Invasion of Dagestan

Penetration into Dagestan of ideas of radical Islamic current — a vahhabism — has begun in the end of 1980th years. [1 one of Dagestan vahabitians was Bagauddin Kebegov, established(installed) during the First Chechen war close contacts to Arabian mercenary Khattabom and the Chechen field commanders. [1] after Dzhokhara Dudaev's destruction and the termination(ending) of the First Chechen war supporters of a vahhabism began to win promptly positions in the Chechen Republic that was promoted by a policy(politics) of president ЧРИ Zelimkhana Yandarbiev. [1]

In 1997-1998 in the Chechen Republic has received a political asylum some tens (on other data — some hundreds) the Dagestan Islamites. The part from them was at war on the party(side) of separatists during the First Chechen war, others participated in Dagestan салафитском a underground, for what in the Dagestan were in search. From them Багауддин Кебедов, at material support of the Chechen field commanders, has created and has armed independent fighting formations. It(he) has declared(announced) intention to transform Dagestan in the independent Islamic state and has begun preparation of the armed struggle against the "proRussian" management(manual) of republic. [1] it has generated a certain similarity of the government in exile, having named its(his) Islamic Dagestan. At participation Кебедова and its(his) supporters in April, 1998 in Terrible constituent congress of the organization « the Congress of people of Ichkeria and Dagestan » (КНИД) which head became Shamil Basayev took place. [1] Idea of creation of this organization was conformable to idea of many Chechen field commanders — « to clearing of Muslim Caucasus of the Russian imperial yoke ». [1] Under aegis КНИД the armed formations, including « the Islamic international peace-making brigade » about which ordered Хаттаб have been created. [1] КНИД repeatedly acted with threats to address of « the proRussian management(manual) » Dagestan, accusing it(him) in prosecution of local moslems, declaring about « absence of legitimate authority » in republic and т. Item [1]

Per 1999 insurgents Кебедова have started to get fine groups into Dagestan and to create in remote mountain settlements military bases and warehouses of the weapon. In June-August, 1999 there were the first стокновения between проникшими to Dagestan insurgents and the Dagestan militia as a result of which was lost and some militiamen have been wounded. Authorities of Dagestan have called federal armies to lead large-scale military operation against Islamites.

Кебедов persuaded the Chechen field commanders to help(assist) the Dagestan moslems in « clearing of the sacred Dagestan ground of occupation incorrect ». Thus it(he) approved(confirmed), referring to the relatives and supporters in Dagestan, that in case of input of groups of Islamites to Dagestan the overwhelming majority of the population of Dagestan will support(maintain) them and will lift general antiRussian revolt. КНИД, headed by Shamilem Basayev and Хаттабом, has agreed to render military assistance Кебедову, and also has called for it(this) other field commanders (all has gathered about 40 commanders of different levels, including Арби Бараева, Рамзана Ахмадова, Абдул-Малика Межидова and others).

Decision КНИД to render military support to groups Kebedova (which by then already incorporated a little сот well armed fighters) was influenced with the conflict taken place in 1998-1999 in a management(manual) of the Chechen Republic between supporters of a rate of Aslan Maskhadov ("moderated"("moderate")) and "radicals" (oppositional Шурой led by Shamilem Basayev), and also unwillingness to deny assistance to coreligionists, many of which were at war on the party(side) of the Chechen separatists in the First Chechen war.

Gang overlord killed in Dagestan

An overlord of armed gangs, Ismail Yangizbiev, was killed in the Khasavyurt district of Dagestan in a special operation, Itar-Tass learnt from acting press service chief of the Dagestan Interior Ministry Mark Tolchinsky. “Yangizbiev had been on the Federal Wanted List for several years for committing grave crimes, including assassinations of police officers and terror acts.”

According to the republican Interior Ministry, a special operation on destruction of gunmen started last night near the villages of Pokrovskoye and Kondauraul. According to available information, the gang ringleader and supposedly two of his underlings were driving a car on the road between the two villages.

When the car was stopped for checking documents, three armed people jumped out of the car, opening fire on police officers. Then, they tried to escape to a nearby forest. Yangizbiev was killed in a firing engagement, while two other gunmen managed to flee.

A combing operation is now in progress near the village of Kondauraul in the forest. The operation involves interior troops, apart from Dagestan police officers. According to preliminary data, there are no losses among policemen and interior troops.

Russia Can't Agree on Missiles

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin failed to overcome sharp differences over a U.S. missile defense system, closing their seven-year relationship Sunday still far apart on an issue that has separated them from the beginning.

"Our fundamental attitude toward the American plan has not changed," Putin said at a news conference with Bush at his vacation house at this Black Sea resort. "We got a lot of way to go," Bush said. Despite the impasse, the two leaders agreed that Moscow and Washington would work together closely in the future on missile defense and other difficult issues.

Bush also conferred with Putin's hand-picked successor, Dmitry Medvedev, but did not claim gaining any insight into his soul, as he had with Putin upon their first encounter. He pronounced Putin's protege "a straightforward fellow" and said he was eager to work with him.

Putin was asked whether he — or Medvedev, the president-elect — would be in charge of Russia's foreign policy after May 7, when Putin steps down as president and is expected to be named prime minister.

Putin said Medvedev would be in charge, and would represent Russia at the Group of Eight meeting of industrial democracies in July in Tokyo. "Mr. Medvedev has been one of the co-authors of Russia's foreign policy," Putin said. "He's completely on top of things."

National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, when asked later whether he thought Putin actually was going to cede authority on Russian foreign policy to Medvedev, said, "My guess is that these two men who have worked very closely together for now almost two decades will have a very collaborative relationship. That seems to be a good thing, not a bad thing."

Hadley, who spoke with reporters aboard Air Force One on the way home to Washington, also said he didn't see any prospect of a breakthrough on missile defense before Bush leaves office next January. "They can leave that to their prospective successors," he said. Later on the trip back, Hadley said, "We've got as much of an agreement as you can expect to get from these two leaders at this point in time."

At their 28th and presumably final meeting as heads of state, Bush and Putin sought to emphasize their good personal relations, praising each other extensively. But they also both acknowledged remaining strong disagreements, principally missile defense and NATO's eastward expansion.

Russia remains adamantly opposed to the expansion of the alliance into its backyard, an enlargement that Bush has actively championed over Putin's vocal objections.

The Sochi meeting came just days after NATO leaders agreed at a summit in Romania to invite Albania and Croatia to join the alliance. However, the alliance rebuffed U.S. attempts to begin the process of inviting Ukraine and Georgia, both former Soviet republics, to join, although their eventual admission seems likely.

Putin called the U.S. missile plan — which envisions basing tracking radar sites in the Czech Republic and interceptors in Poland — the hardest of US-Russian differences to reconcile. "This is not about language. This is not about diplomatic phrasing or wording. This is about the substance of the issue," he said.

Bush reiterated his insistence that the plan — designed to intercept and destroy approaching ballistic missiles at high altitudes — should not be viewed as a threat to Russia. In a clear reference to Iran, he said the system would help protect Europe from "regimes that could try to hold us hostage."

"I view this as defensive, not offense," Bush said. "And, obviously, we've got a lot of work to convince the experts this defense system is not aimed at Russia."

He blamed opposition to the plan to lingering Cold War fears.

The two leaders did issue a joint statement on missile defense as part of a "strategic framework" to guide future relations between Washington and Moscow.

The statement outlined timeworn U.S. and Russian positions but also held out the prospect for future cooperation, perhaps on a joint system. That, said Putin, represents "certain progress."

"If we manage to achieve this kind of level of cooperation on a global missile defense system, this will be the best kind of result for all our preceding efforts," he said.

Bush bristled at a journalist's question that suggested the two leaders were merely "kicking the can down the road" on the vexing issue.

"You can cynically say that it is kicking the can down the road. I don't appreciate that, because this is an important part of my belief that it is necessary to protect ourselves," Bush said.

The two sides also agreed to "develop a legally binding arrangement following expiration" in December 2009 of the strategic arms limitation treaty (START). Their joint declaration noted the "substantial reductions already carried out" under that pact, which they said was an important step in reducing the number of deployed nuclear warheads.

Bush was reminded of his June 2001 comment after his first meeting with the Russian leaders that he had looked into Putin's eyes, "was able to get a sense of his soul" and found him to be trustworthy. The remark startled even some of Bush's own aides at the time.

"I did find him to be trustworthy, and he was trustworthy," Bush said Sunday. "He looks you in the eye and tells you what's on his mind. He's been very truthful. And to me, that's the only way you can find common ground."

And did he feel the same way in his first meeting on Sunday with the next Russian president?

"I just met the man for 20 minutes," Bush said. Still, Bush said Medvedev "seemed like a very straightforward fellow. My first impressions are very favorable."

"You can write down: I was impressed and looking forward to working with him," he told reporters.

Bush met separately with Medvedev before his news conference with Putin and received a pledge from the incoming president to work to strengthen relations between the two countries.

Over the last eight years, Bush and Putin "did a lot to advance U.S.-Russian relations" and that relationship was "a key factor in international security," Medvedev said. "I would like to do my part to keep up that work," he added.

Bush told Medvedev, "I'm looking forward to getting to know you so we'll be able to work through common problems and find common opportunities."

A bond of sorts formed between Bush and Putin when Putin stood with the United States after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But the era of cooperation quickly began to unravel as Russia opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and as the Russian leader consolidated his power and took steps to roll back democratic advances.

On Sunday, Putin greeted Bush at the door of the guesthouse and escorted him downstairs to a wood-paneled room with tall windows facing the sea. They sat alongside each other in chairs before a fireplace with unlit logs. A crush of cameramen, photographers and reporters crowded the room.

The Russian president said they had started discussing security issues and other matters over dinner on Saturday and were approaching the talks "in a common working manner." Putin put in another plug for the Winter Olympic games that Sochi will host in 2014.

Their introductory remarks were mostly light-hearted. Bush joked about asked to join in a traditional folk dance during the dinner entertainment the previous evening. "I'm only happy that my press corps didn't see me try to dance the dance I was asked to do."

"We have been able to see you're a brilliant dancer," Putin replied good naturedly.

Two oil depot on fire in Dagestan

MAKHACHKALA, Russia, March 27 (Reuters) - Fire broke out at an oil depot in Russia's Caspian Sea region of Dagestan on Thursday, leaving a large part of its capital covered by thick smoke.

A female worker from the oil depot was taken to hospital with burns covering her entire body, Russian media said.

Residents reported hearing a powerful explosion before the fire engulfed parts of the oil depot near the Caspian Sea, but there was no information on the cause of the blast.

A freelance journalist working for Reuters saw thick plumes of black smoke covering almost half of Makhachkala.

Dagestan's Emergencies Minister Murtazali Gadzhiyev told Russia's Vesti-24 channel that firefighters were preparing to tackle the fire with foam to try to douse flames on a reservoir of some 10,000 tonnes of oil.

"We managed to open the taps ... and now this oil is being pumped out," Gadzhiyev said. "We are trying to keep the fire away from other reservoirs."

Dagestan and next-door Ingushetia, part of the volatile, multi-ethnic North Caucasus region, have become more unstable than neighbouring Chechnya, where Moscow has fought two wars against pro-independence rebels since 1994.

Skirmishes with federal troops, mine explosions and kidnappings have become commonplace in impoverished Dagestan, with the authorities blaming instability on Islamic rebels, including those flushed out of Chechnya by pro-Moscow troops. (Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)