Russia: June 23, 2005


Government officials in Chechnya are trying to reduce the number of special police units, and gain some control over their activities. Over the last few years, many special police units were created to go after the rebels. The special units were often built around a particularly effective leader, and are staffed with Chechens. But many of these special squads have become private armies, operating by their own rules, and often for private gain. The rebel groups often play by the same rules, which is bad news for civilians caught in the middle. This includes ethnic minorities in Chechnya, like the Avars, who have been attacked by Chechen police squads. The Avars are one of the few ethnic minorities in Chechnya, which is unique in the Caucasus, where most provinces and countries have many minorities. 


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