Blog Posts


Washington Post Interview: Danger in Sochi, and an Olympics on edge

Sochi Olympics.JPEG-0eafd

Sunday, January 27, 2014

The countdown to Sochi was supposed be joyous, a celebration of all things Russian and the Olympics, too.

Instead it’s been nothing but a grim reminder that Olympic officials had no idea what they were getting when they bought into Vladimir Putin’s visions of surf and snow and handed him a Winter Olympics to call his own.

Every day seems to bring a new threat or another warning. Every day strains the nerves more, to the point where some athletes are telling family and friends it’s not worth the risk to go, even for the most important moment of their lives.

Suicide bombings a few hundred miles away. Threats of more to come in Sochi itself. A hardened militant group nearby with an immense hatred of Putin and Russia and little regard for human life.

And a general uneasiness that no matter how many billions they’ve spent, the Russians really aren’t ready for this at all.

 

Read more here: http://goo.gl/zj2ucP

 


 

Dokku Umarov changes the CE’s policy on terrorism

Doku-Umarov_2542504b

Dokku Umarov calls on the Mujaheddin to prevent the Olympics from occurring in Sochi. This, in turn, will provide the Russian security services the justification to do just about anything to prevent a terrorist attack.

The Express Tribune – July 3, 2013

MOSCOW: Russia’s top fighter Doku Umarov called in a video released on Wednesday for fighters to stage attacks against a range of targets that include the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games.

“We know that on the bones of our ancestors, on the bones of many, many Muslims who died and are buried on our territory along the Black Sea, today they plan to stage the Olympic Games. We, as the Mujahedeen, must not allow this to happen by any means possible,” Umarov said in a message posted on the kavkazcenter.com website.

Russia hopes to make the 2014 Winter Olympic Games into a showcase event that highlights the economic and social strides that the country has made under President Vladimir Putin.

But Sochi is located in the immediate proximity of Russia’s North Caucasus – an extremely volatile region that has witnessed two post-Soviet war in Chechnya and daily violence in republics such as Dagestan.

The Russian authorities ordered added protection for Sochi after the April Boston Marathon Bombings that were blamed on two ethnic Chechen brothers who spent parts of their lives in Russia.

Read more here: http://tribune.com.pk/story/571827/top-russian-fighter-calls-for-attacks-on-sochi-games
 


 

Interview on BBC World Service Newshour

Interview on BBC World Service Newshour, June 24, 2013
Dagestan and Boston special

BBC_Interview

Interview for a BBC NewsHour Special Edition on the Boston Bombing and the situation in the North Caucasus, a live simulcast from Boston and Dagestan, includes a rare interview with Zubeidat Tsarnaeva (Tamarlan and Dzhokar’s mother), imams from the mosque Tamarlan attended in Dagestan, Russian officials, and more. Broadcast on most NPR stations throughout the U.S. and worldwide on the BBC World Service.

My portion of the interview begins at 35:06 but I suggest listening from 26:30 to get the full context.

Listen to the Interview

 


 

Guilty Verdict In Budanov Case

Guilty Verdict In Budanov Case

COL Budanov was one of the very few military officers convicted of human rights violations during the Chechen Wars – a highly polarizing verdict that still sparks strong emotions throughout the region and all of Russia.

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

30 April, 2013

A jury at the Moscow City Court has found Yusup Temerkhanov, an ethnic Chechen, guilty of the murder of former Russian Army Colonel Yury Budanov.

Temerkhanov’s lawyers say they will appeal the verdict.

In February, the court dismissed the previous jury, citing the “inability of some jurors to attend the process.”

The defendant’s lawyer insisted that the jury was dismissed to prevent it from acquitting his client.

Before the previous jury’s dismissal, a witness in the case had changed his description of the killer, saying the defendant did not look like the man who shot Budanov in 2011.

Budanov was killed in Moscow two years after his early release from prison, where he served time for killing an 18-year-old Chechen woman, Elza Kungayeva.

Read more here: http://www.rferl.org/content/russia-budanov-murder/24972657.html

 


 

Sochi Olympics: Disgraced ex-director poisoned?

Sochi Olympics

More problems surrounding the Sochi Olympics. Was he really poisoned, or is this to cover up a major embezzlement of funds, or both? Thoughts?

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

April 29, 2013, by Claire Bigg

“Hardly a month goes by in Russia without a fresh scandal hitting the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The latest blow came from Akhmed Bilalov, a disgraced former deputy head of Russia’s Olympic Committee, fired in February after being publicly upbraided by President Vladimir Putin for huge cost overruns and a two-year delay in the construction of the Sochi ski jump.

On April 27, Bilalov claimed that he was suffering from mercury poisoning after being exposed to the toxic substance at his Moscow office.

“They have found elevated levels of mercury in my body,” he told the Interfax news agency. “I didn’t want to announce this before, but now that the press has found out I’m forced to confirm it.”

Read more here: http://www.rferl.org/content/sochi-olympics-official-bilalov-poisoned/24972133.html


 

CNN – The Truth about the Chechen Threat

CNN_logo

April 22nd, 2013

by Robert W. Schaefer, Special to CNN

“As we all struggle to make sense of the Boston bombings, and the revelation that the two suspects are ethnic Chechens, there has been a rush to reacquaint ourselves with the troubled North Caucasus region in the hope that we might be able to answer questions like “why did this happen,” or “are we under attack again?” And as the airwaves and the blogospheres are swarmed with facts and opinions, it’s worth taking a step back to put this deluge of information in some context.

It’s not as though we haven’t heard of Chechnya before, it’s just that it’s one of those places that is only occasionally in the news before fading again as our attention is pulled elsewhere. Yet it isn’t actually all that long ago that we were hearing about the two wars of independence that Chechnya fought against Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. And although we may remember President Bill Clinton drawing comparisons between Boris Yeltsin’s efforts to quell the Chechen independence movement with the U.S. Civil War, many may not be aware that the same law that Yeltsin used to declare Russia’s independence from the Soviet Union gave Chechnya (and many other Russian regions) the legal basis to do the same. It was this that created a constitutional crisis that almost destroyed Russia in the mid-1990’s, and created the conditions that resulted in a de-facto independent Chechen republic from 1996-1999.”

Read the full piece here: http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/22/the-truth-about-the-chechen-threat/


 

Chechnya funds mosque construction in Israel

PRITU 8

 

ON MARCH 9,2013:-Russia’s Chechen Republic is funding the construction of a mosque which it claims will be the second-largest in Israel after the famous Al-Aqsa. It will be located just 10 km from Jerusalem and hold several thousands of worshippers at a time.The location of the mosque is the Abu Ghosh village, which is partially populated by ethnic Chechens.Construction is already underway. The mosque is being built on a street named after ex-Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov, who was assassinated in 2004. The mosque will also be named after the deceased president, the father of the republic’s present leader, Ramzan Kadyrov.“This will be the second-largest mosque in Israel, after the holy Al-Aqsa. Two of the towers have already been built,” Russian MP Adam Delimkhanov said after visiting the Israeli village.Al-Aqsa, the third-holiest site in Islam, is located in the Old City of Jerusalem and the largest mosque in Israel. It sits on the Temple Mount, which is also the holiest site in Judaism.The idea for the construction of the new mosque is to strengthen the relationship between Israel and Russia, stated Ramzan Kadyrov as he promised to visit Israel to attend the opening ceremony.The decision to finance the construction was made after the local residents failed to collect enough money to build the mosque, he Chechen government website says. The exact cost of the project remains unknown.The mosque will be decorated in the Chechen tradition and anguage/culture courses will be organized for local ethnic Chechen population.

 


 

Turkey’s Investment in Chechnya

 

 

PRITU 5

 

 

 

 

 

ON MARCH 14 , 2013:- Turkey will invest in Chechnya. This was stated during the visit to Grozny by seven members of the Turkish parliament, heads of chambers of commerce, and representatives of the business community. The head of the delegation, Turkish MP from Malatya Mujakhit Fyndykly told Vestnik Kavkaza: “We came for three days and managed to conduct political meetings and estimate opportunities in the economic sphere. We brought representatives of major chambers of commerce from Konya, Side, and Adana. We consider Chechnya as a possible place for investments. We will tell other Turkish businessmen about it. I am sure this visit will positively influence development of economic and political relations between Turkey and the Chechen Republic.”

 


 

Russian “Osama bin Laden” Surrenders

 

PRITU 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

ON APRIL 2,2013:-  State Duma Deputy representing Chechnya Shamsail Saraliyev has asked Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika to look into allegations that Musa Chiliyev, the prime minister of Ingushetia, is financing local militants, Izvestia writes on Tuesday. On Monday, Channel One broadcast an interview with militant Ibragim Korzhkhoyev, who said Chiliyev gave militants in the North Caucasus monthly funds of $1 million.Torzhkhoyev is a former member of the Chechen Islamist rebel group headed by Doku Umarov, who has been called “Russia’s Osama Bin Laden” and is responsible for organizing a number of terrorist attacks on civilians.According to Izvestia, Iles Tatiyev, deputy head of the Agency for Socio-Political Initiatives nonprofit organization who is responsible for the North Caucasus Federal District, believes the militant’s statement could be true.Meanwhile Rostislav Turovsky from the Center for Political Technologies think tank said the information may have been politically motivated and connected with President of Ingushetia Yunus-Bek Yevkurov’s weakening influence.Chiliyev declined to comment on Torzhkhoyev’s statement.Torzhkhoyev was put on the international wanted list on suspicion of involvement in the Domodedovo Airport bomb attack in 2011. He surrendered to the Russian authorities in February.

 


 

In Memoriam – Moshe Gammer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With all the “experts” talking about the recent news, I’ve wondered why we haven’t been hearing from some of the “great voices” among the cacophony of empty noise. Unfortunately, now I know why. Dr. Gammer was one of the giants in this field and was contributing important works well before any of this became fashionable and we all owe him a debt of gratitude for his work.
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Professor Moshe Gammer, a prominent expert on religious and political history of Northern Caucasus, died in Israel on April 16. The funeral took place on April 17. He was seriously ill for the last six months and did not teach at the Department of Middle East and Africa History of the Tel Aviv University.

For more than 10 years, Professor Gammer was a regular organizer of scientific conferences in Israel, the USA and EU on the history and culture of Northern Caucasus, particularly of Dagestan.

Moshe Hammer was the author of several studies on the subject, in particular, “Muslim Resistance to the Tsar: Shamil and the Conquest of Chechnia and  Daghestan”, published in 1994 and his more famous book “The Lone Wolf and the Bear. Three Centuries of Chechen Defiance of Russian Rule,” published in 2005.

In 2008, he published a collection of works “Islam and Sufism in Daghestan”, published in Finland.

Read more about Dr. Gammar here: http://rsela.wordpress.com/2013/04/17/in-memoriam-moshe-gammer-1950-2013/