Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Russians Seize Newspaper Editor

A Chechen editor responsible for reviving an outlawed newspaper has been arrested for "stirring up racial hatred"
By Erik Batuev

Russian security forces have arrested the editor of the underground Chechen newspaper Ichkeria, described as "the official organ of the rebel government".


Vakha Dadulagov, 61, was arrested on May 10 at a checkpoint near Urus-Martan, apparently heading for the border into Ingushetia. Interior ministry police officers confiscated copies of the latest edition of Ichkeria, dated May 7, which he was carrying at the time.


Colonel Valery Konovalov, spokesman for Army Group West, said that Ichkeria (the Chechens' name for their homeland) was printed illegally in neighbouring Ingushetia and had "a violently anti-Russian editorial stance, calling the Chechen people to continue the fight against the federal army".


He described the editor as one of the leading Chechen ideologists adding, "Dadulagov is worth a thousand fighters. He will be charged with stirring up racial hatred."


The Ichkeria editor was taken from Urus-Martan to federal army headquarters in Khankala where he is currently being interrogated.


Dadulagov, who has been living in the settlement of Starie Atagy, was officially editor of Ichkeria from 1993 to 1998 when the paper was outlawed. Colonel Konovalov said he had received instructions from President Aslan Maskhadov to revive the newspaper earlier this month.


Erik Batuev is a regular contributor to IWPR