A number of residents of Chechnya have complained of being forced to attend Russia Day celebrations on 12 June. Mass events are being held in the Chechen capital Grozny, mostly in the city centre on the square in front of the Heart of Chechnya (aka Akhmad Kadyrov) Mosque.
The authorities have reported that many people attended the holiday events, however, a number of participants complained of being forced to participate. According to Caucasian Knot, people were told that they would have problems if they didn’t participate.
‘Today is a holiday, but we have a special programme here, as usual. Everyone has to be on a demonstration and events related to the Day of Russia. Turnout for everyone is strictly required. Employers warned people that those, who avoided coming to the events would have serious problems’, Isa, from Grozny told Caucasian Knot.
‘We, as usual, voluntarily and compulsorily participate in an event called “March of the Peoples of Russia”. Those who do not come, they will not be allowed to pass tests and exams. At least, this is what we were told’, Madina, a student from the Grozny University remarked.
Following the celebrations a concert was held with local singers. The events were held under a heavy police presence, with entrance to the square possible only through metal detectors, and a large number of military lorries parked around the event.