Abductions Decline in Chechnya

Abductions in Chechnya appear to be declining reports RFE/RL. The total number of recorded adductions of civilians declined “from 544 in 2002 to 323 in 2005, 187 in 2006, and 16 for the first three months of this year.” These numbers were corroborated by the Russian human rights group Memorial which monitors Chechnya. Pervious data suggests that from 1999 to 2005 some 3,000 to 5,000 persons were abducted.

However, along with this decline is a shift in who is doing the adducting. Before most abductions were carried out by Chechen militants. Now “Russian and Chechen human rights activists say that at least three agencies have resorted to such abductions: the Federal Security Service (FSB), the Russian federal forces, and the various pro-Moscow Chechen police and security forces.” Partisan terror has become state terror.

Also important to point out is abductions have increased in neighboring Dagestan.

At a press conference in Moscow on June 15, members of the Moscow Helsinki Group (MHG) cited data for southern Russia as a whole, and for Daghestan. That data showed 68 reported abductions in Daghestan in 2006, compared with 12 in North Ossetia, 10 in Ingushetia, and five each in Karachayevo-Cherkessia and Kabardino-Balkaria, kavkaz-uzel.ru reported on June 18.

By contrast, there have been nearly 20 abductions in Daghestan “over a very short period” this year, according to MHG chair Lyudmila Alekseeva. Meanwhile, in Ingushetia, which unlike Chechnya has not been the scene of constant fighting in recent years, abductions of young men appear to have begun in 2002, the year that former FSB General Murat Zyazikov succeeded Ruslan Aushev as president.