The European delegation had a positive impression of their visit to Chechnya
The situation in Chechnya is improving, the number of crimes is decreasing. Russia will be cutting the federal troops quantity in the republic against such a background. This was officially said by Chechen commandant, Lieutenant-General Yevgeny Abrashin. A certain part of Russian troops was withdrawn from the Northern Caucasus in March of the current year. A bit more than 1,200 servicemen left the Chechen republic, as well as about 200 defense technology units. The functions to control the counter-terrorist operation in the Northern Caucasus are to be handed over to the Russian Interior Ministry on July 1st. Yevgeny Abrashin said that military structures' prime goal in the republic was connected with law-enforcement activities. It seems that acts of terrorism are considered to be an inevitable consequence of a peace process. However, the amnesty is not likely to inspire Chechen gunmen to stop running subversive activities in the republic.
A delegation of the European parliament arrived in Chechnya yesterday. The Chechen administration definitely wants to show the full advantage of the situation in the republic to European delegates: the referendum was fine, elections are coming in December, and so on. European officials will talk to civilians, visit hospitals, schools and refugee camps. The report of the committee will be published in Strasbourg during a July session of the European Parliament.
It goes without saying that the Kremlin needs a positive report about the situation in Chechnya, that is why, the delegation was given a rousing welcome: they talked to the people, dined to the national music, listened to reports from Russian officials, and so on. The head of the European delegation, Reino Paasilinna, stated that international organizations were supposed to help the Chechen administration in terms of improving the situation in the republic. He said that he would recommend the European parliament to transfer funds to create normal living conditions in Chechnya. The leader of the delegation said that about 33 million euro would be distributed in the republic during the current year.
The perfect impression was a little bit spoiled with an action of protest that had been arranged by local residents of the settlement of Prigorodnoye. They demanded the release of 18 village-fellows, who had been detained as a result of a cleansing process. An act of terrorism has recently taken place in the mentioned settlement: a Russian armored vehicle was exploded, two Russian servicemen were killed, four others were seriously wounded.
Alexander Mokritsky, the military prosecutor of the Russian troops in the Northern Caucasus, managed to retrieve the positive mood of the meeting with European deputies. He presented the latest data about Russian military men, who had been charged with crimes against Chechen civilians. For the time being, sixty federal servicemen have been convicted, 15 have been charged with deliberate murders.
Making a speech in the State Duma at the session devoted to the legal ground for the anti-terrorism struggle, Deputy Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation Vladimir Kolesnikov stated that 407 terrorist crimes had been committed in Russia in 2002. Rosbalt news agency reported that the number of crimes had increased (+68). Gunmen have killed 780 military men and wounded 1,525. Kolesnikov added that the majority of acts of terrorism had been registered in the Chechen republic. In 2001, 821 military men were killed and 2,537 were wounded as a result of acts of terrorism in Chechnya. It seems to be rather surprising, but Vladimir Kolesnikov said that only 25 criminal proceedings had been instituted on terrorist activity allegations.