Russia 111117 Basic Political Developments

Russian party suggests suspending visa-free regime with Tajikistan

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Russian party suggests suspending visa-free regime with Tajikistan
02:37 17/11/2011
MOSCOW, November 17 (RIA Novosti)

The center-left A Just Russia party has proposed to freeze visa-free regime with Tajikistan a week after a court in the Central Asian state sentenced a Russian pilot to a lengthy prison term.

The party said visa-free regime should be frozen until Tajik authorities take effective measures to curb drug trafficking from Afghanistan and movement of suspected terrorists to Russia via the country's territory.

According to A Just Russia statement, current anti-drug and anti-terrorism efforts by Tajik authorities have failed to produce tangible results so far.

"This situation has been made worse by free entry and exit of Tajik nationals to the Russian territory, envisaged by an agreement of bilateral visa-free regime for residents of the two states," the party statement reads.

The draft document has been submitted to the international affairs and CIS affairs committees of the Russian parliament's lower chamber, the State Duma.

The announcement came shortly before the planned adoption of a statement by the State Duma condemning a sentence to Russian pilot Vladimir Sadovnichy, who was sent to prison last week for eight and a half years by Tajik court last week for smuggling and border violations.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has already called the sentence "extremely severe and politically motivated." Tajik officials denied the case was politically motivated.

A relevant State Duma committee has recommended for approval on Thursday a statement in which the lower chamber of the Russian parliament "expresses full solidarity with Russian authorities, political forces and the society in connection with the Tajik court verdict."

"The verdict was met with perplexity and disappointment in Russia, it causes numerous questions and an extremely negative reaction," the draft statement reads.

Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of the Russian parliament's upper house, the Federation Council, did not rule out sanctions against Tajikistan.

She said she handed an official letter by the Federation Council to her Tajik counterpart Makhmadsaid Ubaidulloyev, calling on him to study the case.

Shortly after the verdict was handed down, Russia's chief sanitary official, Gennady Onishchenko, called for labor migrants from Tajikistan to be temporarily barred from Russia for public health reasons.

The Russian migration service said last week that 134 Tajiks had been detained and another 100 would be sent home for violating Russian immigration laws. A migrant movement leader said, however, at least 300 migrant workers from the Central Asian state had been deported.

President Dmitry Medvedev said the expulsion of the Tajik migrant workers had nothing to do with the pilot case. He also said that illegal migrants would be deported regularly from now on.

November 17, 2011 12:18

Russian Prosecutor General's Office declares growth of terror, extremist crime rate
MOSCOW. Nov 17 (Interfax) - The terror crime rate grew by over 14% in Russia in 2011, Deputy Prosecutor General Viktor Grin said at a Moscow conference on the suppression of extremism and terrorism on Thursday.

"The number of terror crimes grew by over 14% in Russia this year. Despite the solutions to such crimes and the preventive measures, terrorists manage to succeed; there were explosions in the Moscow metro in 2010 and in the Domodedovo Airport in 2011," he said.

Grin expressed concern about the situation in some North Caucasian republics. "The terror threat in this country is taking shape under the influence of external and domestic factors. The biggest threat comes from North Caucasian militants, who are particularly active in Dagestan, Ingushetia and Kabardino-Balkaria," he said.

The extremist crime rate doubled within the past five years, the deputy prosecutor general said. "There are two main types of extremist crimes in Russia. First, religious separatist organizations up to illegal armed units are formed under the influence of foreign preachers of pseudo-Islamic ideas. They mostly have military-political goals rather than ideological. Second, there is a growth of Russian nationalist activity as a response to the first trend. Such activity frequently turns from aggressive up to terror acts against foreign and Russian citizens," Grin said.

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November 17, 2011 10:49

Three Hizb ut-Tahrir extremists detained in Bashkortostan

UFA. Nov 17 (Interfax) - A unit of the Hizb ut-Tahrir extremist organization, which has been outlawed in Russia, was shut down in a police operation carried out in the city of Davlekanovo in the Republic of Bashkortostan, a local Interior Ministry spokesman told Interfax on Thursday.

Three local residents, ages 24 to 31, were detained on suspicion of setting up this Hizb-ut-Tahrir unit and actively participating in it.

Some of them were previously tried on charges of establishing an extremist organization, the spokesman said.

Investigators have established that the unit operated in Davlekanovo from 2010 to November 2011. Its members were involved in distributing extremist literature and materials promoting Hizb ut-Tahrir ideas.

"A large number of pamphlets, as well as audio and video materials promoting Hizb-ut-Tahrir ideas were confiscated from the apartments of the detained persons during authorized searches," he said.

A criminal case has been opened based on charges of maintaining an extremist organization's operations.

A local court is currently considering pre-trial restrictions for the suspects.

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