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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russia Update: May 14, 2015

Publication: Russia Update
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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Is the Transfer of Alibek Delimkhanov, Commander of Suspect in Nemtsov Murder Case, a Promotion or Demotion?

News of the transfer of Alibek Delimkhanov from the position of commander of the Sever battalion in the Chechen Interior Ministry regiment to the federal Interior Ministry troops indicates something happened with a figure in the Nemtsov murder case -- but it's not clear what.

The story of a 57-year-old village police chief marrying a 17-year-old village girl with the blessing of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has preoccupied the Russian independent news media for the last two weeks with multiple iterations and side stories as we reported.

The story seems to have become the main vehicle for people to express their concerns about the backwardness of Chechnya and human rights concerns promoted by liberals in Moscow.

But meanwhile, the coverage of the investigation of the murder of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov has fallen silent since April 30, with only a few stories about the efforts of his colleagues to keep flowers laid at the site of his murder on a bridge near the Kremlin, and fruitless appeals to the mayor's office to get permission for a memorial plaque.

Even with the release of a report Nemtsov was working on at the time of his death regarding Russian military presence in Ukraine, there hasn't been any further questions raised about the five suspects currently in custody or any aspect of the investigation. Ten weeks after the murder, Nemtsov's colleagues from among independent reporters and opposition members have been unable to wrest any new information about the case and are concentrating on continuing their friend's legacy.

RBC.ru, which has provided a lot of coverage of the investigation and has a special section of its web site devoted to Nemtsov's murder, has not covered the investigation since April 30 -- likely because there have been no new leaks by the FSB and the site has already covered every angle possible regarding theories of the case, torture of the suspects, and the possible interrogation of them with a lie detector.

Novaya Gazeta which has published both leaks and investigations has not had any new materials in its special section on Nemtsov's murder since April 21.

Grani.ru, an independent web site that is blocked by the censor but active on Twitter and viewed on mirror sites and through circumvention software, published a video on May 5 from the youth section of the RPR PARNAS party which called for interrogation of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, his influential relative Senator Adam Delimkhanov, and his cousin Alimbek Delimkhanov, commander of the Sever battalion where Zaur Dadayev, the chief of the five suspects, served. and to declare an international search for Ruslan Geremeyev, another member of the Sever battalion who is rumored to have fled Chechnya for the UAE.

The Investigative Committee has been unable to interrogate Geremeyev despite requests to the Chechen authorities, and interviewed Alibek Delimkhanov only after persistent requests when they came in person to Chechnya, and the personal intervention of Kadyrov, his relative.

Putin has ducked specific questions about the investigation even as he appeared to answer them.

The scrap of news about Alibek Delimkhanov's transfer could be a further indication of efforts by central authorities in Moscow to placate Chechens, just as Kadyrov himself was given various medals and high-profile visits.

Translation: Alibek Delimkhanov, commander of the Sever special regiment, has been appointed deputy commander of the 46th Brigade of the Interior Ministry Interior Troops.

The news originated from a message on Ramzan Kadyrov's Instagram account:

my-dear-bro.jpg

Translation: Under army regulations, he could have received this assignment long before the Nemtsov murder; now it isn't clear, is this a promotion or departure?

The 46th brigade is a federal unit and not one of the Chechen divisions under direct control of Kadyrov (known as the Kadyrovtsy) though nominally under federal command. That could mean, in the tug of war between Moscow center and Kadyrov, either that Delimkhanov is being put under more Kremlin control, or the opposite, that he has gained a promotion that gives him and his network greater power.

Kadyrov's further description on Instagram makes it sound at one level as if there was a retirement party for Demlikhanov, complete with a decree from Putin, but at another level, that he is going to continue as an Interior Ministry (MVD) officer.

From the moment of the creation of the Akhmat-Khadzhi Kadyrov Regiment he was its commander. During that time, the regiment became one of the most battle-capable units in the Interior Troops. Under the command of Alibek Delimkhanov hundreds of special operations were conducted in the neutralization of the most dangerous terrorists. Dozens of servicemen were killed and wounded in battles. Today a solemn ceremony of farewell of Alibek Sultanovich took place with the regiment and the Battle Banner. I awarded him the first-degree medal of the Order of Merit Before the Fatherland, which he was awarded by order of RF President Vladimir Putin.

Rakhman Abdulkadirov has been appointed as acting commander. He was a battalion commander. He has two orders of Courage. After the solemn procession of the regiment's divisions around the square we laid bouquets of flowers to the memorial of the First President of the Chechen Republic Hero of Russia Akhmat-Khadzhi Kadyrov and the servicemen who were killed. I wish Alibek Sultanovich successes in the cause of defense of the Fatherland!

The presidential decree does not appear to have been published yet.

The Nemtsov case is in fact no different now than many other assassination cases before it where often Chechens were arrested as common scapegoats and a lengthy pre-trial wait ensues. The real perpetrators or masterminds are often not found.

Oleg Kashin was among the few bloggers to notice the story on Delimkhanov and quoted Kadyrov.

Translation: Under the command of Alibek Delimkhanov hundreds of special operations to neutralize the most dangerous terrorists have been conducted.

The received wisdom about the relationship between federal law-enforcers and the Chechen Interior Ministry is that whatever their frictions, Moscow center needs the Chechens or they would be unable to track down terrorists in the forests.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Wedding Is Back On Between Chechen Police Chief, Age 57, and 17-Year-Old Girl

The Russian media has been roiling for weeks with the spectacle of a 57-year-old village police chief planning to marry a 17-year-old Chechen girl.


1431494063_125447_24.jpg

Luisa Goylabiyeva and Nazhud Guchigov. Photos via Novaya Gazeta

Accusations and denials have been flung back and forth between the Russian independent media and the Chechen government and it seemed as if the story was that no wedding was planned or at least was now cancelled.

On May 10, the Chechen government press secretary said that no marriage had taken place.

Now today comes the news from Novaya Gazeta that the wedding is in fact scheduled. According to a report in Novaya Gazeta, Kadyrov has confirmed the plans on his Instagram account (translation by The Interpreter):

Luisa Goylabiyeva and Nazhud Guchigov decided to hold the wedding. The difference in their age is 30 years. The parents of the girl have blessed this union.

As an argument in favor of the marriage, he cited examples from famous Russian public figures, such as Viktor Yerofeyev's wife, who is 40 years younger than he; the wife of Andrei Konchalovsky, 36 years younger; and Alla Pugacheva, the singer who is 27 years older than her husband. When these famous figures were married, he said (translation by The Interpreter):

No one was outraged and no one demanded inspections from the Investigative Committee or the Prosecutor's Office.

Recently, our media dug up some news from the mountain village of Baytarka. They forgot about the price of oil, the events in Yemen, the earthquake in Nepal, the pensioner murdered by teenagers in Moscow, the forest fires, and the birth of an heir to the British throne.


Marriage.jpgKonchalovsky.png



Kadyrov quoted the line from Eugene Onegin, "To love all ages yield surrender."

Kadyrov insisted that the human rights issue was not the girl's consent, but the intrusion into the private life of Chechen families. He said he believed that someone was paid to discredit Chechnya.

Kadyrov also discounted media accounts that Shaid Zhamaldayev the minister of the press in Chechnya was dismissed over the publication of the wedding story. He said he was transferred to the parliament at the minister's own request.

Under Russian law, a person can get married at the age of 15  with the consent of a municipal body and are legally able to marry at 16, although it is discouraged.

Goylabiyeva, known as Khedi, was visited by Novaya Gazeta correspondent Yelena Milashina today in her home town of Baitarka.

Milashina was warned by a policeman in the Siberian Federal District who had served in Chechnya that the Chechen police were very interested in her movements and she should not go to Khedi's village. Milashina made the trip anyway, accompanied by another journalist and a human rights activist. The three immediately acquired a tail and noted the license plate of the car following them. Their story will be published soon.

As Milashina reported yesterday,  the scandal which has run two weeks now already began with an appeal to Novaya Gazeta by Khedi's fellow villagers saying they wanted to publicize the information that neither the girl or her family wanted the marriage to take place. They said Kheda was already engaged to another man closer to her age and had planned to be married when she turned 18. Her girlfriends tried to place posts about this situation on social media but they were all removed.

There were also appeals to Kadyrov, who had outlawed bride-stealing in 2010, and in 2012, marriages to minors. On May 2, when the wedding was supposed to take place, Guchigov was reached by telephone by Novaya Gazeta and said he knew of the law and had no plans to marry. He also said he was already married. "Right next to me is my first and only wife, whom I love very much with whom I want to live my whole life!" he said. He claimed that news that Baitarka was blockaded so that Kheidi could not be carried away was not true.

Kadyrov then said at a government meeting that the wedding would take place and sent a representative to Baitarka.

The story galvanized many critics of Kadyrov's human rights violations, already outraged by Kadyrov's orders to burn down the houses of relatives of suspected terrorists and his stalling of the investigation into Chechens allegedly involved in the murder of Boris Nemtsov. Mikhail Fedotov, head of the Presidential Commission on Human Rights as well as the Ella Pamfilova, the Ombudsperson for Human Rights appealed to Kadyrov. Pavel Astakhov, the Children's Rights Ombudsman at first said "the rights of minors are not enforced by force" seemed to have a change of heart and later said he would visit Chechnya to discuss the issue of child brides.

Meanwhile the story took some more odd turns, including a claim that in fact Guchigov had his divorced his wife

A scandal like this wouldn't be complete without a feature from LifeNews, a pro-Kremlin TV station close to law-enforcement and intelligence. In the broadcast, Khedi can be seen looking at the floor and repeating answers that her aunt whispers to her, and repeating "I don't know" to the question of why her girlfriends made the appeal. She said she had known Guchigov for a year, and she knew he was married and had children. "But it just happened that now I am going to marry him."

As Milashina pointed out, it was odd that no journalists could reach Khedi for two weeks, and now all of a sudden LifeNews had a feature.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
UK Scrambles Two Typhoon Fighters To Intercept Russian Long-Range Bombers Near Scotland

This just in:


Reuters reports:

"The aircraft were identified as Russian Bear aircraft which were escorted by the RAF Typhoon fighters until they were out of the UK area of interest. At no time did the Russian military aircraft cross into UK sovereign airspace," a Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said in a statement.

This fits a pattern regularly seen over the last year -- Russian aircraft and naval vessels operating close to international borders.

-- James Miller

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
PayPal Refuses Donations for Nemtsov's Report Citing Russian Restrictions on Use for Political Parties
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Pay Pal Reportedly Blocking Donations to Nemtsov Colleague for 'Putin.War' Report

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