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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

08/14/1997

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Released Hostage Berates Chechnya, Russia

A politician held captive in Chechnya for eight months and released a week ago for a ransom of $50,000 slammed both Chechnya and Russia on Wednesday for failing to stop the kidnapping epidemic in the North Caucasus. Shmidt Dzoblayev, secretary of a small political organization called the Assembly of National-Democratic and Patriotic Forces in Russia, said he was taken hostage by one of many rogue armed gangs operating in Chechnya. ""The situation is out of control,"" Dzoblayev said at a press conference in Moscow. The region was rife with armed groups, who are moving across borders at will and fully armed, he said. The bandits come not just from Chechnya but also from other regions in the North Caucasus, including Dzoblayev's native Ossetia. ""It is so serious that I am going to report to the president that the relevant people in the FSB [Russia's Federal Security Service] should be arrested for sitting and doing nothing,"" Dzoblayev said.

Council Seeks Information Curbs

Russia's powerful Security Council has issued a draft white paper on what it calls ""security of information in Russia,"" prompting a debate on the rights of individuals and the state to control access to information. The policy document, which will not have legal force, was drafted by the Security Council, an advisory board chaired by the president that includes all the ""power ministers"" as well as other key figures of the government, but other government agencies had some input. ""The time has come to fix in such a conceptual document the vital interests of the Russian state and determine the threats to its information security,"" said Sergei Sidorov, a council spokesman. The purpose of the document, he said, is to develop an ""ideological framework in which legislative activity should proceed so that citizens' constitutional rights are not violated and the interests of the state and society are observed.

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