Shamil Basayev

Shamil Salmanovich Basayev (Chechen: Шамиль Басаев, Russian: Шамиль Салманович Басаев; 14 January 1965 – 10 July 2006) was a Chechen Islamist Guerilla Fighter and a leader of the Chechen movement.

Starting as a field commander in the Transcaucasus, Basayev led guerrilla campaigns against Russian forces for years, as well as launching mass-hostage takings of civilians, with his goal being the withdrawal of Russian soldiers from Chechnya.[2] Beginning in 2003, Basayev used the nom de guerre and title of "Emir Abdallah Shamil Abu-Idris". In 1997–1998 he also served as vice-Prime minister of Chechnya in Maskhadov's government.

Basayev was considered by some to be the undisputed leader of the radical wing of the Chechen insurgency. He ordered the Beslan school massacre[3] and was responsible for numerous guerrilla attacks on security forces in and around Chechnya [4][5][6] and the 2002 Moscow theater hostage crisis. ABC News described him as "one of the most-wanted terrorists in the world."[7]

Basayev was killed by an explosion on 10 July 2006. Controversy still surrounds who is responsible for his death, with Russian authorities claiming he was killed in an assassination by the FSB and the Chechen separatists claiming he died in an accidental explosion.


Shamil Salmanovich Basayev
Shamil Basaev2
Shamil Basayev during the Budyonnovsk raid, June 19, 1995.
Nickname(s)Abdallah Shamil Abu-Idris
Born14 January 1965
Dyshne-Vedeno, Chechen–Ingush ASSR, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Died10 July 2006 (aged 41)
Ekazhevo, Ingushetia, Russian Federation
Allegiance Chechen Republic of Ichkeria
Commands heldIslamic Peacekeeping Brigade
Caucasian Front
Riyadus-Salihiin
Supreme Military Majlis-ul Shura of the United Mujahideen Forces of the Caucasus[1]
Congress of the Peoples of Ichkeria and Dagestan[1]
Battles/warsGeorgian-Abkhazian conflict
Battle of Gagra
Nagorno-Karabakh War
First Chechen War
Battle of Grozny (1994–95)
Battle of Grozny (August 1996)
Dagestan War
Second Chechen War
Battle of Grozny (1999–2000)
Battle of Vedeno
2004 Nazran raid

Early life

Shamil Basayev was born in the village of Dyshne-Vedeno, near Vedeno, in south-eastern Chechnya, in 1965[8] to Chechen parents from the Benoy teip. According to Gennady Troshev, he has some distant Russian ancestry.[9] He was named after Imam Shamil, the third imam of Dagestan and Chechnya and the last leader of anti-Russian Avar-Chechen forces in the Caucasian War.

His family is said to have had a long history of involvement in Chechen resistance to Russian rule. His grandfather fought for the abortive attempt to create a breakaway North Caucasian Emirate after the Russian Revolution.[10] The Basayevs, along with most of the rest of the Chechen population, had been deported to Kazakhstan during World War II on the orders of the NKVD leader Lavrenti Beria as a means of cutting off support to the 1940–44 Chechnya insurgency. They were only allowed to return when the deportation order was lifted by Nikita Khrushchev in 1957.

Basayev, an avid football player, graduated from school in Dyshne-Vedeno in 1982, aged 17, and spent the next two years in the Soviet military serving as a firefighter (Chechens were usually kept away from the combat units). For the next four years, he worked at the Aksaiisky state farm in the Volgograd region of southern Russia before moving to Moscow.

He reportedly attempted to enroll in the law school of the Moscow State University but failed, and instead entered the Moscow Engineering Institute of Land Management in 1987. However, he was expelled for poor grades in 1988. He subsequently worked as a computer salesman in Moscow, in partnership with a local Chechen businessman, Supyan Taramov. Ironically, the two men ended up on opposite sides in the Chechen wars, during which Taramov sponsored a pro-Russian Chechen militia (Sobaka magazine's dossier on Basayev reported that Taramov apparently equipped or "outfitted" this group of pro-Russian Chechens; they were also known as "Shamil Hunters"). In later interviews, Taramov would claim he hired Basayev as a favor for a family friend, and that the latter was an ineffectual worker.

Early militant activities

When some hardline members of Soviet government attempted to stage a coup d'état in August 1991, Basayev allegedly joined supporters of Russian President Boris Yeltsin on the barricades around the Russian White House in central Moscow, armed with hand grenades.[11]

A few months later, in November 1991, the Chechen nationalist leader Dzhokhar Dudayev unilaterally declared independence from the newly formed Russian Federation. In response, Yeltsin announced a state of emergency and dispatched troops to the border of Chechnya. It was then that Basayev began his long career as an insurgent—seeking to draw international attention to the crisis. Basayev, Lom-Ali Chachayev, and the group's leader, Said-Ali Satuyev, a former airline pilot suffering from schizophrenia, hijacked an Aeroflot Tu-154 plane, en route from Mineralnye Vody in Russia to Ankara on 9 November 1991, and threatened to blow up the aircraft unless the state of emergency was lifted. The hijacking was resolved peacefully in Turkey, with the plane and passengers being allowed to return safely and the hijackers given safe passage back to Chechnya.

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

According to some sources, Basayev moved to Azerbaijan in 1992, where he aided Azerbaijani forces in their unsuccessful war against Armenian fighters in the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. He was said to have led a battalion-strength Chechen contingent. According to Azeri Colonel Azer Rustamov, in 1992, "hundreds of Chechen volunteers rendered us invaluable help in these battles led by Shamil Basayev and Salman Raduyev". Basayev was said to be one of the last fighters to leave Shusha (see Capture of Shusha).

Abkhaz–Georgian conflict

Later in 1992, Basayev traveled to Abkhazia, a breakaway region of Georgia, to assist the local separatist movement against the Georgian government's attempts to regain control of the region—a conflict. Basayev became the commander-in-chief of the forces of the Confederation of Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus (a volunteer unit of pan-Caucasian nationalists, people from the Caucasus). Their involvement was crucial in the Abkhazian war and in October 1993 the Georgian government suffered a decisive military defeat. It was rumored that the volunteers were trained and supplied by some part of the Russian army's GRU military intelligence service. According to The Independent journalist Patrick Cockburn, "cooperation between Mr Basayev and the Russian army is not so surprising as it sounds. In 1992–93 he is widely believed to have received assistance from the GRU when he and his brother Shirvani fought in Abkhazia, a breakaway part of Georgia." No specific evidence was given.[12]

The Russian government newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta reported that Basayev was an agent of GRU, and another publication by journalist Boris Kagarlitsky said that "It is maintained, for example, that Shamil Basayev and his brother Shirvani are long-standing GRU agents, and that all their activities were agreed, not with the radical Islamists, but with the generals sitting in the military intelligence offices. All the details of the attack by Basayev's detachments were supposedly worked out in the summer of 1999 in a villa in the south of France with the participation of Basayev and the Head of the Presidential administration, Aleksandr Voloshin. Furthermore, it is alleged that the explosive materials used were not supplied from secret bases in Chechnya but from GRU stockpiles near Moscow."[13][14] The Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta stated that the Basayev brothers "both recruited as agents by the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian General Staff (GRU) in 1991–92." The Russian newspaper Versiya published the GRU file on Basayev and his brother, which revealed that "both Chechen terrorists were named as regular agents of the military intelligence organization."[15]

Russian special forces joined with the Chechens under Basayev to attack Georgia. A GRU agent, Anton Surikov, had extensive connections with Basayev.[16] Russian military intelligence had ordered Basayev to support the Abkhaz.[17]

Basayev received direct military training from the GRU since the Abkhaz were backed by Russia. Other Chechens also were trained by the GRU in warfare, many of these Chechens who fought for the Russians in Abkhazia against Georgia had fought for Azerbaijan against Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh war.[18]

The Russians allowed Basayev to travel between Russia and Sukhumi to battle the Georgians.[19]

War crimes

According to Paul J. Murphy, "Russian military intelligence turned a blind eye to the 1991 terrorist arrest warrant against Basayev to train him and his detachment in Abkhazia, and the Russians even helped direct Basayev's combat operations" and "long after the war, Basayev praised the professionalism and courage of his Russian trainers in Abkhazia — praise that led some of his enemies in Grozny, even President Maskhadov, to later call him a "longtime GRU agent".[20][21][22]

In 1993, Basayev lead the KNK corps, this unit under Basayev carried out war crimes in Georgia, decapitating Georgian civilians and "some victors even played football with their captives' severed heads." and that "Basayev himself beheaded dozens of Georgian captives, most of them civilians, in the Sukhumi sports stadium".[23]

Former US counterterrorism official Paul J. Murphy wrote that "One hundred Georgian soldiers were herded into the central stadium in Gagra where they were beheaded and their heads used as footballs in a soccer match." Rumour had it that Basayev drank the blood of Georgian troops, and "invented a new form of execution--the "Chechen tongue," in which the victim's tongue is pulled out through a slit throat".[20]

After Abkhazia and links with Pakistan's ISI

Few authoritative accounts of Basayev's life after Abkhazia exist. Some sources claim that after Abkhazia, Basayev moved to Chechnya and became a successful entrepreneur in the Chechen mafia, organizing train-car theft and drug dealing networks. According to Basayev himself, millions of dollars were donated to him by unnamed foreign businessmen from the Chechen diaspora.[24]

Having already been noticed in Afghanistan, where he fought as a young man, and then in Abkhazia in Georgia, Basayev will further attract the attention of Pakistan's premier intelligence agency, the ISI : under Pakistani command, he was one of the 1,500-strong Afghan mujahideen contingent which fought the Armenians during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and in April 1994, the ISI would eventually arrange "a refresher course for Basayev and some of his NCOs in guerrilla warfare and Islamic learning in the Amir Munawid Camp in Khost province in Afghanistan", with Basayev also having further specialized training in Pakistan proper, in cities like Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Muridke, near Lahore. They were also given Stingers, anti-tank rockets and advanced explosives, which would be later used to shot down Russian combat airplanes and dozens of helicopters. Ultimately, hundreds of Chechens would be trained in Khost, under the ISI as well as the Pakistan-based Islamist outfit Harkat-ul-Ansar, and one of its commanders, Abu Abdullah Jaffa, once in Pakistan's Northern Light Infantry, would work closely with Basayev over the years, as for instance he's supposed to be the one who planned the invasion of Dagestan.[25]

Basayev's role in the First Chechen War

1994–1995

The First Chechen War began when Russian forces invaded Chechnya on 11 December 1994, to depose the government of Dzhokhar Dudayev. With the outbreak of war, Dudayev made Basayev one of the front-line commanders. Basayev took an active role in the resistance, successfully commanding his "Abkhaz Battalion." The unit inflicted major losses on Russian forces in the Battle of Grozny, Chechnya's capital, which lasted from December 1994 to February 1995. Basayev's men were among the last fighters to abandon the city.

1995

After capturing Grozny, the momentum changed in favor of the Russian forces, and by April Chechen forces had been pushed into the mountains with most of their equipment destroyed. Basayev's "Abkhaz Battalion" suffered many casualties, particularly during battles around Vedeno in May and their ranks sank to as low as 200 men, critically low on supplies.

At this time, Basayev also suffered a personal tragedy. On 3 June 1995, during a Russian air raid on Basayev's hometown of Dyshne-Vedeno, two bombs landed on the home of Basayev's uncle, and six children, four women, and the uncle were killed. Basayev's wife and child were among the dead, as was his sister Zinaida. Twelve members of Basayev's family were injured in the attack.[26] One of his brothers was also killed in fighting near Vedeno.

In an attempt to force a stop to the Russian advance, some Chechen forces resorted to a series of terrorist attacks directed against civilian targets outside the area that they claimed. Basayev led the most infamous such attack, the Budyonnovsk hospital hostage crisis on 14 June 1995, less than two weeks after he lost his family in the air raids. Basayev's large band seized the Budyonnovsk hospital in southern Russia and the 1,600 people inside for a period of several days. At least 129 civilians died and 415 were wounded during the crisis as the Russian special forces repeatedly attempted to free the hostages by force. Although Basayev failed in his principal demand for the removal of Russian forces from Chechnya, he did successfully negotiate a stop to the Russian advance and an initiation of peace talks with the Russian government, saving the Chechen resistance by giving them time to regroup and recover. Basayev and his fighters then returned to Chechnya under cover of the human shields.

On 23 November, Basayev announced on the Russian NTV television channel, that four cases of radioactive material had been hidden around Moscow. Russian emergency teams roamed the city with Geiger counters, and located several canisters of Caesium, which had been stolen from the Budennovsk hospital by the Chechen militants. The incident has been called "the most important sub-state use of radiological material."[27]

1996

By 1996 Basayev had been promoted to the rank of General and Commander of the Chechen Armed Forces. In July 1996 he was implicated in the death of the rogue Chechen warlord Ruslan Labazanov.

In August 1996, he led a successful operation to retake the Chechen capital Grozny, defeating the Russian garrison of the city.[28] Yeltsin's government finally moved for peace, bringing in former Soviet–Afghan War General Aleksandr Lebed as a negotiator. A peace agreement was concluded between the Chechens and Russians, under which the Chechens acquired de facto independence from Russia.

Interwar period

Basayev stepped down from his military position in December 1996 to run for president in Chechnya's second (and the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria's first and only ever internationally monitored) presidential elections. Basayev came in second place to Aslan Maskhadov, obtaining 23.5% of the votes. Allegedly Basayev found the defeat very painful.

In early 1997 he was appointed vice-Prime Minister of Chechnya by Maskhadov. In January 1998 he became the acting head of the Chechen government for a six-month term, after which he resigned. Basayev's appointment was symbolic because it took place on the eve of the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of his renowned namesake. Basayev subsequently reduced the government's administrative departments and abolished several ministries. However, the collection of taxes and the Chechen National Bank's reserves shrunk, and theft of petroleum products increased seriously.

Maskhadov worked with Basayev until 1998, when Basayev established a network of military officers, who soon became rival warlords. As Chechnya collapsed into chaos, Basayev's reputation began to plummet as he and others were accused of corruption and involvement in kidnapping; his alliance with Arab jihadi Ibn al-Khattab also alienated many of the Chechens. By early 1998 Basayev emerged as the main political opponent of the Chechen president, who in his opinion was "pushing the republic back to the Russian Federation." On 31 March 1998, Basayev called for the termination of talks with Russia; on 7 July 1998, he sent a letter of resignation from the post of the Chechen Prime Minister.

During these years he wrote Book of a Mujahiddeen, an Islamic guerilla manual.

Invasion of Dagestan

In December 1997, after Movladi Udugov's Islamic Nation party had called for Chechnya to annex territories in neighbouring Dagestan, Basayev promised to "liberate" neighbouring Dagestan from its status as "a Russian colony."[29]

According to Alexander Litvinenko's book Death of a Dissident, Kremlin-critic Boris Berezovsky said that he had a conversation with the Chechen Islamist leader Movladi Udugov in 1999, six months before the beginning of fighting in Dagestan.[30] A transcript of the phone conversation between Berezovsky and Udugov was leaked to one of Moscow tabloids on 10 September 1999.[31] Udugov proposed to start the Dagestan war to provoke the Russian response, topple the Chechen president Aslan Maskhadov and establish new Islamic republic of Basayev-Udugov that would be friendly to Russia. Berezovsky asserted that he refused the offer, but "Udugov and Basayev conspired with Stepashin and Putin to provoke a war to topple Maskhadov ... but the agreement was for the Russian army to stop at the Terek River. However, Putin double-crossed the Chechens and started an all-out war."[30] However, Litvinenko and Berezovsky provided little evidence for their claims. Researcher Henry Plater-Zyberk has described Litvinenko as "a one man disinformation bureau" who was hungry for attention and provided little, if any, evidence for his claims.[32]

It was also alleged that Alexander Voloshin, a key figure in the Yeltsin administration, paid Basayev to stage the Dagestan incursion,[33] and that Basayev was working for the Russian GRU at the time.[34][35][36] According to the BBC, conspiracy theories are part of the staple diet of Moscow politics.[37]

In August 1999, Basayev and Khattab led a 1,400-strong army of Islamist fighters in unsuccessful attempt to aid Dagestani Wahhabists to take over the neighboring Republic of Dagestan and establish a new Chechen-Dagestan Islamic republic. By the end of the month, Russian forces had managed to repel the invasion.

In early September, a series of bombings of Russian apartment blocks took place, killing 293 people. The attacks were blamed on terrorists with Chechen links. Basayev, Ibn Al-Khattab and Achemez Gochiyaev were named by Russia as key suspects. Gochiyaev's group was trained at Chechen terrorist bases in the towns of Serzhen-Yurt and Urus-Martan, where the explosives were prepared. The group's "technical instructors" were two Arab field commanders, Abu Umar and Abu Djafar, and Al-Khattab was the bombings' brainchild.[38] Two members of Gochiyayev's group that carried out the attacks, Adam Dekkushev and Yusuf Crymshamhalov, have been sentenced to life term each in a special-regime colony.[39] According to FSB, Basayev and Al-Khattab masterminded the attacks.[40] Al-Khattab has been killed, but Gochiyaev remains a fugitive.

Although Basayev and Khattab denied responsibility, the Russian government blamed the Chechen government for allowing Basayev to use Chechnya as a base. Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov denied any involvement in the attacks, and offered a crackdown on the renegade warlords, which Russia refused. Commenting on the attacks, Shamil Basayev said: "The latest blast in Moscow is not our work, but the work of the Dagestanis. Russia has been openly terrorizing Dagestan, it encircled three villages in the centre of Dagestan, did not allow women and children to leave."[37] Al-Khattab, who was reportedly close with Basayev, said the attacks were a response to what the Russians had done in Karamakhi and Chabanmakhi, two Dagestani villages where followers of the Wahhabi sect were living until the Russian army bombed them out.[41] A group called the Liberation army of Dagestan claimed responsibility for the apartment bombings.[41][42][43][44]

The new Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, famously promised a harsh crackdown on "Chechen terrorists": "We'll get them anywhere. If we find terrorists in the shithouse, then we'll waste them in the shithouse. That's all there is to it." By the end of September the Second Chechen War was underway.

Second Chechen War

Michael Radu of the Foreign Policy Research Institute said "Basayev managed to radically change the world's perception of the Chechen cause, from that of a small nation resisting victimization by Russian imperialism into another outpost of the global jihad. In the process, he also significantly modified the very nature of Islam in Chechnya and Northern Caucasus, from a traditional mix of syncretism and Sufism into one strongly influenced by Wahhabism and Salafism—especially among the youth. With Wahhabism came expansionism."[45]

1999

Basayev stayed in Grozny for the duration of the siege of the city. His threats of "kamikaze" attacks in Russia were widely dismissed as a bluff.

2000

During the Chechens retreat from Grozny in January 2000 Basayev lost a foot after stepping on a land mine while leading his men through a minefield. The operation to amputate his foot and part of his leg was videotaped by Adam Tepsurgayev and later televised by Russia's NTV network and Reuters, showing his foot being removed by Khassan Baiev[46] using a local anaesthetic while Basayev watched impassively.

Despite this injury, Basayev eluded Russian capture together with other Chechens by hiding in forests and mountains. He welcomed assistance from foreign fighters from Afghanistan and other Islamic countries, encouraging them to join the Chechen cause. He also ordered the execution of nine Russian OMON prisoners on 4 April 2000; the men were killed because the Russians had refused to swap them for Yuri Budanov, an arrested army officer accused of raping and killing an 18-year-old Chechen girl.[47]

2001

According to the US State Department, Basayev trained in Al-Qaida's terrorist camps in Afghanistan in 2001. The US also alleges that Basayev and Khattab sent Chechens to serve in Al-Qaeda's "055" brigade, fighting alongside the Taliban against the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan.[48]

On 2 June 2001, it was reported General Gennady Troshev, then-commander-in-chief of Russian forces in Chechnya, had offered a bounty of one million dollars to anyone who would bring him the head of Basayev.

In August, Basayev commanded a large-scale raid on the Vedensky District. A deputy commander of Russian forces in Chechnya claimed Basayev was wounded in a firefight.[49]

2002

In January 2002, Basayev's father, Salman, was reputedly killed by Russian forces.[50] This has not been independently confirmed. Shamil's younger brother, Shirvani, was reported killed by the Russians in 2000, but is, according to numerous accounts, actually living in exile in Turkey where he is involved in coordination of the activities of the diaspora.

In May, the Russian side declared Basayev "dead".[51] The Russian military had also made several claims about Basayev's alleged death in the past.

Around 2 November 2002, Basayev claimed on a terrorist website that he was responsible for the Moscow theater hostage crisis (although the siege was led by Movsar Barayev) in which 50 Chechens held about 800 people hostage; Russian forces later stormed the building using gas, killing the Chechens and more than 100 hostages. Basayev also tendered his resignation from all posts in Maskhadov's government apart from the reconnaissance and sabotage battalion. He defended the operation but asked Maskhadov for forgiveness for not informing him of it. The answer to who was behind the hostage taking, however, is not so clear – some dissidents claim, including Alexander Litvinenko, was that the FSB was behind the Moscow theater incident.

On 27 December 2002, Chechen suicide bombers rammed vehicles into the republic's government headquarters in Grozny, bringing down the four-story building and killing about 80 people. Basayev claimed responsibility, published the video of the attack, and said he personally triggered the bombs by remote control.[52]

2003

On 12 May 2003, suicide bombers rammed a truck loaded with explosives into a Russian government compound in Znamenskoye, northern Chechnya, killing 59 people. Two days later a woman got within six feet of Akhmad Kadyrov, the head of the Moscow-appointed Chechen administration, and blew herself up killing herself and 14 people; Kadyrov was unhurt. Basayev claimed responsibility for both attacks; Maskhadov denounced them.

From June until August 2003 Basayev lived in the town of Baksan in nearby Kabardino-Balkaria. Eventually, a skirmish took place between the terrorists and policemen from Baksan, who came to check what turned out to be Basayev's safehouse. Basayev escaped, killing a local police official.

On 8 August 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell designated Shamil Basayev a threat to U.S. security and citizens.

In late 2003, Basayev claimed responsibility for terrorist bombings in both Moscow and Yessentuki in Stavropol Krai. He said both attacks were carried out by the group operating under his command.[53]

2004
Beslan school no 1 victim photos
Victims of the Beslan school attack

On 9 May 2004, the pro-Russian Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov was killed in Grozny in a bomb attack for which Basayev later claimed responsibility. That explosion killed at least six people and wounded nearly 60, including the top Russian military commander in Chechnya, who lost his leg; Basayev called it a "small but important victory".

Basayev was accused of commanding the June 21 raid on Nazran in the Russian republic of Ingushetia. In fact, he was shown in a video made of the raid, in which he led a large group of militants. Around 90 people died in this attack, mostly local servicemen and officials of the Russian security forces including the republic's acting Interior Minister. The Ministry building was burned down.

In September 2004 Basayev claimed responsibility for the Beslan school siege in which over 350 people, most of them children, were killed and hundreds more injured.[3] The Russian government put up a bounty of 300m rubles ($10m) for information leading to his capture.[54] Basayev himself did not participate in the seizure of the school, but claimed to have organized and financed the attack, boasting that the whole operation cost only 8,000 euros. On 17 September 2004, Basayev issued a statement claiming responsibility for the school siege, saying his Riyadus-Salihiin "Martyr Battalion" had carried out this and other attacks. In his message, Basayev described the Beslan massacre as a "terrible tragedy" and blamed it on Russian President Vladimir Putin.[55][56]

Basayev also claimed responsibility for the attacks against civilians during the previous week, in which a metro station in Moscow was bombed (killing 10 people), and two airliners were blown up by suicide bombers (killing 89 people).[3] Basayev dubbed these attacks "Operation Boomerang". He also said that during the Beslan crisis he offered Putin "independence in exchange for security".[57]

2005

On 3 February 2005, UK's Channel 4 announced that it would air Basayev's interview. In response, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the broadcast could aid terrorists in achieving their goals and demanded that the Government of the United Kingdom call off the broadcast. The British Foreign Office replied that it could not intervene in the affairs of a private TV channel and the interview was aired as scheduled.[58] The same day, Russian media reported that Shamil Basayev had been killed;[59] it was the sixth such report about Basayev's demise since 1999.[59]

In May 2005, Basayev reportedly claimed responsibility for the power outage in Moscow.[60] The BBC reported that the claim for responsibility was made on a web site connected to Basayev, but conflicted with official reports that sabotage was not involved.

Even though Basayev had a $10 million bounty on his head, he gave an interview to Russian journalist Andrei Babitsky in which he described himself as "a bad guy, a bandit, a terrorist ... but what would you call them?", referring to his enemies. Basayev stated each Russian had to feel war's impact before the Chechen war would stop. Basayev asked "Officially, over 40,000 of our children have been killed and tens of thousands mutilated. Is anyone saying anything about that? ... responsibility is with the whole Russian nation, which through its silent approval gives a 'yes'."[61] This interview was broadcast on U.S. television network ABC's Nightline program, to the protest of the Russian government; on 2 August 2005, Moscow banned journalists of the ABC network from working in Russia.[62]

On 23 August 2005, Basayev rejoined the Chechen separatist government, taking the post of first deputy chairman.[63] Later this year Basayev claimed responsibility for a raid on Nalchik, the capital of the Russian republic of Kabardino-Balkaria. The raid occurred on 13 October 2005; Basayev said that he and his "main units" were only in the city for two hours and then left. There were reports that he had died during the raid, but this was contradicted when the separatist website, Kavkaz Center, posted a letter from him.

2006

In March 2006, Prime Minister of Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, claimed that upwards of 3,000 police officers were hunting for Basayev in the southern mountains.[64] On 15 June 2006, Basayev repeated his claim of responsibility for the bombing that killed Akhmad Kadyrov, saying he had paid $50,000 to those who carried out the assassination. He also said he had put a $25,000 bounty on the head of Ramzan, mocking the young Kadyrov in offering the smaller bounty.

On 27 June 2006, Shamil Basayev was appointed by Dokka Umarov as the Vice President of Ichkeria. On 10 July 2006, in his last statement at 1.06 pm Moscow time, Kavkaz Center quoted him as thanking the Mujahideen Shura Council for executing the three captured Russian diplomats in Iraq and calling it "a worthy answer to the murder by Russian terrorists from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation of the Chechen diplomat, ex-president of CRI, Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev".

Death

In July 2006, Basayev was killed near the border of North Ossetia in the village of Ekazhevo, Ingushetia, a republic bordering Chechnya.[65]

According to the Interior Ministry and Prosecutor of Ingushetia, a group of three cars and two KAMAZ trucks (one pulling the other by a rope) gathered at the spot of an unfinished estate on the outskirts of the village in the early morning hours of 10 July.[66] According to a handful of witnesses, men in black uniforms came in and out from the wooded area adjacent to the estate that runs to the border of North Ossetia; the men were carrying boxes, shifting them from one vehicle to another, when a massive explosion resulted.[66]

It is believed that the partially completed estate, which contained empty new buildings, was being used as an insurgent reception and distribution point for large quantities of weapons purchased from abroad.[66] It is also believed that the most "anticipated" part of the incoming shipment was located in the KAMAZ trucks, but because one of them broke down the weaponry had to quickly be transferred into the cars.[66]

Basayev is assumed to have been the main recipient of the arms, and thus in charge of distributing them. With the back tailgate of one of the trucks open, Basayev allegedly asked that a mine be placed on the ground for inspection, at which point it exploded.[66] A South Ossetian forensic specialist who examined Basayev's remains stated that, "The man…died of mine-blast injuries. The explosive device was quite powerful…and the victim was in close proximity to the epicenter. Most likely, the bomb lay on the ground, and the victim was bending over it."[66]

According to explosives experts, Basayev was most likely a victim of careless handling of the mine, but it is also not out of the question that the FSB could have been involved – as they would claim in the aftermath of the detonation.[66] This could have happened if the shipment of weapons was seized and the smugglers detained; in forcing the captured smugglers to cooperate, an ordinary-looking anti-personnel mine rigged with an extra-sensitive fuse or radio-controlled detonator could have been inserted amongst the cargo.[66] The device almost certainly would have caused suspicion when discovered in the shipment, which might explain why Basayev stopped to inspect it, at that point triggering the explosion.[66] It was also not ruled out that an unknown FSB operative set off the blast by remote control, but in the event that this was indeed the case, it almost assuredly would not have been a "targeted" killing, as identifying Basayev in the dark – even with the aid of night-vision goggles – would have been exceedingly difficult.[66] Thus, experts have concluded that if it was a remote-controlled blast, it was intended to eliminate the weapons shipment and whoever the recipients were, rather than specifically Basayev.[66]

Basayev's upper-torso was recovered at the epicenter of the blast, while smaller pieces of his remains were scattered over the distance of a mile.[66] Included among the smaller pieces was Basayev's prosthetic lower right leg, which would lead FSB Director Nikolai Patrushev to confidently assert that Basayev was dead even before positive identification.[66]

Russian officials stated that the explosion was the result of a special targeted killing operation. According to the official version of Basayev's death, the FSB, following him with a drone, spotted his car approach a truck laden with explosives that the FSB had prepared, and by remote control triggered a detonator that the FSB had hidden in the explosives.[65][67][68]

Interfax, quoting Ingush Deputy Prime Minister Bashir Aushev, reported that the explosion was a result of a truck bomb detonated next to the convoy by Russian agents.[69] According to a Russian edition of Newsweek,[70] Basayev's death was a result of an FSB operation, whose primary aim was to prevent a planned terrorist attack in the days before the G8 summit in St Petersburg. The Russian ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, said: "He is a notorious terrorist, and we have very clearly and publicly announced what is going to happen to notorious terrorists who commit heinous crimes of the type Mr. Basayev has been involved in."[71] In February 2014, a Turkish court convicted a Chechen national Ruslan Papaskiri aka Temur Makhauri with the killings of several Chechen separatists on Turkish soil. The pro-Chechen separatist Imkander organization held a press conference claiming that Turkish investigators believed that Makhauri had prepared the explosives laden truck that killed Basayev.[72]

On 29 December 2006, forensic experts positively identified Basayev's remains.[73] On 6 October 2007, Basayev was promoted to the rank of Generalissimo post mortem by Chechen terrorist leader Doku Umarov.[74]

Personal life

Basayev had four wives, a Chechen woman who was killed in the 1990s, an Abkhaz woman he met while fighting as a mercenary leader against Georgia, and a Cossack he was said to have married on Valentine's Day, 2005.[75] A fourth secret wife, Elina Ersenoyeva, was apparently forced to marry Basayev, and subsequently hid the identity of her husband from her friends and family.[75] Following revelations about the marriage, Elina was abducted, in November 2006 four months after death of Basayev allegedly by the Kadyrovtsy ("pro-Kremlin" Chechen forces). She has never been found.[75][76]

Book of a Mujahideen

Basayev wrote a book after the First Chechen War, Book of a Mujahideen. According to the introduction, in March 2003 Basayev obtained a copy of The Manual of the Warrior of Light by Paulo Coelho. He wanted to draw benefits to the Mujahideen from this book and decided to "rewrite most of it, remove some excesses and strengthen all of it with verses (ayats), hadiths and stories from the lives of the disciples." Some sections are specifically about ambush tactics, etc.

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2004 Nazran raid

The Nazran raid was a large-scale raid carried out in the Republic of Ingushetia, Russia, on the night of June 21–22, 2004, by a large number of mostly Chechen and Ingush militants led by the Chechen commander Shamil Basayev. Basayev's main goal, besides capturing a large cache of weapons, was a show of strength.

Abdul-Halim Sadulayev

Abdul-Halim Salamovich Sadulayev ( (listen) AHB-dool kə-LEEM sy-duu-LY-ev; Chechen: Сайд-Iелийн Абусаламин кІант Iабдул-Хьалим Sadulin Abusalamin-Kant Abdulhalim, Russian: Абдул-Халим Саламович Сайдулаев Abdul-Khalim Salamovich Saydulayev; 2 June 1966 – 17 June 2006) was the fourth President of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. Sadulayev served little more than a full year as President before being killed in a gun battle with FSB and pro-Russian Chechen forces.

Sadulayev was the first Chechen rebel leader effectively attempting to unify the Islamic rebel forces outside Chechnya, as he had won pledges of loyalty not only from Chechen separatists, but also from Islamist groups seeking the overthrow of the Kremlin's authority across the North Caucasus; this formation became known as the Caucasian Front. He was also credited with persuading radical warlord Shamil Basayev not to carry out any major terrorist attacks since Beslan.

Akhmed Avdorkhanov

Akhmed Avdorkhanov (1973 – 19 September 2005) was a former head of security for Ichkerian President Aslan Maskhadov.Officially the Russian state suggested he was killed by Shamil Basayev in a dispute over money or due to ideology, as he opposed the militant Islam of Basayev and his followers, while the Chechen insurgents claim he was killed by Russian forces.

President Vladimir Putin called Avdorkhanov's death "a turning point", since according to him Avdorkhanov was the last nationalist leader, and the remaining leaders of the Chechen resistance are radical Islamists who will not receive as much support among the local people.His younger brother Zaurbek served as a field commander in the Caucasus Emirate, and most notably was one of the leaders of the August 2010 raid on Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov's home village of Tsentoroy. Zaurbek was killed in what is believed to be an accidental explosion in Galashki, Ingushetia on 31 July 2012.

Ali Taziev

Ali Musaevich Taziev (Russian: Али Мусаевич Тазиев), also known as Akhmed Yevloev (Ingush: Йовлой Ахьмад, Russian: Ахмед Евлоев), Magomet Yevloyev, and Emir Magas, is the former leader of both the Ingushetia-based Ingush Jamaat as well as the military wing of the Caucasus Emirate. On 30 September 2006, Taziev was appointed to the post of commander of the Caucasian Front by the orders of Dokka Umarov. In July 2007, one year after Shamil Basayev’s death, Taziev became his official successor as the most high-ranking military commander in the rebel forces. He is believed to be personally responsible for the death of several local high-ranking security officials.

Taziev is an ethnic Ingush who was raised in Grozny, Chechnya. He participated in the First Chechen War. After the conclusion of the First Chechen War he returned to Ingushetia and entered the police. There he was promoted to the Ingush Interior Ministry Police forces where he attained the rank of Captain. At the start of the Second Chechen War he returned to Chechnya and became a sub-commander under Shamil Basayev before Basayev assigned him to use his family and clan ties to begin raising armed groups in Ingushetia. In this position, he was among the commanders of the 2004 Nazran raid in which simultaneous nationwide raids on police stations killed over 70 security personnel in the capital Nazran; according to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), during the attack Taziev personally killed the acting Ingush Interior Minister Abubakar Kostoyev.

Taziev was listed by Russia as one of the dead terrorists of the 2004 Beslan hostage crisis, the person who led the negotiations on behalf of the hostage takers under the name Ali Taziyev and whose body was identified after he was killed during the storming of the school. Those reports were proved incorrect two years later, when Taziev was declared wanted by Russia for the assassination of the Ingush deputy Interior Minister Dzhabrail Kostoyev in May 2006. Although the negotiator of the siege known as Ali had similar features as Taziev, his facial profile was much different. According to FSB information, Ali Taziyev was an Ingush Interior Ministry policeman who disappeared without a trace in 1998 and was declared legally dead in 2000, but instead might have joined forces of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (ChRI).

After the death of Ilyas Gorchkhanov during the 2005 Nalchik raid, Taziev was the next in line to assume leadership of the Ingush Jamaat. In 2006, he was incorrectly reported as being killed by the FSB operation that allegedly killed Shamil Basayev. A month after Basayev's death Taziev was appointed military leader of the Caucasian Front by the President of Ichkeria Dokka Umarov; at the same time Yevloyev still held leadership of the Ingush Jamaat. On July 19, 2007, Taziev was named the Military Amir of the ChRI Armed Forces by Umarov; his deputies were announced to be first deputy Muhannad, second deputy Tarkhan Gaziev and third deputy Aslambek Vadalov. On October 31, 2007, Umarov proclaimed the Caucasus Emirate and it is assumed he is now the Military Amir of the Caucasus Emirate, of which the Caucasian Front is still its military branch.

Ingush authorities say Ali Taziev has been more effective in recruiting new rebels than any other previous commander in Ingushetia. Russian sources have also repeatedly blamed him for some of the most deadly attacks on security forces in Ingushetia and neighbouring regions, including the raids of Nazran and Nalchik, in which he worked closely with Shamil Basayev, Dokka Umarov, Ilyas Gorchkhanov and Anzor Astemirov. In addition, he has been assigned responsibility for the June 2009 bombing attack against Ingush President Yunus-Bek Yevkourov which badly wounded the president. It is widely believed that Ali Taziev's tactical successes on the battlefield are fruits of his time spent as an Ingush Interior Ministry Policeman, from 1996 to 1998 before he disappeared with his partner, and the wife of a local politician they were tasked with protecting. The woman was released in Grozny, Chechnya in February 2000 unharmed, Taziev's partner turned up dead and Taziev joined the North Caucasus Insurgency.

Andrei Babitsky

Andrei Babitsky (Russian: Андрей Маратович Бабицкий, born September 26, 1964 in Moscow) is a Russian journalist and war reporter, who worked for Radio Liberty from 1989 to 2014, covering the 1991 August Coup, Civil War in Tajikistan and, most notably, both the First and Second Chechen Wars from behind Chechen lines. Babitsky is most famous for his kidnapping by the Russian forces in January–February 2000 during the Second Chechen War and his 2005 video interview with Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev.

His reporting was somewhat controversial in Russia, as he was often accused of siding with the Chechen rebels. Babitsky once said:

One must say that the Chechens cut throats of soldiers not because they are sadists inclined to treat them with brutality, but in order to make the war more convex, visible, vivid, to reach the public and to explain that a war is actually going on, scary and cruel.

However, according to Mario Corti, head of Radio Liberty's Russian service, Babitsky has not shied away from reporting Chechen atrocities and was the first Russian journalist to put the blame for the death of the American disaster relief specialist Fred Cuny on a Chechen warlord.At the outset of the Russian assault on the Chechen capital Grozny in January 2000 the Russian government announced that there were no civilians left in the city. Babitsky then managed to get into the besieged Grozny and reported under heavy bombing that this was not the case and that civilians did remain in the city. After his last phone contact on January 15, he disappeared. The Russian officials at first denied that they knew anything about his whereabouts. However, it was leaked to Alexander Yevtushenko, friend of Babitsky and war reporter for Komsomolskaya Pravda, that on January 16 Babitsky had been detained while trying to leave Grozny and since then had been held in the Chernokozovo prison camp by the Russian forces. On January 28, the authorities admitted to having him in custody since January 23. As Babitsky's family, friends and colleagues voiced fears for his life and the scandal unfolded, after a personal inquiry by U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who was visiting Moscow, Russian Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov on February 2 pledged to bring Babitsky to Moscow and release him. However, instead of his release, on February 4 the Kremlin spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky announced that on February 3 Babitsky had been handed over to Chechen warlords in exchange for several Russian soldiers held captive by them. "From now on, all federal authorities bear no responsibility for the reporter's fate", Yastrzhembsky added. Chechen rebel authorities, including president Aslan Maskhadov, denied ever having been involved in any such swap. The situation was perceived as one of the first signs of the shrinking tolerance for a free press in Russia under Vladimir Putin, who became acting President of Russia on New Year's Eve. As author Masha Gessen put it, with the story of the prisoner swap, "...Russian troops had treated a journalist--a Russian journalist--as an enemy combatant."On March 10, 2000, the newspaper Kommersant published an interview with Putin, where he accused Babitsky of treason and collaboration with Chechen warlords and commented:

Here you say that he is a Russian citizen. Well, one has to obey the law of one's country if one counts on being treated according to the law.

On February 25 Babitsky was arrested in Makhachkala. He was tried for carrying a forged passport, which, he said, had been provided by those holding him, ended up fined in October 2000 but was granted amnesty immediately thereafter.On September 2, 2004, Babitsky was detained by Russian Special Services at Vnukovo airport whilst attempting to get to North Ossetia to report on the school hostage crisis.

On June 23, 2005, Babitsky managed to interview Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev. The interview was first broadcast on ABC on July 28 and incurred the wrath of Russian officials.Babitsky was living in Prague, Czech Republic where Radio Liberty headquarters were located when in 2014 he fell out with Radio Liberty over his advocating the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea. He voiced the opinion that it was Russia's "undeniable right to stand up for its (Crimea's) inhabitants" and in September of the same year he was dismissed from the radio. Speaking on the war in eastern Ukraine, Babitsky said that:

At that time I felt for the Chechens, because I thought that if these people want to live by their own traditions and move away from Russia then they should be able to. ... It’s the same here. I think Russia is playing a significant role here, but the reasons are not to be found in Russia, they are internal. This is a civil war, where the interests of two parts of Ukraine that consider themselves linked to two cultural traditions are clashing with each other.

Aslambek Abdulkhadzhiev

General Aslambek Abdulkhadzhiev (12 April 1962 – 26 August 2002) was a field commander during the First and Second Chechen Wars. He was a deputy of Shamil Basayev, and commissioner of Shalinsky and Vedensky Districts after being appointed by Dzhokhar Dudayev in 1994.

Abdulkhadzhiev took part in the Basayev led Budyonnovsk hospital hostage crisis in June 1995. Shamil's fighters seized the Budyonnovsk hospital and the 1,600 people inside for a period of several days. In total, 129 civilians died and 415 were wounded. They then successfully retreated to Chechnya under cover of hostages. The media coverage surrounding the events propelled Basayev into the international spotlight, and made him Chechnya's most famed national hero overnight.

In a Prism interview, Abdulkhadzhiev gave his opinion of the Budyonnovsk tragedy:

AA: Here I must say we do not plan anything like Budennovsk. The Budennovsk tragedy will never be repeated. Moreover, we did not make these plans except as a last resort. Why was the world was silent when Shali was bombed, when some 400 people were killed or wounded? In fact, the evil we did in Budennovsk was not even 30 percent of what they did in Shali. And what was world community's reaction when they wiped out Samashki and Serzhen-Yurt?

PRISM: You are saying Budennovsk will never be repeated. Then what will happen?

AA: I want peace. Budennovsk is the way for all small people to save themselves. Today it is possible to have all the might of a big state turned against this state. Therefore, this war is senseless and it must be stopped no matter how much certain politicians would wish it to continue.

Despite being wanted by Russian authorities, Abdulkhadzhiev continued to be an important force in southern Chechnya until he was killed on 26 August 2002 in Shali.

Battle of Gagra

The Battle of Gagra was fought between Georgian forces and the Abkhaz secessionists aided by the Confederation of Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus (CMPC) militants from 1 to 6 October 1992, during the War in Abkhazia. The allies, commanded by the Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, captured the town of Gagra from the undermanned Georgian forces (which were reportedly fewer in numbers but possessed more tanks and armored personnel carriers) in a surprise attack, leading to an outbreak of ethnic cleansing of local Georgian population. The battle proved to be one of the bloodiest in the war and is widely considered to be a turning point in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict. The action, in which Russian commanders were suspected to have aided to the attackers, also resulted in a significant deterioration of the Georgian-Russian relations.

Budyonnovsk hospital hostage crisis

The Budyonnovsk hospital hostage crisis took place from 14 June to 19 June 1995, when a group of 80 to 200 Chechen separatists led by Shamil Basayev attacked the southern Russian city of Budyonnovsk (pop. 60,000, often spelled Budennovsk), some 70 miles (110 km) north of the border with the de facto independent Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. The incident resulted in a ceasefire between Russia and Chechen separatists, and peace talks (which later failed) between Russia and the Chechens.

Caucasian Front (militant group)

The Caucasian Front (Russian: Кавказский фронт) also called Caucasus Front or the Caucasian Mujahadeen, was formally established in May 2005 as an Islamic structural unit of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria's armed forces by the decree of the separatist President of Chechnya Abdul-Halim Sadulayev during the Second Chechen War.

Galashki ambush

Galashki ambush took place of May 11, 2000, when the separatist militants from the group of Shamil Basayev, led by a Galashki native Ruslan Khuchbarov, attacked and destroyed a convoy of the Russian Interior Ministry paramilitary forces in the Republic of Ingushetia. The incident was the first major act of violence linked to the Second Chechen War in Ingushetia and the first major rebel raid outside the neighbouring Chechnya since war began in 1999.

According to the Russian sources, in the convoy there were 22 Internal Troops servicemen from Altai Krai, returning aboard two military trucks to Vladikavkaz, capital city of the Republic of North Ossetia–Alania, having completed a tour of duty in Ingushetia. At about 12 am, at a highway near the village of Galashki, a group of rebels located in the woods overlooking the road suddenly opened fire on them with grenade launchers and machine guns (some sources also mention mortar and sniper fire), disabling the first truck and then quickly obliterating the whole convoy. Following their attack, the rebels managed to escape the pursuit and vanished into the forest near the village of Bamut in Chechnya.According to the Chechen separatist website Kavkaz Center, three heavy trucks and two BTR armored vehicles were destroyed, while "not less than 40" Russian soldiers were killed by an unspecified unit of fighters from the Southwestern Front of the Chechen Armed Forces and a group of Caucasian volunteers.

Islamic International Peacekeeping Brigade

The Islamic International Peacekeeping Brigade (Russian: Исламская международная миротворческая бригада; abbreviated IIPB), also known as the Islamic International Brigade, the Islamic Peacekeeping Army, was the name of an international Islamist terrorist mujahideen organization, founded in 1998.

Kamel Rabat Bouralha

Kamel Rabat Bouralha, is an Algerian-born British citizen who has been accused by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) of being a key aide to Chechen rebel warlord Shamil Basayev in organizing the Beslan school hostage crisis.Russian investigators claim that Bouralha travelled from London to Chechnya in 2001. Former associates of the Scotland Yard in London confirmed that Bouralha had lived in London and had been a frequent visitor at Finsbury Park mosque in 2000. He was reportedly detained in September 2004 in Chechnya as he attempted to flee to Azerbaijan to treat a bullet wound in his chest.

Riyad-us Saliheen Brigade of Martyrs

Riyad-us Saliheen (Russian: Риядус-Салихийн, also transliterated as Riyadus-Salikhin, Riyad us-Saliheyn or Riyad us-Salihiin) was the name of a small "martyr" (shahid) force of Islamic suicide attackers. Its original leader (amir) was the Chechen separatist commander Shamil Basayev. In February and March 2003 the group was designated by the United States and subsequently by the United Nations as a terrorist organization. After several years of inactivity, Riyad-us Saliheen was reactivated by the Caucasus Emirate in 2009 under the command of Said Buryatsky; following his death, Aslan Byutukayev became its new leader.

Said Buryatsky

Said Buryatsky aka Buryatyali (February 10, 1982 – March 2, 2010) was an Islamist militant leader in the Russian North Caucasus. Buryatsky had been among the most-wanted men in Russia, and he was considered an ideologue leader of the Islamist rebels in Chechnya and southern Russia. He was known in the region as a Russian counterpart of Osama bin Laden. Buryatsky had been identified in YouTube videos, wearing camouflage while preaching radical Islam with an assault rifle.Buryatsky, whose birth name was Alexander Alexandrovitch Tikhomirov, was born February 10, 1982 in Ulan-Ude, the capital of Buryatia. His father was a Buryat Buddhist, and his mother was a Russian Christian. Raised as Buddhist, he reportedly converted to Islam at the age of 15. He studied at a Muslim theological institute in Orenburg, run by one of Russia's official Muslim Spiritual Boards, and then, from 2002-2005, studied in Cairo and Kuwait.Buryatsky moved to the North Caucasus in late 2007 or early 2008, where he became an important ideologue of the Caucasus Emirate. He criticized Sufi Muslims, critics of the Emirate, and spoke out against the commanders who disagreed with Dokka Umarov.Buryatsky was reportedly responsible for the reactivation of the Riyadus-Salikhin shahid brigade of suicide bombers originally formed by Chechen field commander Shamil Basayev. He was being investigated for involvement with the 2009 Nevsky Express bombing, leaving 28 dead and 90 wounded; however, he was never brought to trial.On March 2, 2010, Buryatsky was killed in the village of Ekazhevo in Ingushetia (Russia), during a Russian military operation involving units of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Russian Interior Ministry. A spokesman said that FSB troops had found a bomb factory inside the same house where the militants had been cornered in Ingushetia.

State Defense Council

The State Defense Council is the military command committee of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (ChRI), established by the separatist government of Dzhokhar Dudayev in 1992.[1]

The State Defense Committee was established in a combined emergency session of the ChRI Parliament and Government on September 23, 1999, as a consequence of the Russian attack on Chechnya. Its task was to take over the highest executive power in the country during the period of martial law, while Parliament and Government are temporarily unable to work under normal and regular conditions.

It was later reformed and renamed State Defense Council Majlis al-Shura under Aslan Maskhadov in 2002, when Shamil Basayev was chosen as the Council leader.

Supyan Abdullayev

Supyan Abdullayev (Russian: Супьян Абдуллаев; 8 November 1956 – 28 March 2011) was the vice president of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. He was appointed to this position (vacant since the death of Shamil Basayev) on 19 March 2007, by the President of Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, Dokka Umarov. He was considered the most senior figure after Umarov in the ranks of the Caucasian Emirate and a possible successor.Abdullayev was commander of the Jundullah Brigade, linked to the Vedeno-based wing of the Chechen resistance movement which was close to Basayev. He was primarily a religious figure rather than a military man, alike Abdul-Halim Sadulayev.

Tando

Tando (Russian: Тандо) is a village (selo) in Botlikhsky District of the Republic of Dagestan, Russia.

The village was seized by a Chechen guerrilla unit led by Shamil Basayev in August 1999 in the course of the Invasion of Dagestan.

Vedeno

Vedeno (Russian: Ведено; Chechen: Ведана, Vedana) is a rural locality (a selo) and the administrative center of Vedensky District of the Chechen Republic, Russia, located 756 meters (2,480 ft) above sea level on the northern slope of the Andi range, 55 kilometers (34 mi) southeast of Grozny. Population: 3,186 (2010 Census); 1,469 (2002 Census); 2,504 (1989 Census).The Vedeno Gorge is considered one of the most dangerous regions in Chechnya. In the mid-19th century Imam Shamil led his guerrilla army in a twenty-year war against the Imperial Russian army and fought a last stand in the anonymous mountain village of Vedeno. Shamil Basayev was born in the village of Dyshne-Vedeno, near Vedeno, in south-eastern Chechnya.

War of Dagestan

The War of Dagestan began when the Chechnya-based Islamic International Peacekeeping Brigade (IIPB), an Islamist group, led by warlords Shamil Basayev and Ibn al-Khattab, invaded the neighboring Russian republic of Dagestan, on 7 August 1999, in support of the Shura of Dagestan separatist rebels. The war ended with a major victory for the Russian Federation and Dagestan Republic, and the retreat of the IIPB. The Invasion of Dagestan was the casus belli for the Second Chechen War.

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