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Published in Stream:
Russia Update: April 13, 2015
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Moscow Court Rules Lawful the Investigative Committee's Refusal to Probe Kadyrov's Order to Burn Homes of Terrorists' Relatives
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The Moscow City Court has ruled that the refusal of the Investigative Committee to investigate orders by Chechen
leader Ramzan Kadyrov to burn down the homes of terrorists is lawful, Novaya Gazeta reported, citing TASS.

In December 2014, the Investigative Committee rejected a request by Novaya Gazeta correspondent Yelena Milashina to take action on a post on Instagram in which Kadyrov warned that relatives of Islamist militants would be expelled from Chechnya and their homes razed.

In the post on December 12, 2014, Kaydrov said he had held a meeting with his ministers, heads of regions and police chiefs and made an "exceptionally harsh but fair instruction" -- that any official who had a militant appear in his region should resign. Kadyrov said (translation by The Interpreter):

I officially announce that the time has come to an end when it was said that the parents do not answer for the acts of their sons or daughters. In Chechnya, they will answer! If a father sees that his son has embarked on the path of terror and Wahhabism, let him surrender him to the authorities or stop him by other means before he sheds blood. I could absolutely care less about the opinion of any persons or so-called human rights organizations silently observing the murder by NATO planes and millions of Muslims in Syria and Iraq by militants trained by the West. If a militant in Chechnya commits murder of a policeman or other person, the family of the militant will be deported from Chechnya without the right to return, and their home razed together with the foundation. Everything should know this before aiming a weapon at a police officer or other person. I will not let anyone shed blood here!


Milashina asked the IC to investigate the connection between the statement on Instagram and the burning down of the homes of relatives of suspected terrorists in December. She said the statements could indicate incitement to murder or destruction of property or abuse of office.

Igor Kalyapin, head of the Committee Against Torture in Russia and a member of the Presidential Council on Human Rights also filed complaints to the IC and the prosecutor's house about the torching of the homes.

The Investigative Committee said that that this statement "lacked any information about circumstances indicating signs of a crime."

On December 4, 14 policemen were killed and 36 wounded in a gun battle and 18 members of the terrorist group Caucasus Emirates were killed after taking over the press building and a school in Grozny. Afterward 15 homes were destroyed.

At his year-end press conference, President Vladimir Putin was questioned by Kseniya Sobchak about his tolerance of Kadyrov's extra-legal reprisals, which are against Russian law. Putin conceded the orders to burn homes was illegal, but he said Kadyrov could be understood as his own relative was among the policemen to was killed. After this question, Sobchak was sued by the Chechen government for libel and also began to get hate mail and pickets at her home and repeated death threats at the funeral of assassinated opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. She was advised to go abroad for a time.

The failure of the IC and the courts to act despite Putin's acknowledgement of Kadyrov's illegal orders is yet another example of the unwillingness or inability of the Kremlin to deal with the growing problem of Kadyrov's impunity. Zaur Dadayev, the main suspect in the murder of Nemtsov served in the Interior Ministry troops loyal to Kadyrov under Ruslan Geremeyev, a relative of Kadyrov's; last week he refused to allow IC investigators who visited Chechnya to interrogate Geremeyev.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick