PW: Security Tightened In Grozny
- June 5th 2006 · Prague Watchdog / Umalt Chadayev · PRINTER FRIENDLY
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Security measures heightened in Grozny
By Umalt Chadayev
GROZNY, Chechnya Since this morning (June 5) security measures have
been intensified at the police checkpoint located at the entrance to
Grozny from the direction of the Kavkaz federal highway. Members of
the Akhmat Kadyrov special-purpose police regiment (MPSN) of the
Chechen Interior Ministry have been conducting a thorough check of
motor vehicles and passengers entering and leaving the capital.
A kilometre-long queue of motor vehicles has formed at the checkpoint.
The increased attention of the police has been mainly directed in at
motor transport entering the city.
"I was late for work today because there was a huge traffic jam at the
block-post (the usual name for checkpoints in Chechnya) at the
entrance to the city, caused by cars, buses and minibus-taxis.
Everyone and everything was being stopped and checked, even the
documents of officials. No one gave any explanation, they just said it
was their job," says Alkhazur Usamov, a 33-year-old resident of the
"I was nearly an hour late. The waiting-time in the queue was 40
minutes. I don't know who they were looking for, or what kind of
`operation' it was. They were mostly inspecting cars coming into
Grozny, but the inspection of the traffic leaving the city wasn't so
thorough. Some passengers were singled out to have their documents
checked," he said.
An Interior Ministry source said that the checks on traffic in and out
of the city had been planned. "Nothing unusual has happened. This is
just ordinary preventive police work. The measures are being carried
out by members of the Kadyrov special-purpose police regiment," he says.
Meanwhile the situation in Chechnya and in Grozny itself remains
rather complex. Rumours that "something is going to happen soon" have
begun to spread in the republic again. It is probable that the
appearance of these rumours is directly linked to the re-launching of
guerrilla operations both in the mountainous part of Chechnya as well
as in a number of lowland districts and the city of Grozny.
Last year one of the Chechen guerrilla leaders, Shamil Basayev who
occupies the post of vice-premier in charge of power structures in the
Ichkerian government announced that in the summer of 2006 the
guerrillas planned to "cross the Volga". Quite recently websites close
to the guerrillas posted information that, on a commission from Aslan
Maskhadov's successor, Ichkerian President Abdul-Khalim Sadulayev,
Basayev had completed a "tour of inspection" of the North Caucasus
republics and had held a conference with guerrilla field commanders.
In the opinion of some observers, the guerrillas may launch a sharp
increase in their operations during the next few weeks. "The G8 summit
is due to take place in St Petersburg in July. Sadulayev, Basayev,
Umarov and the other guerrilla leaders are hardly likely to let slip
this opportunity of announcing their presence. Even now there is quite
a perceptible increase in guerrilla activity, not only in Chechnya,
but also in Ingushetia, Daghestan and other places. Government
bureaucrats can talk all they like about the situation being stable,
but in reality the war is continuing," a Chechen political analyst thinks.
"The fact that the high command of Russia's Interior Ministry troops
is talking about the need for an increase of 5,000 men in its Chechnya
grouping also says a great deal. It looks as though the rosy scenario
that's being drawn for us today by the military, the bureaucracy and
practically all the Russian media may not be so bright after all. The
situation can change significantly at any moment," he says.
Translated by David McDuff.