In Chechnya’s capital Grozny, renovation has begun to erase the architectural scars of war and build a new seat of power for Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, who has professed loyalty to Moscow. Having established a regime based on person allegiances and the ruthlessness of his personal paramilitary guard, Kadyrov has succeeded in increasing stability in the region, although the occurrence of human rights abuses remains high. For instance, President Kadyrov has embraced a program that forces frightened parents of rebels to appear on television and beg their sons to return home. Families of insurgents have been intimidated and their homes burned down in targeted arson attacks that have occurred with impunity in several districts or towns across Chechnya.
According to Human Rights Watch, in 31 separate rulings to date, the European Court of Human Rights has found Russia responsible for serious human rights violations in Chechnya, including torture, enforced disappearences, and extrajudicial executions. In mid-September, the court ruled that the Russian Army had indiscriminately shelled the village of Znamenskoye in 1999, killing at least five civilians.
Across the Caucuses, tensions are running high. In Ingushetia, Chechen-style raids, abductions, and disappearances have become commonplace as the Russian government attempts to eliminate a rebel presence there. In August 2008, a war erupted between Russian and Georgia over control of the disputed South Ossetia region in Georgia.