After a decade, Moscow has lifted its tight anti-terror regime in Chechnya.
Russia fought two full-scale wars with separatist forces in Chechnya after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but the situation has largely stabilised in recent years under tough, pro-Moscow rule. Russian president Dmitry Medvedev had announced the move last month, saying that “since the situation in the Chechen republic was returning to normal, it was time to consider ending the counter-terrorism regime operating there”. Restrictions such as curfews, roadblocks, searches and arbitrary detention were imposed in Chechnya in 1999 when Russia sent troops to the region to end its short-lived independence. Russia has withdrawn most of its soldiers but tens of thousands of police and special service units still patrol in Chechnya, which remains one of Russia’s poorest regions. Kremlin critics say the regime has fostered huge human rights violations, and many believe that Russia’s problems are not over, with the unrest simply shifting to the neighbouring republics of Dagestan and Ingushetia.