thomas A. Dine, the president of Radio
      Free Europe/Radio Liberty, criticized the decision of an appeals court in
      Russia's Daghestani republic today to uphold a guilty verdict against RFE/RL
      correspondent Andrei Babitsky.

      Dine said the finding of the appeals court, like the original verdict handed
      down in October, represents "a clear attack on media freedom and an obvious
      effort by Moscow to intimidate journalists from doing their jobs and
      reporting the truth."

      "We at RFE/RL will not be intimidated by this action," Dine added. "We will
      support Andrei Babitsky's appeal to the Russian Supreme Court and to the
      court of world public opinion."

      Today's action by the Daghestani Supreme Court leaves in place Babitsky's
      October conviction on what Dine described as "trumped-up charges" of using a
      false passport early in 2000. At that trial, he was fined $300, a penalty
      that was dropped under amnesty conditions then in place. Babitsky has
      appealed to clear his name.

      Babitsky's legal travails began last January when Russian officials arrested
      him after complaining about his reporting on the war in Chechnya--reporting
      that had won him praise internationally as balanced and objective. The
      Russian authorities then claimed to have handed him over to Chechen rebels
      in exchange for several Russian prisoners of war, an exchange that Babitsky
      has said never took place and was only staged for the cameras.

      After keeping Babitsky in detention for 40 days, Russian officials released
      him in Daghestan after planting false documents on him. It is these
      documents which formed the basis of the charges against him, and that is the
      ostensible reason why he was tried in Daghestan. Following his detention,
      Babitsky was released on his own recognizance but restricted to Moscow until
      August. He now works out of RFE/RL's headquarters in Prague.


      10.  Notorious Chechen hostage-taker captured - Russian TV
      BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Dec 14, 2000

      Russian special forces in Chechnya have captured a prominent separatist
      commander blamed for the kidnapping of Britain's Camilla Carr and Jon James
      and the murder of British engineers.

      Russian Public TV reported on Wednesday night "a great success for the
      Russian special services" in Chechnya with the capture of one of the
      Akhmadov brothers.

      It said the Akhmadovs were responsible for the "brutal murders" of four
      engineers from Great Britain and New Zealand, as well as ITAR-TASS
      correspondent Vladimir Yatsyn.

      The Akhmadov brothers also took the Polish biologists Zofia
      Fischer-Malanowska and Ewa-Marchwinska-Wyrwal and the Britons Camilla Carr
      and Jon James hostage.

      The British charity workers Carr and James were taken hostage in July 1997
      and released in September 1998.

      Source: Russian Public TV, Moscow, in Russian 13 Dec 00

      11. A Comment on Casualty Counts in the Second Chechen War
      What is the difference between official statistics and real casualties among
      Russian forces?
      Source/Author: The Union of Committees of Soldiers' Mothers of Russia
      Prague Watchdog
      Added: 14 Dec, 2000 , Written: 14 Dec, 2000

      A Comment on Casualty Counts in the Second Chechen War

      The Union of Committees of Soldiers’ Mothers of Russia (UCSMR) estimates
      that the real numbers of losses in the second war in Chechnya are at least
      twice as high as those presented by officials (the same was happening
      virtually throughout the first campaign in Chechnya).

      The UCSMR’s counts are based on the following:

      1. facts given by regional soldiers’ mothers organisations (contradicting
      statistics that military authorities introduce and actual numbers coming
      from “burial” regions);

      2. information received from the Centre of Forensic Medicine in Rostov
      (contradicting officially admitted daily losses and the number of killed
      soldiers transported to the Centre for identification);

      3. the flawed system of counting casualties Commanders who give the number
      of fatalities among their subordinates can list only those having died in
      the field and with clearly established identity. Soldiers wounded and killed
      when being transported or those who died at the place of medical service are
      not counted in official figures; they are listed in separate medical
      statistics. The total number, officially presented by the military
      authorities, does not include this category of casualties.
      What is more, due to various circumstances, missing in action, captured or
      killed soldiers, whose remains are not found, or the bodies of “soldiers
      forgotten” for various reasons in the field, are automatically included in
      the category of “consciously deserting their troops”. Consequently, these
      also cannot be found in official statistics.

      4. it is important to be aware of the fact that the military commanders
      undoubtedly want the number of losses to be as low as possible, for their
      figures are presented to their superiors; as a matter of fact, military
      departments seek just the same, as each of them does its own statistics (the
      Defense Ministry, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, frontier-guards,
      railway-guards etc.).

      As a result, while counting human resource losses in total, it is necessary
      to consider the following aspects:

      1. Estimates primarily depend on an individually accepted methodology of
      actual counting. The UCSMR counts all sorts of casualties linked to the war
      in Chechnya.

      2. There are no exact number of losses at any moment. Collecting precise
      figures is a long process. Experience shows that the estimates of public
      organisations and those of the soldiers’ mothers in particular are far
      closer to reality than the official versions of the military authorities.
      When the first war in Chechnya began, members of the UCSMR handed over their
      statistics to the General Staff. The list included more than 700 captured
      and missing in action soldiers, exceeding official military figures by a
      factor of ten.

      3. The disputes over losses as well as the official declarations of
      casualties by the military authorities suggest that the statements of
      soldiers’ mothers organisations have had a significant impact on public
      opinion. At the moment, military departments are making eager efforts to
      prove that they take extreme care of their soldiers and attempt to limit the
      number of casualties. In addition, the present system of counting and
      competition among individual military structures as well as secrecy about
      the total number of soldiers “undergoing” the military campaign in the
      federal army in the northern Caucasus and Chechnya in particular (i.e. those
      who serve in Chechnya permanently as well as those sent on their missions
      for a fixed time and replaced by other troops), raise the possibility of
      significant casualty underestimating on the “Russian side”. An important
      fact, making loss estimates difficult, is an information embargo on the
      total numbers of the distribution of federal forces in the northern
      Caucasus, particularly in Chechnya.

      The situation gets even worse when it comes to counting casualties on the
      Chechen side. As a rule, military authorities overstate the number of killed
      guerrillas and underestimate casualties among civilians at the same time.
      Nobody really knows the true number of killed, with each side giving false
      information in conformity with their political and propagandist aims. The
      UCSMR made attempts to offer Aslan Maskhadov their own technique of counting
      losses at the time of the first Chechen war. However, this proved impossible
      to realize.

      An EXAMPLE (a hypothetical one) showing the possibility of federal casualty

      A group of ten soldiers was ambushed:

      1 - killed, the body was found and transported
      1 - captured in the fight, unaccounted for after the fight, killed while in
      1 - killed, no remains found
      1 - seriously injured, evacuated by helicopter, died immediately after
      1 - suffering shell-shock, transported to a field hospital, released from
      army then died of unforeseen shell-shock consequences at home
      1 - deserted the field, having taken shelter in woods, died of starvation
      and cold
      1 - drafted in a bad condition, evacuated from the field to a hospital, died
      of an illness
      2 - survived

      As a result, the commander gives his superiors the following figures:

      1 - killed
      3 - injured (including the shell-shocked)

      In fact, the real losses total eight soldiers in this case.

      The UCSMR estimates that from August 2, 1999 to December 1, 2000 the total
      number of killed soldiers in the northern Caucasus reached six thousand and
      the wounded from 12 to 15 thousand.

      I. Kuklina

      Translated by Prague Watchdog (

      The Union of Committees of Soldiers’ Mothers of Russia (UCSMR), until 1999
      called the Commitee of Soldiers’ Mothers of Russia (CSMR), is a
      non-governmental, not-for-profit organization protecting the rights of
      recruits, conscripts and their families. During the first Chechen war
      (1994-96) the CSMR was one of the major activists against the Russian
      campaign that contributed significantly to the change in the public opinion
      in Russia, and, eventually, to the end of the war.

      The UCSMR may be contacted as follows:

      Luchnikov pereulok 4
      Entrance 3, Room 5
      101000 Moscow
      Phone: (095) 9282506
      Fax: (095) 2068958
      Web: http://www.hro.org/ngo/usm/

      12. Budanov case investigation extended till December 30, 2000
      Story Filed: Wednesday, December 13, 2000 10:25 AM EST

      MOSCOW, December 13 (Itar-Tass) - The investigation of Colonel Yuri
      Budanov's case and his detention have been extended till December 30, 2000,
      the office of presidential aide Sergei Yastrzhembsky said on Wednesday.

      Budanov was arrested last March on suspicions of killing a 18-year-old
      Chechen girl. He was charged with murder under part 1 of Article 105 of the
      Russian Criminal Code.

      "The established circumstances of the crime committed by serviceman Budanov
      have not changed and have been confirmed by collected evidence. In
      accordance with the plan, the investigation is continuing in order to
      specify and clarify the circumstances of what happened. These circumstances
      have of considerable importance for establishing the truth and giving a
      correct legal assessment of the offense", the office said.

      At the same time, the Main Military Prosecutor's Office explained the long
      investigation of the Budanov case by the complex situation in Chechnya and
      difficulties in the organisation and conduct of the investigation with the
      participation of local residents.


            TBILISI, December 13, 2000 (AVN) - The Georgian army and the Interior
      Ministry are planning to carry out a mop-up operation in the Akhmeta
      district, adjacent to Chechnya, before December 20, a competent source in
      the Georgian Defence Ministry told the Military News Agency on Wednesday.

             The operation will primarily target the localities in which refugees
      from Chechnya are residing, the source said. It will aim "against Chechen
      militants whose presence in the Pankisi Gorge is confirmed by operational
      data," he stressed.

             According to the source, Georgia may ask the Russian troops group in
      the Trans-Caucasus to help with the operation. A series of corresponding
      documents is being drafted, he claimed.

             Georgian law-enforcers already carried out several operations in the
      areas adjacent to Chechnya from December 4 to 12, the source went on. As a
      result, several rebel gangs evaded engagement and withdrew towards
      Chechnya's Sharoi district.

             Georgian officials deny, however, that any preparations for a
      military operation in the Pankisi Gorge are taking place. President Eduard
      Shevardnadze told national radio an operation against criminals is underway
      in the Akhmeta district, but the same actions are being taken throughout the

             According to the Georgian law-enforcement agencies, several dozens of
      wanted criminals are hiding in the gorge, but their detention is in the
      competence of operational services. The Interior Ministry troops have only
      taken control of crossroads and bridges, the president said.

             There is no need to mop up the villages in the Pankisi Gorge, as both
      locals and Chechen refugees support the Georgian authorities in
      establishment of order in the area, Shevardnadze said. Chechen refugees are
      not a problem for the authorities, he stressed.

      14. Chechens committing crimes in Georgia face death penalty - Chechen
      BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Dec 13, 2000

      Text of report in English by Russian news agency ITAR-TASS

      Tbilisi, 13 December: Several Georgian newspapers on Wednesday [13 December]
      published Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov's statement warning citizens of
      Chechnya against committing crimes in Georgia.

      The statement says that a premeditated murder, an abduction, a rape, a
      robbery or other intentional grave crime committed by residents of Chechnya
      in Georgia will be punished by death.

      Maskhadov urged Chechens in Georgia "to take exhaustive measures to prevent
      unlawful actions by Chechens" and, if necessary, "detain those guilty and
      extradite them to Georgian law-enforcement agencies".

      About 5,000 refugees from Chechnya have found shelter in the Panskisi
      George, Georgia's Akhmeta district. In addition, there are local Chechens
      who live in Georgia.

      Local residents have lately complained about frequent cattle and car thefts
      and abductions of people by Chechens. The Georgian authorities have deployed
      additional police force and interior troops in the district to keep the
      situation under control.

      Source: ITAR-TASS news agency, Moscow, in English 1640 gmt 13 Dec 00

      15. Russia: army servicemen detained for illegal trafficking of firearms
      BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Dec 13, 2000

      Text of report by Russian news agency RIA

      Makhachkala, 13 December: Army servicemen were detained in Dagestan for
      illegal trafficking of firearms and ammunition.

      A car of UAZ-469 model belonging to a military unit stationed in Kaspiysk
      was stopped by road police at the checkpoint Volga-40 on the highway
      Makhachkala-Kaspiysk at 1725 [1325 gmt], 12 December. There were four army
      servicemen and a civilian in it. During a check 10 handgrenades F-1,
      detonators and three portable antitank grenade launchers RPG-1 were
      discovered in the car. Three of four servicemen tried to escape but were
      detained by police.

      The Makhachkala city military prosecutor's office has instigated criminal
      proceedings over the case, Dagestani Interior Ministry press service chief
      Police Lt-Col Abdulmanap Musayev said. Investigation is under way.

      Source: RIA news agency, Moscow, in Russian 0639 gmt 13 Dec 00

      [DISCLAIMER: The selection of articles posted in this e-newsletter does not
      necessary reflect the views nor endorsement of the compiler. They are
      submitted in the interest of public discourse. Please submit all
      inquiries/questions to Ralph Davis at davis004@...]
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