1 May 2003


Kremlin presses Estonia to shut down Chechen website

Incident details


(CPJ/IFEX) - The following is a CPJ press release:

RUSSIA: Kremlin presses Estonia to shut down Chechen Web site

New York, May 1, 2003-Russian government officials have been pressing Estonian authorities to shut down the pro-independence Chechen Web site KavkazCenter (www.kavkazcenter.com) for more than a week, according to local and international press reports.

Sergei Yastrezhembsky, an advisor to President Vladimir Putin, warned last week that, "Countries which aspire to partnership and mutually advantageous relations with the Russian Federation should bear in mind Russia's categorical objection to the hosting of information resources on behalf of Chechen separatists," the ITAR-TASS news agency reported.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has also called on Estonia several times during the last week to shutter the site, but the request was rejected. Estonian prime minister Juhan Parts told reporters on Tuesday that, "The web site is not in the government's server, therefore the government won't interfere."

Russia's campaign against KavkazCenter was initiated after the site posted a dramatic, two-minute video clip on April 20 that showed a devastating rebel ambush on a bus in Chechnya allegedly carrying special police.

The video, which was broadcast on some Russian television stations, severely embarrassed the government, whose upbeat reports about Chechnya had failed to mention the April 15 ambush. The video provided fresh evidence that a Kremlin-orchestrated peace process in Chechnya has failed to curtail violence and normalize life in the region.


Committee to Protect Journalists
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