Chechnya: The week in brief: 17 - 23 Feb 2003

News and Press Release
Originally published
Summary of the main news related to the conflict in Chechnya. Compiled by Prague Watchdog.

Monday, February 17

Russian newspaper Izvestiya published the results of an opinion poll carried out by Chechnya's Moscow-backed Press Ministry in late January - early February according to which most people in Chechnya blame the Kremlin for the current conflict but at the same time they do not wish to have a separatist leadership of their republic.

Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze admitted that there are still some two dozen Chechen fighters in the Pankisi Gorge in northern Georgia.

Tuesday, February 18

The press secretary to Russian Minister for Chechen Affairs Stanislav Ilyasov told journalists that Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov had signed a programme for the restoration of Chechnya, according to which the Russian government will allocate 3.5 billion roubles for the purpose, 1 billion roubles less than in 2002.

The number of federal troops in Chechnya will be reduced by some 2,000 men, Deputy Defence Minister Nikolai Kormiltsev said adding that their withdrawal should start in March.

Federal forces shot dead Chechen field commander Adlan Demiyev in the country's third largest town of Argun.

Wednesday, February 19

Constitutional rights of Chechen refugees in tent camps in Ingushetia are being violated, according to a recent report by the Russian presidential human rights commission, Russian news agency Interfax reported.

Thursday, February 20

Speaking in an interview on Russia's RTR Television, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said that the USA has recently added three Chechen organizations to the list of terrorist organizations. Russian officials, who in the past repeatedly asked the USA to do, welcomed the US decision. Internet server, which often carries news and opinions of such organizations, stated that two of the organizations concerned do not exist any more.

Friday, February 21

No major events.

Saturday, February 22

No major events.

Sunday, February 23

Rallies in commemoration of the deportation of the Chechen and Ingush nations in 1944 were held in the Caucasus as well as various parts of the world. The purpose of many of the rallies was also to protest against the current conflict in Chechnya.

Foreign Minister of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria Ilyas Akhmadov has appointed Usman Ferzuali his first deputy and Roman Khalilov his adviser, Chechen internet news agency Chechenpress reported.

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