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Northern Caucasus and Southern Russia: November 2002

02-12-2002 Operational Update

ICRC employees’ abduction in Chechnya - Chechnya - Dagestan

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ICRC employees’ abduction in Chechnya 

th Two ICRC employees were abducted on the 13 of November when a humanitarian convoy returning from delivering food to the ICRC Grozny was stopped by masked armed men on the road to Ingushetia via the Garagorsk border crossing. After 5 days the hostages were released following intervention by the Chechen authorities. In the two weeks following the incident, the ICRC limited its operations to those considered as life saving, while undertaking discussions concerning security with the relevant authorites. As of December 9, the ICRC intends to fully resume its activities across the North Caucasus.

The ICRC again expresses its thanks to those authorities involved in the release of its staff, who were reunited with their families in good health. However, the ICRC remains concerned with the fate of two other humanitarian workers abducted earlier this year – Nina Davidovich and Arjan Erkel. The ICRC urges for their immediate release.


More than 500 people attended the performance of the comedy group “KVN” (popular student's theatre group) initiated and staged with the support of the ICRC on the 12th of November in the house of culture in Staropromislovsky district of Grozny. An amateur team of 10 young men performed a 2 hour performance, which presented a satirical view of everyday hard life in Chechnya and the ICRC and its mandate. In addition to comedy, popular local bands played for the university students on hand for the performance. Local television broadcast the KVN performance to the broader public. In conjunction with KVN, the ICRC is considering further such production in the future.


In November the ICRC undertakes the registration of Chechen IDPs in regions neighbouring the Chechen Republic. As part of the shift of its assistance activities into 2003, the ICRC indeed is planning to assist this population with non-food items, thereby complementing the work being done by other humanitarian organisations. Based on the IDPs lists provided by the communities, the ICRC will conduct house to house visits to collect the necessary information on the future beneficiaries’ profile and verify their physical presence in Dagestan.