Russian family killed in Grozny


Grozny and Pervomayskoye on Google Earth, which recently updated its maps for Chechnya

Five members of a Russian family living in Pervomayskoe was killed on Monday night. Pervomayskoe is a village northwest of Grozny, within sight of the Grozny suburbs, and the village was predominantly Russian-inhabited before the Russian wars against Chechnya.

The victims were a 62-year-old local resident Veronica Kalinichenko, her 25 year-old son Alex, her 20 year-old daughter Antonina, and two of their relatives – Maria and Dmitry Kryuchkov. Two young children survived the attack. The perpetrators are unknown.

The murders were committed as an execution by shots in the head of the victims. The neighbours tell that no shots were heard, which suggests the use of weapons with silencers. The motive of the murders is still unknown.

The head of the Russian FSB in Chechnya, Alexander Sulimov, demanded the authorities to take all necessary steps to uncover this crime, which he called “inhuman.”

“There is a need to draw strength and resources of all law enforcement agencies and secret services”, Kadyrov said in an interview which was broadcast on local television. The Russian appointed president of Chechnya further accused participants in the armed underground for the crime. According to Kadyrov, “they want to scare the whole society, to keep people in constant tension and fear, and to show that they supposedly have the power.”

Kadyrov reiterated the need to destroy “wahhabists and terrorists” and that the responsibility for the actions of the militias “must be borne by their relatives”. Kadyrov’s actions of collective punishment has earlier got harsh criticism by human rights activists, as such measures are not a part of acceptable jurisdiction, neither according to Russian law. However, the Russian leadership has taken no actions to stop this unlawfulness, which apparently is committed with approval by the Kremlin.

The reaction on this murder differs from reactions on recent murders of several human rights activists in Chechnya, implying that Kadyrov might not be involved this time.

Chechnya, as well as the whole North Caucasus, has witnessed a massive decolonization of Russian inhabitants since Russia started the war against Chechnya in 1994. According to official census, the Russian population of the seven North Caucasian republics went down from close to 26 % in 1989 to less than 17 % in 2002. In eastern part of North Caucasus (Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan), the number of Russian inhabitants has inclined even more – from 15 % of the population in 1989 to just 4 % in 2002.

For Russia, this exodus of Russians from North Caucasus is most worrying. Putin has urged Russians to return back to Caucasus, and he has been actively assisted by Kadyrov and Zyazikov, the former president of Ingushetia. All campaigns have so far been in vain, and next census in 2010 will most probably show a further decrease of Russian inhabitants.

However, there are no signs that the military resistance forces would have promoted the  Russian exodus by hostile actions. Actually, there has been no need for such – those who are able to relocate themselves will move away from the war-torn republics voluntarily. If you can’t affect your situation by voting in elections, you probably will vote by your feet.

Mikael Storsjö

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