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The Chechen watcher

Hundreds of desperate Chechen refugees are still stranded on the Belarusian border, waiting to enter the EU. Many locals are sceptical of the newcomers — but some have stood up to help.

In Chechnya, a ruthless strongman orders family reunification

Ramzan Kadyrov wants to reunite Chechnya’s divorced couples. His initiative could only put already vulnerable women at grave risk.

The burning land of Lenin-Aul

In a remote corner of Dagestan, a vicious land dispute has erupted between Avars and Chechens. RU

Chechnya: dead Europeans are only sometimes news

Twenty-seven Europeans were executed en masse in a single night earlier this year. The lack of international reaction to this reveals not only what’s wrong with humanity, but even more acutely — the media.

 

A transgender life in Chechnya

As reports of purges of gay men surfaced, Chechnya recently made international headlines. A transgender woman, now in exile, reflects on her place in Chechen society.

The inequality of women keeps the North Caucasus vulnerable

Corruption, violence and underdevelopment still plague Russia’s North Caucasus. By empowering women, the Russian authorities could build grounds for a more sustainable peace. 

Chechens alienated amidst gay persecutions

News of mass arrests, detentions and murders of LGBT people in Chechnya has spread around the globe. The outrage prompts this Chechen journalist to reflect on his people’s place in the world.

The women of Brest Station

These Chechen women are falling foul of changing attitudes on the EU’s eastern border, but they have made the railway station in Brest an unlikely piece of home in Belarus. Русский

The disappearing journalists of the North Caucasus

My ChecheIMG_2095.JPGn colleague Zhalavdi Geriyev has been imprisoned. How many more journalists will join him behind bars?

 

Book review: Veiled and unveiled in Chechnya and Dagestan

This new book aims to “unveil” society in Chechnya and Dagestan — instead, it’s a perfect guide of how not to write about the North Caucasus.

Ramzan Kadyrov, John Oliver and the power of ridicule

As we hunt for the Chechen leader’s cat online, are we falling into the dictator’s trap? 

Terrorism and Russia’s power vertical

RIAN_00963165.LR_.ru__0.jpg

Russia has been conducting a war on terror for 15 years. No wonder counter-terror is a part of the country’s system of governance. Русский

Can the North Caucasus adapt to political change?

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Amid a crumbling and fragile system, central and regional elites gear up for a new power struggle in Russia’s North Caucasus.

 

Like me, I'm an autocrat

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov might be the Russian Federation’s second most powerful figure. With such friends in high places, why would he need to make more online?

 

Film review: ‘Grozny Blues’ (dir. Nicola Bellucci)

Grozny Blues is a haunting, often dreamlike documentary about Chechen people caught between the contradictory pressures of manufactured realities and coerced silences.

Is this the end of the Caucasus Emirate?

After several North Caucasus commanders transferred their allegiance to Islamic State, an ISIS spokesman announced the creation of a 'Caucasus Province'. Is this the end of the Caucasus Emirate?

Kadyrov and Putin: parallel lives

RIA Kadyrov Putin 2 (c) Aleskei Nikolsku.jpgWhile Vladimir Putin has given Ramzan Kadyrov a free hand in Chechnya, the relationship between Moscow and Grozny is far more complicated than it first appears.

 

Remembering Budyonnovsk

I was in Budyonnovsk on 14 June 1995, when Chechen separatists raided the town and took hostages, killing 129. Twenty years later, this town in southern Russia is still known as the 'town of black shawls'. 

The Russian politics of multiculturalism

RIA Aleksei Druzhinin Putin Abkhazia.jpgThe relationship between religion and ethnicity on the one hand, and civic assimilation on the other, is far less harmonious than Putin’s magniloquence asserts.

Outsourcing sovereignty from Russia to Chechnya

Markedonov pic.jpgJust like in business, the centre of Russia has transferred a range of its functions to a regional political ‘contractor’. But now the tail is starting to wag the dog.

 

In Russia, nobody can be ‘Charlie’

Je suis charlie - Diogo Baptista - demotix_0.jpgRussian reaction to the Charlie Hebdo massacre has been muted, although a massive march in Chechnya defended Islam from the ‘mockers’.

Stepford Wives in Chechnya

RIA Tsarnayev Model Crop.jpgChechen women have to be very careful about what they wear because of Ramzan Kadyrov’s ‘virtue campaign.’

 

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