Around 100 Chechens ‘forcibly returned’ from Moscow to Grozny

7 August 2020
A still from the Grozny TV.

Around 100 people have been forcibly brought from Moscow to the Chechen capital of Grozny for engaging in ‘hooliganism, fraud, and drug use’, according to Chechen state TV.

In a half-hour report aired on Monday on Grozny TV, Chechen officials reproved the young men for what they said was their ‘unacceptable behaviour’.

According to the report, the Chechen authorities brought the men from Moscow on the request of the head of the republic, Ramzan Kadyrov. 

‘Wherever there are people from the republic, representatives of the head of the region are involved in their behaviour and moral character’, the channel said.

Grozny TV reflects a pro-government point of view on events. The channel frequently broadcasts forced public apologies from local residents who criticise the authorities or whose actions are deemed inappropriate.

[Read more: Mother of Chechen woman ‘killed by husband’ publicly apologises]

‘Inappropriate behaviour’

The detained men were reprimanded by several high-level Chechen officials. These included Adam Delimkhanov, an MP in the Russian State Duma and an advisor to Kadyrov, Chechen Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov, and the director of religious affairs for the Chechen Government, Aslan Abdulayev.

Delimkhanov criticised the men for ‘defaming the image of the Chechen Government and people’. According to him, if not for the intervention of the Chechen authorities, the men would have faced problems with the law in Moscow. 

He did not specify whether the authorities in Moscow had made official complaints against the men.

‘It is very difficult to catch one person outside [Chechnya] and bring him home [to Chechnya], because the local authorities have their own established laws, you need to negotiate’, Delimkhanov said.

While criticising the men, the MP did not specify which, if any, laws they had broken.

‘Ten to fifteen people who chat from Europe, some of them are no longer [alive], use people like you’, Delimkhanov said.

‘Foundations have been created there that are working to establish laws where a man marries a man; these funds support these people who criticise our government’, he added.

At the end of the broadcast, Alkhanov warned others outside Chechnya, saying that ‘every department head [of the Ministry of Internal Affairs] will pick you up and you will do the dirtiest work in the republic’.

Public apology

Two of the men brought from Chechnya were present during the broadcast and apologised on air.

‘They didn’t say anything that wasn’t true. I regret that I behaved unworthily, and I will try to prevent this from happening again’, one of them said.

The other said that while he had escaped from the airport, after a call from his relatives, he ‘changed his mind about hiding’.

‘I said that due to family reasons I could not fly and, having refused the ticket, ran away from the airport. Then they found the number of my relatives, they called me, I said that I would agree to come. They came to me and brought me’, he said.

In March, 47 people were brought from Moscow to Chechnya. Many of their relatives were forced to apologise on Grozny TV for the ‘unworthy behaviour’ of their relatives.

In April, the Chechen authorities returned to the republic and punished three residents of Chechnya who did not pay for a taxi ride in Moscow.

The report did not specify how the men were delivered from Moscow to Grozny or if they were under arrest. It is unclear on what legal basis they were detained.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Chechnya, the Prosecutor's Office of Chechnya and the Investigative Committee of Chechnya, as well as the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the City of Moscow, the Prosecutor's Office of Moscow and the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation did not respond to a request for comment.

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