Report: Rebel Leader Who Threatened To Attack Sochi Winter Olympics Dead
Chechnya's "Kremlin-backed strongman" said that "a rebel leader who has threatened to attack the Sochi Olympics is dead," according to the AP. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said Thursday on his Instagram that Doku Umarov, a Chechen warlord who urged his fighters to strike the Sochi Olympics, "has died." Kadyrov said that the information about Umarov's death "came from intercepted communications between other rebel leaders who were discussing his replacement" (AP, 1/16).
EXPANDING SECURITY: In N.Y., Lukas I. Alpert reported Russia's parliament "took up a bill Wednesday that would expand the powers of the country's security forces in the run-up to the Winter Olympics, allowing them to search people and cars without a warrant." Irina Yarovaya, head of the State Duma's security committee from the governing United Russia party, said, "We need strong measures to punish and defend against those who would commit terrorist acts." She "sponsored the legislation, which is widely expected to pass." The draft bill would grant the Federal Security Service, or FSB, "permission to search people and vehicles they suspect of being involved in terrorism -- powers that Russia's regular police forces already have -- and would allow the government to monitor money transfers more closely to stop terrorist financing." It would "also create stiffer penalties for those crimes." The bill could be enacted before the Olympics begin on Feb. 7, "if parliament moves quickly" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/16).