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John Oliver Clashes With Chechen Leader Over a Cat

He poked fun at Kadyrov's search for lost feline

(Newser) - It might be wise for John Oliver to steer clear of Chechnya for a while: The Last Week Tonight host ridiculed Ramzan Kadyrov's search for his lost cat on Sunday, and the mockery did not go unnoticed by the Chechen strongman, the Guardian reports. In the segment, Oliver poked... More »

Russian ISIS Victim Led 'a Double Life'

Magomed Khasiev traveled to Syria to find friend: source

(Newser) - In the minutes before his execution by an ISIS militant in Syria, Chechen Magomed Khasiev confessed to being a spy recruited by Russian intelligence agency Federal Security Service—something Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov quickly denied. But many people who knew the 23-year-old say he "seemed to live a double... More »

5 Guilty in Russian Journo's 2006 Murder

Anna Politkovskaya's work angered the Kremlin

(Newser) - Five men have been found guilty in the 2006 slaying of 48-year-old Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya , whose investigative reporting criticized President Vladimir Putin, the war in Chechnya, and Chechen leadership. Three of the men are brothers from Chechnya, one of whom has been found guilty of the shooting itself, which... More »

'Russia's Osama' Dead, Militants Say

Chechen rebel Doku Umarov replaced by Dagestani

(Newser) - The Chechen rebel leader labeled "Russia's Osama" has been declared dead by authorities several times but this time looks like the real deal: A website used as a mouthpiece for Islamic militant groups in southern Russia says Doku Umarov, 49, has joined those "who fulfilled their contract... More »

Tsarnaev Friend's Father Suspects FBI Torture

Abdulbaki Todashev headed to US

(Newser) - The father of Ibragim Todashev , Tamerlan Tsarnaev's friend killed during FBI questioning this week, says he thinks authorities "tortured my son and that he suffered a painful death," he tells Reuters . Abdulbaki Todashev, who works for the mayor of Grozny, Chechnya's main city, plans to visit... More »

Tsarnaev Dad Says He's 'Really Sick' he's postponing his US trip

(Newser) - The father of the two Boston bombing suspects said today that he has postponed a trip to the United States because of poor health. "I am really sick," said Anzor Tsarnaev, 46, adding that his blood pressure had spiked to dangerous levels. Tsarnaev said Thursday that he planned... More »

Why Russia Warned the FBI About Tsarnaev

... and why the FBI didn't investigate aggressively

(Newser) - The Russian tip to the FBI about Tamerlan Tsarnaev two years before the Boston bombings was a result of his frequent visits to a mosque in Dagestan known for producing extremists, Time reports. Tsarnaev came to the attention of Russian security forces after becoming a regular at the Salafist mosque... More »

As Police Chased Him, Suspect Called Mom

Mother says she pushed eldest son to be a more devout, and strict, Muslim

(Newser) - In the years before the Boston Marathon bombing, the Tsarnaev family was ripped apart as eldest son Tamerlan and his mother, Zubeidat, embraced a stricter version of Islam, the Wall Street Journal finds. Zubeidat says she pushed Tamerlan to embrace Islam during a period of personal turmoil that included a... More »

Chechens in US Afraid of Boston Blowback

Previously anonymous, now embarrassed and afraid

(Newser) - Chechnya's leader may deny any link between the Boston Marathon bombing suspects' ethnicity and their violent actions, but for Chechens living in the US, the connection is harder to ignore. In the wake of the attack, many are now feeling ashamed and frightened, the New York Times reports. "... More »

Czech Republic: We're Not Chechnya

Czech ambassador posts geography lesson for social media pundits

(Newser) - A quick geography lesson: The Chechen Republic is a subject of Russia in southeastern Europe; the Czech Republic is a nation about 2,000 miles away in central Europe. The Czech ambassador to the US has issued a statement explaining the difference after a surprising number of social media users... More »

Did Brothers' Chechen Origins Play a Role?

At this point, any connection is hazy at best

(Newser) - Reports that the two brothers accused in the Boston Marathon bombings are Chechens —a heavily Muslim ethnic group that hails from the North Caucasus region—have wire services scrambling to provide context to Chechnya's long and violent fight for independence from Russia. One primer in wide circulation today... More »

Chechnya Claims to Have Found Giant Dinosaur Eggs

Scientists elsewhere skeptical

(Newser) - Scientists in Chechnya are claiming to have stumbled upon the biggest dinosaur eggs ever found—but their colleagues elsewhere are more than a little skeptical. A geologist at the volatile Russian republic's state university says that after a highway crew blasted through a hillside, geologists found some 40 huge... More »

In Chechnya, 107% Turnout —for Putin

Obvious ballot-stuffing spotted in region

(Newser) - Vladimir Putin may have engaged in a brutal crackdown on Chechnya over the last, say, decade-plus, but it appears to have done wonders for his popularity, as evidenced by his extraordinary results there in Sunday's elections. A little too extraordinary, reports the New York Times: Putin garnered 1,482... More »

Swank Not the First to Party With Bad Guys

Actress sorry, claim she wasn't aware it was a birthday celebration

(Newser) - Well, that didn’t take long: Hilary Swank has officially apologized for celebrating the birthday of Chechnya's leader , a charming fellow accused of kidnappings, torture, and killings. But she can take comfort in the fact that she's not exactly a trailblazer when it comes to stars rubbing shoulders... More »

Celebs Slammed for Partying With Chechen Prez

Human Rights Watch wants them to give money back

(Newser) - Note to celebrities: We know swanky multimillion-dollar parties are probably fun and you get paid a lot to attend them, but it's probably best to skip those held in honor of political leaders accused of kidnappings, torture, and extrajudicial killings. Hilary Swank and Jean Claude Van Damme did not... More »

Chechen Warlord Claims Moscow Airport Bomb

Doku Umarov threatens more attacks after blast that killed 36

(Newser) - A Chechen militant leader has claimed responsibility for the bombing that killed 36 people at Russia's biggest airport last month. Warlord Doku Umarov appears in a 16-minute video posted online in which he says the suicide bombing at Moscow's Domodedovo airport was carried out on his orders and warns of... More »

Chechnya Requires Marrying Couples Be HIV-Negative

Imams demand certificate before approving marriages

(Newser) - Chechnya's Muslim authorities have handed down a new edict that requires all marrying couples to prove they are HIV-negative, Reuters reports. The order is not exactly a "law"—in fact, it violates Russian law, say human rights advocates—but given the wide influence of the nation's Islamic clerics,... More »

Gunmen Storm Chechen Parliament

6 killed in Grozny attack

(Newser) - At least six people were killed when insurgents stormed the parliament complex in the capital of Russia's troubled Chechnya region today, security forces say. Three attackers, including one suicide bomber, are believed to be among the dead, AP reports. Two police officers and a parliamentary official were also killed before... More »

Radical Islam a Surging Threat in Russia

Tech-savvy dissident ignited movement

(Newser) - In just two years, Alexander Tikhomirov, 27, rose from obscurity to become the face of a fast-growing Islamist insurgency in Russia. Tikhomirov was gunned down last month in the Caucasus, but he lives on as a "digital legend," the Washington Post reports, revered as a martyr by Russia's... More »

Rebel's Widow Likely One of Moscow Bombers

Dzhennet Abdurakhmanova's husband was killed late last year

(Newser) - Russian police believe that one of the suicide bombers who attacked Moscow Monday and left 39 dead is the very definition of a “black widow,” having lost her Caucasian Islamist militant husband to Russian security forces at the end of 2009. Dzhennet Abdurakhmanova, from Dagestan, was just 17.... More »

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