Russia

Ingushetia Situation Report No. 10

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Originally published


Latest developments
1. Russian Forces take over the control of Grozny but expect heavy fighting in the mountains;

2. Western criticism of the War in Chechnya;

3. The RF Acting President’s popularity diminishes as the casualties in Chechnya increase;

4. On 04/02 the Ingush MVD police station received a call from unidentified person who informed it about a bomb placed in the Ingush Republican Branch of the Central Bank;

5. Chechen Field Commanders have declared "Total Military Operations" on the territory of Russia.

1. Reports from Chechnya and official Russian military sources agree that the rebels began pulling out of the doomed city on January 31. The RF Acting President Vladimir Putin said in comments broadcast on 06/02 that Russian troops were in full control of the Chechen capital Grozny. ''A short time ago, the last stronghold of the terrorists' resistance in Grozny was taken -- the Zavodsky district of the city -- and the Russian flag has been hoisted over one of the administrative buildings,'' Putin told ORT public television. ''So we can say that the operation for the freeing of Grozny has ended,'' he added. Last week the Russian forces backed by tanks and artillery battled to prevent Chechen militants, who busted through the Russian blockade of Grozny, from reaching rebel forces in the southern mountains. The rebels' escape frustrated the Russian strategy of wiping out the Chechen fighters in Grozny and ending the war. The escape of large rebel forces from Grozny means that the insurgents can continue their struggle. The taking of Grozny has been expected for some time, and it is the signal for the beginning of a full-scale guerrilla war. The Chechens are leaving Grozny because it has served its purpose for them as a useful battlefield for inflicting casualties on the Russians. Now it is expected that they will head for the mountains to regroup and plan a new offensive.

2. During a visit to Moscow, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright repeated the US position that the campaign was excessively brutal and warned Russia it risked international isolation. But Acting President Vladimir Putin countered the international criticisms. "It is unacceptable to cancel such basic principles of international law as national sovereignty and territorial integrity under the slogan of so-called 'humanitarian intervention,' " Putin told the delegates. He did not mention Chechnya by name, but he was clearly referring to the West's strong criticism of Russia's military campaign against Muslim fighters in the breakaway republic. Moscow accuses the fighters of terrorism and other crimes, and says the West should not interfere in Russian internal affairs.

3. Mr. Putin, who faces elections on March 26, has seen his popularity tumble for the first time since he was appointed Prime Minister last August. According to the VTSIOM agency, his public approval rating fell from 56 percent to 49 percent last week, largely due to bad news from the Chechnya war front.

4. On 04/02 the Ingush MVD police station received a call from unidentified person who informed it about a bomb placed in the Ingush Republican Branch of the Central Bank located in the center of Nazran, the capital of Ingushetia. The person did not specify the time of explosion. Police had brought out the bank employees and all inhabitants of the near-by houses to secure the zone of possible explosion and searched the area. There were no further developments concerning the news.

5. Two Chechen field commanders, Shamil Basayev and Vakha Arsanov declared the beginning of "total military operations on all the territory of Russia." It is not known if this statement has been co-ordinated with President of Chechnya Aslan Maskhadov. In their statement that was made on 7/01, the field commanders said that they have military ammunition and manpower that is necessary for fifty years of war. However, judging by the same television broadcasting company, Maskhadov issued an edict on the conscription of volunteers and reservists.

Displacement figures

The following information is provided by MS - Ingushetia as of 9/02/2000


As stated in Situation Report #9, according to UNHCR and DRC figures the total number of IDPs currently staying in Ingushetia is approximately 180,000 persons. The actual discrepancy in figures reflecting the total number of IDP population in Ingushetia provided by the Ingush MS and UNHCR can be explained by the fact that some of the 275,133 IDPs have actually returned to Chechnya or constantly migrates in and out and are not de-registered from the lists of the Ingush Migration Service.

MS Information on IDPs registered in Ingushetia as of 9/02/2000 (breakdown by district)



Percentage breakdown of IDPs registered in Ingushetia (since 01/09/99)

Movements through "Kavkaz" checkpoint on 9/02/2000 (Source: Ingush MVD)

From Chechnya to Ingushetia
1643 persons
From Ingushetia to Chechnya
790 persons

Distribution

DRC Emergency Assistance Project

For the period from 30/01 to 5/01 DRC conducted several distributions of DANIDA, UNHCR and UNICEF winter clothing for IDPs of all age groups living in spontaneous settlements and with host families in Nazran City, Nazran District, Troitskaya, Plievo, Barsuki, Altievo and Gamurzievo Villages. There was also a distribution of UNICEF jerry cans in Sleptsovskaya Village last week.

Total number of winter clothing distributed by DRC in Ingushetia so far:
  • Winter coats: 37,790
  • Winter boots: 49,640

Assessments

On 15/01/2000 DRC started the UNHCR-funded re-registration of the total IDP population in Ingushetia (including the displaced from North Ossetia and the Ingush host families). Based on close cooperation with the Ingush Migration Service and Local Administrations, DRC has already completed registration of IDPs from Chechnya and the Prigorodnyi region of North Ossetia - Alania being in the process of finalizing of the data collected by the field registration teams and finishing registration of the Ingush host families . A total of 176,000 IDPs have been included into the registration database so far. According to the already collected information the total number of IDPs currently staying in Ingushetia constitutes some 196,000 individuals, (including the displaced from Prigorodny District of North Ossetia-Alania) whereas the number of IDPs from Chechnya in Ingushetia is estimated to be around 180,000 persons. As it was planed earlier, the first CD-ROM disk with a copy of a final version of the registration database is expected by February 15. The database will be of great help not only in terms of facilitation of distribution but can also serve as a tool to input family reconciliation.

Inter Agency Issues

On 31/01 - 5/02 a joint UN Assessment Mission to Ingushetia took place with the participation of UNHCR, WFP, WHO, UNICEF, UNDP, IOM, OCHA and EMERCOM. Tom Trier from DRC took part in the mission on behalf of the international NGO community (ICVA/Inter-Action). The findings of the mission confirm that the overall situation for the displaced in Ingushetia has improved since the first UN Assessment Mission in November although there are still huge gaps to be filled. With regard to food aid, UNHCR and ICRC are the main suppliers. UNHCR provides a full food basket (2100 kcal) to IDPs in Sunzhenskiy and Nazranovskiy Districts of Ingushetia. WFP will start delivering food shortly, and it is expected that the two UN agencies then will be able to cover the basic needs of 180,000 IDPs and some 70,000 members of Ingush host families, together with ICRC that currently covers 25% of the total food needs of the IDPs in Ingushetia. Among the agencies, it has so far been UNHCR mainly that has played a role on provision of around 4,000 MT of food and non-food items from late September to early February. UNICEF has delivered small quantities of medical supplies through UNHCR. Non-food is supplied in large quantities by UNHCR, the Russian Red Cross and DRC (beds, blankets, winter jackets and boots), whereas UNICEF is bringing in hygienic items. Following the mission, UNICEF and WHO are planning to establish local representations in Ingushetia and implement humanitarian relief programs within their respective fields of operations. UNDP considers providing assistance to the Ingush government, especially with regard to improvement of the infrastructure.

Indeed, the main difficulty for humanitarian action in Ingushetia is the security environment that becomes apparent due to the high risk of kidnappings and other assaults. Another - and related issue - is that some NGOs have initiated operations inside Chechnya. This fact significantly increases the risk of security incidents. It is obvious that the need for humanitarian action inside Chechnya is huge, however humanitarian actors should take into account that a kidnapping or another grave security incident is likely to compromise the work of other humanitarian organisations currently working in Ingushetia, and might greatly affect the IDP population in Ingushetia who might be deprived of assistance.

APPENDIX

Since the beginning of the Emergency Relief Program in Ingushetia DRC has significantly extended its operation in the area. Due to the fact that DRC is currently involved in implementation of several projects in the Republic of Ingushetia it seems useful to present a short introduction to the DRC Emergency Operations in Ingushetia.

Brief overview of DRC Emergency Operations in Ingushetia

Since November 1999, DRC - in cooperation with ASF-Danish People’s Aid - has implemented a relief-aid operation in Ingushetia, providing winter items by direct distribution to IDPs living in spontaneous settlements, in camps and with host families. The operational set-up already being in place in the Northern Caucasus, where DRC has carried out a rehabilitation project since 1997 - first in Vladikavkaz and later in Stavropol - has allowed for a relatively smooth implementation of the relief aid operation in Ingushetia.

The DRC operations in the Northern Caucasus are managed from the DRC North Caucasus/Russian Federation Representative Office in Stavropol. In addition, two field offices have been established in Nazran, Ingushetia.

DRC’s main relief-aid concept in Ingushetia is based on direct distribution. Prior to the actual distribution of the winter items, DRC’s team of local field assistants register the sizes of shoes and jackets of the targeted IDPs to ensure a maximal utilization of the relief items.

From its first distribution of winter items in late November 1999 up to early February 2000, DRC has distributed 80,000 winter jackets and boots. With the funding available, it is expected that DRC can distribute a total of 220,000 winter items before the end of March 2000. Several international donors have made the Ingushetia relief-aid project possible, the major donor being DANIDA. Other donors are the Norwegian Refugee Council, Dan Church Aid. ECHO is also expected to contribute to the program. UNHCR is contributing with supplies of 68,000 winter items, which are being distributed through DRC’s direct distribution system. Moreover, DRC expects to conclude a sub-agreement with UNICEF shortly on distribution of some 300,000 hygienic articles mainly for IDP children as well as jerry cans. As of early February, DRC employs 45 local staff members under this project, most of them being occupied with distribution.

The DRC Nazran Field Office is coordinated by Project Coordinator Kharon Deniev, tel. 87322 – 267 71, mob. 8-901 - 497 90 47.

In addition to the DRC direct distribution operation, DRC since December 1999 has carried out a logistics operation in cooperation with UNHCR and Emercom in Ingushetia. The UNHCR/DRC partnership agreement is based on logistical support and facilitation of distribution of relief items to 150,000 IDPs from Chechnya and 100,000 members of host families. The role of DRC is to facilitate and strengthen the distribution of the food and non-food relief-aid that is being delivered by UNHCR to Emercom in Ingushetia for distribution to IDPs and members of host families.

Operationally, UNHCR delivers food and non-food items from its warehouse in Stavropol to the DRC/Emercom warehouses in Sleptsovskaya and Nazran, whereas DRC manages the warehouse and is responsible for the further transportation of the relief-aid to the distribution points, located in the major villages of the districts as well as in camps and spontaneous settlements. Here, the relief-aid is handed over to the local administrations who store the relief items until the physical distribution takes place shortly after. The local administrations are responsible for the actual distribution, being monitored by DRC.

Three 15 day cycles of distributions have been concluded in Ingushetia’s eastern Sunzhenskyi district (38,000 IDPs) and as of 8 February distribution will begin also in Nazranskyi district. Distribution in the northern Malgobek district will be established shortly.

86 local staff members are currently employed under the UNHCR/DRC logistics operation, most staff occupied with monitoring and loading.

The joint UNHCR/DRC operation in Ingushetia is coordinated by DRC Senior Logistics Officer, Brian Graham,
tel. 87322 - 28 270, mob. 8-901 - 497 90 43.
Stavropol, 10 February 2000.
For further information, please contact:
Tom Trier (8) 901 498 08 25
Zelim Yandarov (8) 901 498 08 24

1 The consolidated cumulative table on DRC distributions is attached.

ATTACHMENT

DRC distribution of UNHCR winter clothing in Ingushetia

Distribution of DANIDA funded winter clothing in Ingushetia

DRC distribution of NRC winter clothing in Ingushetia


DRC distribution of DCA funded winter clothing in Ingushetia

DRC distribution of UNICEF winter jackets and jerry cans