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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yastrzhembsky Calls for Media Curbs

President Vladimir Putin's spokesman on Chechnya has called for a law banning the publication or broadcast of Chechen rebel statements in Russian media, suggesting too many such statements were creeping into print and the airwaves despite government pressure.

"This is the internal choice of an editor, a journalist, and we must admit that not everybody manages to make that internal choice properly," Sergei Yastrzhembsky said Friday in an interview with Interfax. "Therefore, the law must regulate this question."

Click here to read our special report on the Conflict in Chechnya.Since Moscow launched its second Chechen war in a decade in 1999, state-run media have avoided interviews with separatist leaders, but their statements have appeared in independent outlets. Those publications have prompted furious protests from Yastrzhembsky's office but no legal penalties so far. He said that in the absence of a law banning publication of rebel statements, the government had to protest each occurrence. "We must respond to every case," he said. "Only by doing so will we be able eventually to discourage the will to spread the views of bandits and their leaders, who also face criminal investigations."

He repeated the official stance ruling out a peace agreement with rebel leaders such as Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov. A peace deal signed Aug. 31, 1996, in Khasavyurt to end the first war, he said, "can well be characterized as treason, and this is exactly how the army views these documents."

  • Two people were killed in the latest attack on a pro-Moscow official in Chechnya, an official in Chechnya's Moscow-appointed administration said Saturday. Yusup Dzhabrailov, deputy mayor of the village of Germenchug in the Shali district, and a police officer guarding him were killed by unidentified assailants Friday night, the official said on condition of anonymity.

  • The Chechen separatist leadership said Saturday it met secretly in Geneva, Switzerland, last month with members of the State Duma, AFP reported. The Kremlin denied a meeting took place.

    Ilyas Akhmadov, who calls himself Chechnya's foreign minister, and Lyoma Usmanov, a Maskhadov representative in the United States, met the Russians on the sidelines of a conference in the Montreaux region, the report said.

    Organizers confirmed Russians and Chechens were present, but said they did not organize Russian-Chechen talks.