News / Europe

    Gunmen Attack Chechen Parliament; 6 Reported Dead

    Special Force (OMON) officers  in front of Chechen parliament complex after a bomb blast in Grozny, Chechnya, 19 Oct 2010.
    Special Force (OMON) officers in front of Chechen parliament complex after a bomb blast in Grozny, Chechnya, 19 Oct 2010.
    James Brooke

    Southern Russia's long simmering Islamic rebellion flared up when Chechen gunmen attacked the republic's parliament, killing three security officers and wounding at least 17 other people before three of the attackers died in a counterattack.

    Hours before Russia's top policeman, Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliev, was to visit Chechnya's parliament, a carload of Chechen gunmen tailgated a parliamentarian's car into the tightly guarded government compound. Shouting "Allahu Akbar!" - or "God is great!" - they ran through the building, shooting policemen, seeking hostages, and setting off bombs.

    Doug Bernard talks with VOA Moscow correspondent James Brooke

    After a half hour gun battle, three people inside the Parliament had been killed and three militants were dead. All day, Russian television showed images from the scene: a severed leg, windows blown out of the parliament building, and distraught women in head scarves climbing into an armored personnel carrier. The interior minister, who may have been a target, said that the attack was an exception.

    Despite reassuring words from the uniformed police general, the other video images from Grozny were graphic reminders to Russians that there is a slow burning civil war in the nation's southernmost, majority Muslim republics.

    In Ingushetia, the republic immediately to the west of Chechnya, attacks have killed over 400 policemen and over 3,000 civilians in the last five years.

    In Dagestan, the republic immediately to the east of Chechnya, Interior Minister Nurgaliev said Monday that there have been 174 attacks on policemen this year, killing 89 and wounding 264.

    To many, Chechnya seemed to be suffering from war fatigue, after two bloody wars with Russian troops in the 1990s. Ramzan Kadyrov, the republic's 34-year-old president, has kept violence at bay with a mix of repression, nationalism, Islam and money from Moscow.

    Alexey Malashenko, a Moscow-based analyst for Carnegie Center, said that Tuesday's attack followed an assassination attempt on the Chechen leader in May and a bloody attack on his native village in August.

    "It's not linked to Islam. It's directed against Ramzan Kadyrov personally. To show to everybody that the opposition, national opposition, is able to do anything they want, even in the heart of Grozny, the capital of Chechnya. So they are strong. And from that point of view, the politics of stabilization of Ramzan Kadyrov failed," said Malashenko.

    One week ago, Chechen's leader addressed hundreds of delegates to a world Chechen Congress in Grozny, saying that he had restored peace to the republic. Appealing for unity, he said:  "Today, we are masters in our own republic. We have full freedom, and all opportunities for observing the canons of Islam.  We can freely shout to the entire world that we are Muslims and Chechens.  What more do we want?"

    To defuse separatism, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has created a republic with virtually all the trappings of an independent state. While he calls himself "Father of the Nation," he does not dwell on the fact that Russian aid to Chechnya last year was $2 billion - equal to 90 percent of the small republic’s budget.  

    Malashenko of Carnegie, said that Chechnya's leader knows full well that he is heavily dependent on this money from Moscow.

    "Ramzan Kadyrov and the entire Chechnya elite feel very comfortable inside the Russian republic. They get money from the Russian federal budget. That is the main reason, the main reason, and they don't need political independence,” said Malashenko.

    Much of this money has gone into building new mosques, part of an effort to create a virtually Islamic state in Chechnya. Kadyrov has tightly restricted sales of alcohol, allowed polygamy, mandated Islamic studies and attire in all schools, and has all but imposed sharia law. In face of this Islamization, the ethnic Russian population here and in Ingushetia has plummeted - from 30 percent 30 years ago to 3 percent today.

    Largely deprived of the banners of Islam and nationalism, Chechnya's revolt continues. The fuel appears to be:  blood feuds among clans; desire for revenge against Kadyrov's heavy handed security forces; and, desire for a cut of aid from Moscow in a region with Russia's highest level of unemployment.

    You May Like

    Turkey, West in Standoff Over Syrian Refugees

    Turkish government refuses to admit refugees, the first in a wave of civilians fleeing offensive by Assad regime in northern Aleppo countryside

    Jailed American Testifies About Islamist Involvement in Mumbai Attacks

    David Headley testifies via video link that Pakistan-based Islamic terror group made two failed attempts to mount strikes in Mumbai in months prior to coordinated assault

    These Are the 10 Smartest US States

    A new report breaks down the nation's best and brightest

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.