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The Finnish-Russian Civic Forum strives to promote cooperation between the peoples of Finland and Russia by supporting civic initiatives for democracy, human rights, and freedom of speech.



Screams From Omsk Penal Colony


WaYNaKH Online has received a disquieting email from the relatives of Chechen and Ingush prisoners held in a penal colony in the village of Beregovoy in Russia’s Omsk oblast. In November 2010, the relatives appealed for help because of reports of torture and wide-spread ill-treatment at the penal colony. Apparently, there has been no change in the dismal prison conditions since the end of 2010, however.



Women, Tradition, and Power in North Caucasus

Across North Caucasus, society is divided over the role of women. Why are the freedoms of women in Chechnya, Ingushetia, and Dagestan so constrained? Is Islam to blame? Is it a consequence of war in the region or of poverty? These questions form the basis of a new series on openDemocracy Russia, in which women tell their stories:

Путинский пастор разжигает межнациональную рознь


Финский уполномоченный по делам меньшинств Эва Биоде (Eva Biaudet) обратилась к полиции с просьбой инициировать следствие по поводу высказываний финского лютеранского пастора Юхи Молари (Juha Molari). Уполномоченный попросила полицию выяснить, содержатся ли в статьях, опубликованных Молари в своем блоге, признаки разжигания межнациональной розни.


Ingushetia’s Opposition Leader Abducted

Reports are coming in that Magomed Khazbiev, the leader of the popular opposition movement in the Republic of Ingushetia in Russia’s volatile North Caucasus, has been abducted, according to Ingushetiya.Ru. Several opposition and human rights activists, including Ingushetiya.Ru’s founder, Magomed Yevloyev, and opposition leader Maksharip Aushev, have been killed in recent years in Ingushetia.


Ingush President Eliminating All Dissent


There are reports that the President of Russia’s Republic of Ingushetia, Yunus-bek Yevkurov, has ordered the killing of the prominent human rights activist, Magomed Mutsolgov. The independent news portal, Angusht.com, cites sources within Ingushetia’s law enforcement agencies saying Yevkurov is eliminating all dissent in the republic.

The sources said that Yevkurov had ordered the assassination of the leader of Ingushetia’s popular opposition movement, Maksharip Aushev, in October 2009. Angusht.com also reported that the attempt to assassinate Imam Khamzat Chumakov on 14 September 2010 was made on the orders of President Yevkurov.

Magomed Ozdoyev, writing on Angusht.com, said Yevkurov wanted Chumakov killed because of the Imam’s influence on young people. As many as 3,000-5,000 people regularly attended his sermons, in which he often accused the local authorities of involvement in extrajudicial killings and kidnappings in Ingushetia.

Moreover, reports say Yevkurov’s security forces have issued a “serious warning” to Magomed Khazbiev, one of the few remaining leaders of the republic’s opposition movement. This was after Khazbiev reported that Yevkurov was behind the assassination attempt on Imam Chumakov. Khazbiev and his family are under constant harassment.


Chechens, Ingush Threatened in Finland


The Chechen and Ingush diaspora in Finland has turned to the Finnish Ombudsman for Minorities, Eva Biaudet, for protection against threats by Lutheran pastor Juha Molari, member of the “Finnish Anti-Fascist Committee”. The pastor claims that refugees from North Caucasus residing in Finland are linked to terrorism.

On 24 September 2010, Molari wrote in his blog that there were no genuine refugees from the Caucasus in Finland. “Everyone who has fled Caucasus and arrived in Finland is linked to terrorism,” the pastor claimed. Earlier, he wrote that asylum applicants were “brought into Finland because of their terrorist links.”

Chechens and Ingushetians living in Finland regard Molari’s allegations as incitement to racial hatred. Moreover, Molari’s statements are an affront to the Finnish immigration authorities, given that people guilty of crimes are not eligible for asylum. Read the open letter of the Nakh diaspora to the Finnish Ombudsman for Minorities:

Russia Turns Deaf Ear as Killing Cries for Justice


Only one spectator showed up for the final hearing in the killing of Magomed Yevloyev. He was a broad-beamed, ruddy-faced man in a carefully pressed black suit, and once in the courtroom he removed his tall fur hat, set it on the bench beside him and waited for a chance to speak.

Sunlight streamed in the window, bouncing off the white walls, but the old man had brought a heaviness with him into the room. When the time came, Yakhya Yevloyev stood and recited a litany of evidence not gathered ­ witnesses not interviewed, threads left dangling ­ that might have led to a murder conviction in his son’s death.

The room went silent out of respect for the man’s loss, and for a moment it seemed as if the process could rewind 18 months to the beginning, when his son, an opposition leader in the southern republic of Ingushetia, was hustled into a police car and shot through the head at point-blank range.