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Chechen villagers fight with police over demands for money

28 March 2017
Davydenko village (still from video)

A huge brawl broke out between residents of a village in western Chechnya’s Achkhoy-Martan District, and local police on 26 March. Three young people from the village of Davydenko were detained for ‘disobeying police’. A dispute over land registration on one of the village’s streets was the reason for the skirmish.

According to residents of Mir Street, local authorities asked every household on the street to pay ₽75,000 ($1,320) to register their houses. People agreed, but demanded receipts in return for the payments. The administration refused to provide them with any official documentation, instead sending in police to demanded that the villagers obey the administration and disperse a gathering of residents.

According to eyewitnesses, the police then attacked residents indiscriminately, including gathered men, women, and children, who were beaten to force them to disperse.

Many of those gathered had their mobile phones confiscated at gunpoint, to prevent them from recording the events.

One local resident named Zura told OC Media that the police were using obscene language in the presence of women and children.

‘Naturally, some of our men couldn’t bear it and entered into an argument with them. They were beaten and taken to the police station’, the woman said.

Later the same day, chairman of the Chechen Parliament, Magomed Daudov, arrived in the village to personally identify those who shot a short video from the dispute. Everyone present in the video was brought to a local school, where Daudov tried unsuccessfully to establish the identity of the person who recorded the video, using threats.

Inhabitants of Davydenko have published an open letter to Chechen Head Ramzan Kadyrov. They have appealed for him to personally intervene, as they believe that their problems are far from over. Below is a translation of the letter.

‘Ramzan Akhmatovich Kadyrov, a mass disorder occurred in the village of Davydenko in the Akhchoy-Martan District. People in police uniforms cruelly treated the inhabitants of this village. They beat not only men, but also women, threatened those who’d protest with death, they used uncultured words, confiscated the phones of everyone who was recording the incident, several people have been detained, one woman was taken to hospital, she was trampled and shot only for interceding.’

‘We fully believe that all of this is happening behind your back, because a man who established order and worries for his people would never allow this. People in police uniforms should protect their homeland and citizens, we couldn’t imagine that such a thing could happen. They have lost their honour and dignity, they dishonour not only themselves, but also police uniforms. These people are hypocrites, God has cursed such people, they need to be driven out not only from their jobs, but also from the territory of our republic.’

‘All of it happened on 26 March 2017, on Mir Street, all the people gathered there to protect both their plots of land and their fellow villagers. People paid for these plots, built their houses there, now they’re being asked, these people who hardly make a living, to pay ₽75,000, this is inhumanity, Ramzan Akhmatovich. We also want to add that all this happened under the orders of the prefect of this district. Ramzan Akhmatovich, we’re begging you to help us, we would like to live like we lived until now, we don’t need more.’

‘Ramzan Akhmatovich, we are sure that you will take all the necessary measures. We place our hopes only in God and you. Sincerely, the residents of Davydenko.’

‘Brothers and Sisters, for the sake of Allah, don’t ignore this message, send it to everyone, until it reaches Ramzan Akhmatovich.’