In pairs the troops showed us how to disarm a gunman coming at you with a Kalashnikov - the demonstration was hardly impressive - they kept getting it wrong. In the end their frustrated commander took them aside and forced the soldiers to practice 20 times before reappearing with the new, improved show and allowing us to switch our camera back on.
Last Updated: Saturday, 15 October 2005, 11:05 GMT 12:05 UK E-mail this to a friend Printable version Simmering tensions in N Caucasus By Steve Rosenberg BBC News, Nalchik President Putin has warned there will be a severe response in the event of any future action like Thursday's raid by rebels on the southern Russian city of Nalchik. It lies in the North Caucasus republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, which has seen an increasing level of violence in recent months. Steve Rosenberg says attempts by the authorities to clamp down on radical Islamist groups have backfired. Russian forces hunt down those who carried out recent attacks in Nalchik I was nervous about travelling to Nalchik. Before our trip we had spoken to journalists who had visited Kabardino-Balkaria in the past. The picture they had painted was of a corrupt, neo-Stalinist regime which hated only one thing more than dissent - and that was the media. I had been told stories of reporters being trailed by the secret services; of video tapes disappearing from hotel rooms; and of official thugs beating up locals who dared to help foreign journalists get their story. To ensure that none of this happened while we were there, we decided to ask the Kremlin to help arrange our trip. At least that way, I thought, local officials in Kabardino-Balkaria might think twice before trying to cause us problems. Interrogated But the problems began as soon as we got off the plane in Nalchik. One of the men raised his eyebrows when he saw our video camera At baggage reclaim we were interrogated by plain clothes officers. Who were we? Why had we come here? Who were we going to meet? I flashed my foreign journalist accreditation card but the questions kept coming. Which hotel were we in? When were we going to leave? One of the men raised his eyebrows when he saw our video camera. "How did you manage to sneak that thing onto the plane?" he asked. They knew very well where we were staying. We had been assigned rooms in a government hotel. A local official met us outside the airport and drove us into the city centre. Tourist town Nalchik was once a resort town - gateway to Europe's highest peak, Elbrus, and to some of the Soviet Union's plushest ski resorts. Today the city is in decay. The rusting funicular suspended over the city a reminder of the days when tourists flooded here from across the USSR. But the conflict in Chechnya, just 50 miles east, had destroyed the local tourist industry. And the violence had already begun spilling over into Kabardino-Balkaria. Our official guide took us to see a block of flats - recently repaired. Earlier this year Islamic militants had barricaded themselves inside and there had been a ferocious gun battle with security forces. All the insurgents had been killed. There had been a similar incident in another part of town and the local authorities were clearly bracing themselves for further violence. Troops in training We were driven to a sports field on the edge of Nalchik to meet the Kabardino-Balkaria anti-terrorism squad. They were training to repel a rebel attack. What the authorities did not seem to realise then was that radical ideas cannot simply be shut down or locked away In pairs the troops showed us how to disarm a gunman coming at you with a Kalashnikov - the demonstration was hardly impressive - they kept getting it wrong. In the end their frustrated commander took them aside and forced the soldiers to practice 20 times before reappearing with the new, improved show and allowing us to switch our camera back on. But who were the Islamic militants the authorities so feared? To find out we drove into the mountains to Kendelen - a village which, like so many parts of Kabardino-Balkaria, is poverty stricken. Unemployment here is running at more than 90%. Radicalised This is where one of the gunmen killed in the apartment block shoot-out had come from. Russian forces fight rebels in Nalchik In pictures
Muslim Atayev was head of an Islamic group called Yarmuk - the same organisation which has been linked to Thursday's most recent attacks in Nalchik. It is based in Kabardino-Balkaria, but it has links to the Chechen rebels. Muslim's wife Sakinat and their baby daughter died with him in the gun battle. In Kendelen we spoke to Sakinat's father, Zelimkhan. Clutching a photograph of his daughter, he told me he could understand why people in Kabardino-Balkaria were attracted by radical religion. "It is poverty," Zelimkhan told me, "that pushes people into the hands of extremists." But there is another reason. On the edge of the village we met a young man called Elbrus. He claimed that thousands of young Muslims in Kabardino-Balkaria were being radicalised by the heavy-handedness of the police and the authorities. "If people's patience snaps", Elbrus warned, "there will be violence." Pressure We returned to Nalchik in time for Friday prayers. To try to curb the spread of radical religion, the local authorities had closed down six out of the city's seven mosques. But the policy was not working. We found a group of more than 100 Muslims praying on the street. Among them was a teacher called Zelim. He told me that he and his students had been detained recently by police for studying the Koran. "The police asked my students", Zelim said, "if I had taught them to make bombs or suicide belts. "They beat me, then they told me to stop preaching and to stop talking about my religion." Is it just me, or the Russians suck at pretty much everything they do? For example, they went into Chechnia only to fuck things up in the whole region.
Oh, and I call them resistance fighters instead of insurgents, and I call the Russian forces the real insurgents ;)
even mother russia has its terrorists problems all the more reason to form a world alliance to help remove these terrorists
Serious business brigade
4th September 2004
GreatGrizzlyeven mother russia has its terrorists problems all the more reason to form a world alliance to help remove these terrorists
Unless you turn all countries into police states with a gestapo style agencies its not going to work.
thats why it needs to be done very carefully ;)
if all the cultures merge into one super culture, what will the terrorists excuse be for terrorising?
7th November 2003
*On Topic* I read some sort of thing a couple of days ago.. Can't remember where or what.. Only that it was in Russia. But by god, you have to be stupid to be a terrorist, they always L O S E ! I can't believe they like losing :p
The 13th RaptorUnless you turn all countries into police states with a gestapo style agencies its not going to work.[/QUOTE]
When you mentioned the gestapo I instandly thought of Allo Allo :lol: [QUOTE=Herr Flick]Helga you may kiss me now
Paladin: The Holy Knight
16th March 2005
If the world became one supernation, then we would be in serious shit. Things like this never work. To easy to be corrupted, I mean who's going to stop the president of Earth? Jamaca? lol
Dead rather than Red!
25th April 2004
The Russians are doing the only real thing they can do against the insurgents.
End of story.
They are doing a great job, and sets a good example.
Russian inserted forces are profersional in what they do, just like their comrade in arms, the Alpha Squad which did a good job at the Moscow theatre (the high casuality rate wasnt their fault).
Nothing wrong with Russia defending itself against terrorists.
Dead rather than Red!
25th April 2004
IMO, some media sources try to profilate Russia as the bad guy, when they realy are just defending themself.
The whole conflict in Chechnya is a bit disputed, though.
Chemix2If the world became one supernation, then we would be in serious shit. Things like this never work. To easy to be corrupted, I mean who's going to stop the president of Earth? Jamaca? lol
you dont have one super nation, you have an alliance of all nations isnt that what "world peace" is?