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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Human Rights Violations in Chechnya 'Monstrous'

Chechnya continues to be plagued by abductions, torture, killings and other crimes, a think tank said in a report published Monday, calling the scale of human rights violations there "monstrous."

Despite the Kremlin's efforts to portray the region as returning to normal, "nothing has really been normalized," said Tatyana Lokshina, head of Demos, a Moscow-based human rights think tank.

Some 3,000 to 5,000 people have been abducted since the start of the region's second post-Soviet war in 1999, mostly by federal forces or their local allies, Demos said in the 13-page report. Most abductions took place in Chechnya, but some in neighboring regions, such as Ingushetia.

The statistics were obtained by analyzing data provided by several human rights groups operating in Chechnya, Lokshina said. She contrasted the reported abuses with a rebuilding campaign that is transforming Chechnya's main cities.

"Yes, we can and we should be happy for the new, freshly painted buildings and the clean streets and the fountains built in Grozny," Lokshina said. "But despite all that the human rights situation there remains monstrous."

Meanwhile, Dmitry Kozak, President Vladimir Putin's envoy to the Southern Federal District, which includes Chechnya, acknowledged Monday that the region remains volatile and put much of the blame on corruption.

"The main factor destabilizing the situation in southern Russia today and restraining economic growth is corruption," Kozak said at a meeting with scholars in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don.

"Nobody is concerned any longer about terrorist activity and crime levels; everybody is afraid of extortion on the part of authorities, their prejudice, their bias," Kozak said.