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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More