Caucasus Emirate Chechnya Dagestan Global Jihad Global Jihadism Ingushetiya Islam in Russia Islamism Jihadism Kabardino-Balkariya Karachaevo-Cherkessiya North Caucasus Putin Russia


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March 23, 2010


  • Events Briefing, February 2010




Caucasus Emirate (CE) amir Doku Abu Usman Umarov gave an interview in February which was posted on several CE sites including Kavkaz tsentr and and transcribed and posted on Kavkaz tsentr in march.  In the interview Umarov vows to liberate once Muslim lands in Krasnodar krai, Astrakhan and the Volga.  He also stated that the CE has “10 thousand, 20 thousand, even 30 thousand mujahedin” but lacks the capacity to train and equip all those who wish to fight.[1]



The spearhead of the CE jihad shifted to Ingushetia in February from Dagestan where most of January’s operations were focused.  On February 11-12, a major battle ensued in Sunzha, Ingushetia which is located not far from Chechnya.  This past summer amir Umarov made a special point of his visit to meet with the Sunzha combat jamaat or sector and its amir Rizvan (born Bamut Dzeitov).  Umarov has traditionally had a close relationship with the Ingush mujahedin and the Sunzha sector.  A video of the meeting was posted on the and Kavkaz Tsentr sites, showing some 30 mujahedin.

The battle on February 11-12 was part of local counter-terrorist operation (KTO) conducted by Ingushetia’s operational staff and federal forces initiated when a group of 25 mujahedin were spotted near the villages of Dattikh and Arshty on February 11.  The battle ended in the killing of 18 mujahedin, among them: a bodyguard of amir Umarov, the Sunzha sector’s amir Rizvan, and his naib Arbi (born Bekhan Khatsiev).  This was confirmed by the Ingush mujahedin and the central command.[2]  Two law enforcement members were wounded, according to Russian authorities.  Reports soon began to emerge that there were civilian casualties inflicted during the KTO.  On February 13 Ingushetia President Yunus Bek Yevkurov acknowledged that four people in the forests picking ramsons (a scallion-like plant used for spices) near a mujahedin camp were accidentally killed during the KTO shootout.  He emphasized that the authorities had evacuated some 80 civilians from the area.[3]  Kommersant reported that a source in Ingushetia’s operational staff for counter-terrorism claimed that the ramsoms-gatherers were used as human shield by the mujahedin.[4]

Also on February 11, one IED was discovered and disarmed on a roadside not far from Nazran’s central mosque, and another was successfully detonated but led to no casualties in the village of Ekazhevo.[5]

On February 15, in Sunzha district’s Ordzhonokidze settlement a bomb planted near a school building detonated as sappers attempted to disarm it, but there were no casualties.  On February 17, on Moscow Street in the capitol Nazran, an IED was discovered (and later detonated by sappers) next to the lot where the district MVD building once stood before it was completely destroyed by a suicide truck bomber recruited and trained by Ingushetia-based mujahed Said Abu Saad Buryatskii on 17 August 2009.  On February 19, the home of MVD Maj. and fellow at the MVD Center for Countering Extremisim Rustam Khalukhaev was shot at by unidentified assailants, but there were no casualties.  On the same day, the Ingush mujahedin engineered a complex multiple IED operation that killed and wounded.  A first IED detonated, and when police and other law enforcement units arrived on the scene multiple, perhaps as many as six, IEDs were detonated remotely, produced up to 35 casualties.  Among them were two MVD militia and one civilian killed.  Of some 30 wounded, more than 10 were MVD militia and more than 10 were civilians; several were wounded seriously.[6]


The shift to Ingushetia did not mean a quiet Dagestan.  The republic saw a series of small attacks, beginning with the February 3 shooutout that ended in the killing of likely Al Qa`ida operative Seif Islam, on the CE’s top amirs, as reported in IIPER, No.9.  According to mujahedin sites (the CE site Kavkaz tsentr and the CE Dagestan Velayat’s ‘Shariat Jamaat’), there were at least seven attacks, including several assassinations, drive-by shootings of police posts, and explosions at a brothel and on a railroad.  These attacks killed some 6 state agents and 1 civilian and wounded 3 state agents.[7]  According to these sites, not one mujahedin was reported killed, wounded or captured in February after the killing of Seif Islam and another mujahed on February 3.

Non-jihadi sources painted a different picture.  For example, on Valentine’s Day, Dagestan was greeted with what appears to have been a failed bombing attempt, when one Shamil Magomedov was killed as a result of an IED that detonated in his automobile while he was driving in Kizilyurt.  It appears that Magomedov was a mujahed transporting the IED for deployment somewhere else in the republic.  Magomedov died of his wounds in hospital later, according to officials sources.   Dagestani authorities reported that Magomedov was the nephew of notorious Dagestani Islamist Bagautdin Magomedov.[8]  Bagautdin is wanted by Russian authorities for among other terrorist activities, leading the Dagestani’ side’s operations alongside Shamil Basaev’s Chechen and Khattab’s international jihadists during the invasion of Dagestan from Chechnya in August 1999 to ‘liberate’ several Dagestani village jamaats that decleared an Islamic state.  This operation sparked the second ‘Chechen’ war and produced today’s CE jihadi iinsurgency.  Bagautdin is perhaps the leading Dagestani jihadi ideologist.[9] Non-jahadi reported at least 4 attacks committed by mujahedin and another 10 attacks that might have been carried out by them, including the assassination of an MVD colonel on February 5 that some in the Dagestani MVD thought might have been a revenge attack for Seif islam’s killing at least 3 and perhaps wounding 5 state agents and killing 1 civilian and wounding perhaps 3.[10]


Chechnya was the quietest of the CE jihad’s three main fronts or velayats/republics in February in terms of number of attacks and firefights.  However, Ramzan Kadyrov’s January 19 order to law enforcement and security organs to find CE amir Umarov remained in effect, and both sides managed to inflict casualties.  In two clashes on February 4 in the forests of Urus Martan district between an estimated 15 mujahedin and a unit of MVD Internal Troops, five MVD troops were killed and six were wounded.[11]  On the same day, during a special operation carried out by combined force of FSB troops and the MVD Internal Troops Special Battallions ‘Sever’ and ‘Yug’ (composed largely of local Chechens and former separatists) as part of the hunt for Umarov six mujahedin were killed, including one Arab, according to Chechen President Ramazan Kadyrov.[12]

Kavkaz uzel reported that since last April’s termination of the general Counter-Terrorism Operation coinciding with the beginning of the second post-Soviet Chechen war there have been in Chehcnya alone at least 73 law enforcement, security, and military servicemen and officers killed and 158 wounded and at least 167 mujahedin killed and 145 captured as of 12 January 2010.[13]

Kavkaz-uzel also reported that residents of Grozny claim that two terrorist attacks were covered up by Chechen or federal authorities during the mid-February visit of a British parliamentary delegation led by Lord Frank Judd.  According to residents, in one incident an explosion in Staropromyslovskii district in Grozny was followed by maching gun fire and the arrival of MVD troops whereupon a second more massive explosion occurred.  This would accord with the modus operandi of numerous recent attacks carried out by the CE mujahedin.  According to residents there were several killed and wounded.  Other residents reported the explosion of two mines and casualties on Staromyslovskii Highway.[14]  The CE website Kavkaz tsentr reported the Kavkaz uzel report but, as of writing, provided no internal reports from any of its sectoral commands or amirs to confirm these were CE attacks.[15]



The amir of the CE’s United Velayat of Kabardia, Balkaria, and Karachai (OVKBK) headed and kadi (chief magistrate) of the CE’s Shariah Court’s kadi Anzor Astemirov or Seifullah published his own video lecture (and later a transcript) on tawhid (strict monotheism) on the OVKBK’s website on February 15th.[16]  Three days later, on February 18th,  a video of Seifullah’s lecture on the book of jihadist Sheikh Abu Mukhammad al’ Maqdisi Milleti Ibrakhim was posted on[17]  IIPER noted last year Maqdisi’s growing support of, and influence on the CE jihadists.[18] Five days later, on February 23rd, posted a Seifullah video appeal to businessmen.[19]


On February 5th the website of the CE’s OVKBK posted a “statement of the press service of the staff of the Armed Forces of the United Velayat of Kabardia, Balkaria and Karachai of the Caucasus Emirate” stating that the mujahedin of the OVKBK’s Elbrus sector uncovered FSB intelligence gathering base and equipment in an apartment in the village of Neitrino in the high mountainous Elbrus district of Russia’s Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria (KBR), which is included by the CE within the virtual brders of its OVKBK.  Supposedly, the FSB “infidels” heard rumors were spreading that they, the apartment’s occupants, were conducting themselves suspiciously and therefore abandoned the base fearing the mujahedin would get wind of their presence.  The mujahedin, according to the statement, planned at first to storm the building but then decided to enter it clandestinely.  They did and found it filled with intelligence gathering equipment such as listening devices which were “illegally” used to eavesdrop on the locals.  The mujahedin took those elements of the equipment that are of use and burned the rest.  Amir of the Elbrus sector, Abdullah Dzhappuev, thanked the residents of Neitrino on behalf od all mujahedin for “their assistance in unmasking the enemy spies.”[20]



Russia’s upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, approved the appointment to the body of a new senator from Chechnya, a post left vacant since June 2009 when Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov’s cousin Umar Dzhabrailov resigned after nearly five years as senator.  Kadyrov’s advisor Suleiman Geremeev replaces Dzhabrailov.




Summing up his impressions after leading a delegation of British parlamentarians to Chechnya in mid-February, the delegation’s leader Lord Frank Judd reported an atmosphere of fear pervaded the republic and there was no criticism of the Chechen Republic leadership expressed by anyone during his visit.  He was particularly surprised by the lack of such criticism during a meeting with over 700 students.  Judd was “sad” that Chechen Republic President could not “find the time” to meet with the delegation, but he acknowledged “progress” was being made and being impressed with Kadyrov’s rebuilding of the Chechen capitol, Grozny.   Judd was able to meet with Kadyrov’s ombudsman for human rights Nurdi Nukhazhiev.[21]


Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov dropped law suits he had been pursuing for months against the pro-democracy newspaper Novaya gazeta, director of the Legal defense Center ‘Memorial’ Dmitry Orlov, and head of the Helsinki Watch group Ludmilla Alekseeva for slander.  Robert Mahoney, Deputy Director of the International Committee for the Defense of Journalists, called Kadyrov’s move “a first small step towards ending the intimidation of journalists” in Chechnya.[22]  On February 9, it was reported that Kadyrov’s mother had requested him to drop the suits.[23]  However, it is more likely that the move was taken under pressure from the Kremlin in line with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s political ‘thaw’ or ‘perestroika 2.0.’  His decision was apparently not taken in consultation with his lawyers, since they expressed surprise about the move.[24]



Ingushetia President Yunus bek Yevkurov offered mujahedin an amnesty of sorts by promising that in return for turning themselves into the authorities they would receive soft sentences.  He reiterated that the cornerstone of his anti-jihadism policy of “showing good will towards those who have deviated from the law.”  He said in recent cases when mujahedin turned themselves in, the Ingush authorities already have been applying soft sentences and in some cases the courts have been applied no punishment.  Many have been provided work or education.  Yevkurov appealed to the mujahedin in the following way as well: “Today a unique opportunity has been created, and a chance to become a fully engaged citizen of society included in the process of the economic rebirth of our Ingushetia, applying your strength and knowledge in creative places of work and showing yourselves favorably in any of the spheres of social and public political life, is still being preserved for each of you (mujahedin).”  He called on all public and non-governmental organizations and the Council of Teips to put their effort into talking mujahedin to tuen themselves in.  During 2009 sixteen mujahedin who turned themselves returned to a peaceful life, according to Yevkurov.[25]



Law enforcement officers arrested in Moscow arrested the imam of the town of Kislovodsk in Russia’s Republic of Karachaevo-Cherkessia (KChR), Nazbi Adzhiev, for the 20 September 2009 murder of the deputy head of the Muslim Spiritual Administration of Stravropol Krai and Karachaevo-Cherkessia and rector of the KChR’s Islamic Institute Islamil Bostanov.  Along with Adzhiev four others were arrested for involvement in the murder, including the head of the Nizhne-Terebdin municipality Rashif Blimgotov.  Many residents and leading political scientists and journalists in the KChR are expressing doubts about the Kislovodsk imam’s involvement in the crime as is imam of the Ust-Dzhegutinsk mosque, Kemal Salpagarov, who warned that the authorities regard anyone Muslim who grows a beard as a radical Wahhabi with excessive suspicion.  Residents of Kislovodsk and others are gathering signatures on a petition to protest Adzhiev’s arrest.[26]  Earlier, chief mufti of the Muslim Spiritual Administration of Stravropol Krai and Karachaevo-Cherkessia Islaim Berdiev implied that Bostanov was killed for his outspoken opposition to the Islamic extremists in the republic.[27]



The GULAG History Musuem in Moscow noted the 66th anniversary of the Soviet deportation of the Chechen and Ingush peoples to Central Asia and Siberia beginning on February 23rd, 1943.  The event was sponsored by the Ingush branch of the Legal Defense Center ‘Memorial’ and the website  The day of mourning included Mulsim prayers and readings of Ingush literature.  Events connected with official days of mourning and grief declared in the republics of Chechnya and Ingushetia were even more extensive.[28]



[1] “Amir Imarata Kavkaz Dokku Abu Usman: ‘My osvobodim Krasnodarskii krai, Astrakhan i Povolzhskii zemli…”, Kavkaz tsentr, 8 March 2010, 11:38,

[2] “Geroizm Islama i geroizm Shaitana,, 16 February 2010, 2:02, and “Vilaiyat G’alg’aiche: Komandovanie modzhakhedov podtverdilo gibel’ eshcho odnogo modzhakheda v raione Arshty,” Kavkaz tsentr, 18 February 2010, 11:30,

[3] “Prezident Ingushetii podtverdili gibel’ chetyrekh mirnykh zhitelei v khode spetsoperatsii,”

Kavkaz-uzel, 13 February 2010, 20:35,

[4] Dmitrii Yevstifeev, “Boevikov vydali kholod i golod,” Izvestia, 15 February 2010, p. 3.

[5] “V Ingushetii v rezul’tate spetsoperatsii ubito devyat’ predpolagaemikh boevikov,” Kavkaz-uzel, 11 February 2010, 14:24,

[6] “V Nazrani v rezul’tatov vzryvov tri cheloveka pogibli, okolo 30 raneny,” Kavkaz-uzel, 19 February 2010, 13:20,; “V Nazrani proizishlo shest’ vzryvov, utverzhdayut mestnyie zhiteli,” Kavkaz-uzel, 19 February 2010, 15:57,

[7] Ruslan Sinbarigov, “Kavkaz. Militsionery Putina protiv modzhakhedov Allakha…,” Jamaat Shariat, 6 February 2010, 13:31,; Заявление Джамаата «Шариат», JamaatShariat, 07.02.2010 17:19, and 7 февраля 2010 г., 20:24; ВИЛАЙЯТ ДАГЕСТАН; В Избербаше ликвидирован высокопоставленный главарь муртадов, Kavkaz tsentr, 5 February 2010, 12:22,; В Хасавюртовском районе уничтожены 2 милицейских муртада, Kavkaz tsentr, 14 февраля 2010 г., 22:32,; В Шамилькале ликвидирован муртад в чине подполковника, Kavkaz tsentr, 11 февраля 2010 г., 12:01,; Моджахеды обстреляли здание банды «ОВД» в Карабудахкенте, Kavkaz tsentr, 12 февраля 2010 г., 21:53,; Моджахеды атаковали блок-пост в Унцукульском районе, Kavkaz tsentr, 17 февраля 2010 г., 07:39,; В Гергебильском районе расстреляны два муртада из банды «МВД», Kavkaz tsentr, 20 февраля 2010 г., 11:18,; В Каспийске взорван местный притон, 22 февраля 2010 г., 12:46,; and “Unichtozhen glavar’ marionetochnoi bandy Novolakskogo raiona,” Kavkaz tsentr, 24 February 2010, 21:22,

[8] “V Dagestane skonchalsya postradavshii ot vzryva v avtomobile,” 15 February 2010, 22:15, and “V Dagestane vzorvan avtomobil’, est’ postradavshii,” Kavkaz-uzel, 14 February 2010, 23:58,

[9] See Gordon M. Hahn, Russia’s Islamic Threat (New haven and London: Yale University Press, 2007), pp 106-9.

[10] Силовики не исключают, что убийство подполковника МВД в Дагестане было местью боевиков, февр. 05 2010, 19:28,; В Дагестане убит подполковник милиции, февр. 05 2010, 12:10,; В Махачкале убит начальник городского УВД, февр. 05 2010, 23:45,; В Дагестане произошел взрыв на железной дороге, погиб человек, февр. 11 2010, 01:00,; Оккупанты сообщают о взрыве на ж.д. в Шамилькале, 11 февраля 2010 г., 07:55,; В Махачкале умер раненный при утреннем обстреле офицер МВД, февр. 11 2010, 15:45 –; В Махачкале совершено покушение на офицера МВД Дагестана, февр. 11 2010, 11:10,; Во время обстрела милиционеров в Дагестане погибла девушка, февр. 15 2010, 11:25,; В Дагестане убиты два сотрудника милиции, февр. 15 2010, 00:30,; В Дагестане при обстреле ранены сотрудники ОМОНа, февр. 17 2010, 09:53,; В Дагестане при обстреле погибли двое милиционеров, пострадал местный житель, февр. 20 2010, 11:15,; В Дагестане в сауне Каспийска сработало взрывное устройство, февр. 22 2010, 13:18,; В Дагестане при обстреле убиты два сотрудника милиции, февр. 22 2010, 20:17,; В Дагестане сработало взрывное устройство, есть пострадавшие, февр. 22 2010, 22:08,; В столице Дагестана произошел взрыв, один человек ранен, февр. 23 2010, 23:27,; and “V Dagestane ubit sotrudnik militsii,” 24 February 2010, 22:15,

[11] Muslim Ibragimov, “C khode spetsoperatsii na yugo-zapade Chechni pogibli pyat’ voennosluzhashchikh,” Kavkaz uzel, 5 February 2010, 12:00, and “Na yugo-zapade Chechni prodolzhaetsya poiski boevikov,” Kavkaz uzel, 8 February 2010, 11:30,

[12] “V gorakh Chechni shest’ predpolagaemykh boevikov,” Kavkaz uzel, 4 February 2010, 17:00,

[13] Muslim Ibragimov, “C khode spetsoperatsii na yugo-zapade Chechni pogibli pyat’ voennosluzhashchikh,” Kavkaz uzel, 5 February 2010, 12:00,

[14] Muslim Ibragimov, “Zhiteli Groznogo soobshchayut o dvukh teraktakh, informatsiya o kotorykh ne rasprostranyalas’,” Kavkaz uzel, 19 February 2010, 09:20,

[15] “Murtady zasekreteli fakt krupnoi diversii v Dzhokhare vo vremya priezda delegatsii iz Anglii,” Kavkaz tsentr, 19 February 2010, 13:10,

[16] “Amir Saifullakh: ‘O Taukhide’ – 1 chast’,”, 15 February 2010, 01:37:27,

[17] “Amir Saifullakh o knige sheikha Abu Mukhammada al’ Makdisi ‘Milleti Ibrakhim’,”, 18 February 2010, 08:03,

[18] Gordon M. Hahn, “Abu Muhammad Asem al-Maqdisi and the Caucasus Emirate,” Islam, Islamism, and Politics in Eurasia Report, No. 6, January 8, 2010,

[19] “Amir Saifullakh: ‘Obrashchenie k kommersantam’,”, 23 February 2010, 21:09,

[20] “Mudzhakhidy iz”yali shpionskoe oborudovanie kafirov v pos. Neitrino,”, 5 February 2010, 19:28,

[21] “Lord Dzhadd: menya ochen’ volnuyut voprosy bezopasnosti v Chechne,” Kavkaz uzel, 19 February 2010, 14:52,

[22] “KZZh privetsvyet otzyv Kadyrovym iskov k ‘Novoi gazete’ i PTs ‘Memorial’,” Kavkaz uzel, 20 February 2010, 12:15,

[23] “Mat’ Ramzana Kadyrova poprosila syna ne sudit’sya s pozhilymi pravozashchitnikami,” Kavkaz uzel, 9 February 2010, 16:14,

[24] “Reshenie Kadyrova otozvat’ isk k ‘Novoi gazete’ stalo neozhidannost’yu dlya ego advokatov i otvetshikov,” Kavkaz uzel, 16 February 2010, 11:40,

[25] “Yevkurov predlagaet boevikam v Ingushetii sdat’sya v obmen na myagkoe nakazanie,” Kavkaz uzel, 9 February 2010, 11:30,

[26] Bella Ksalova, “Zhiteli Karachaevo-Cherkesii somnevaetsya v prichastnosti imama Kislovodska k ubiistvu Bostanova,” Kavkaz uzel, 14 February 2010, 11:09,

[27] “V Moskve zaderzhan podozrevaemyi v ubiistve Ismaila Bostanova v Karachaevo-Cherkesii,” Kavkaz uzel, 3 February 2010, 11;35,

[28] Lidia Mikhal’chenko, “V Moskve v muzee istorii GULAGa otmetili godovshchinu deportatsii chechentsev i ingushei,” Kavkaz uzel, 24 February 2010, 21:41,



Islam, Islamism and politics in Eurasia report (IIPER) is a project of the Monterey Terrorism and Research and Education Program (MonTREP) at the Monterey Institute for International Studies (MIIS), Monterey, California.  It focuses on all politically-relevant issues involving or bearing on Islam and ethnic Muslim communities in Russia and Eurasia writ large.  All issues of IIPER can be found at

IIPER is compiled, edited and, unless indicated otherwise, written by Dr. Gordon M. Hahn.  Dr. Hahn is Senior Researcher at the  Monterey Terrorism Research and Education Program and Visiting Assistant Professor, Graduate School of International Policy Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies, Monterey, California.  He is also a Senior Researcher, Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), Akribis Group and Analyst/Consultant for Russia Other Points of View – Russia Media Watch,  He teaches courses on both politics and terrorism in Russia and Eurasia at MIIS.  Dr. Hahn is the author of two well-received books, Russia’s Islamic Threat (Yale University Press, 2007) and Russia’s Revolution From Above (Transaction, 2002) as well as numerous articles on Russian, Eurasian and international politics.

IIPER welcomes submissions of 1,500-6,000 words on any aspect of Islamic politics in Eurasia and financial contributions to support the project.  For related inquiries or to request to be included on IIPER’s mailing list, please contact or

Research assistance for IIPER is provided by Leonid Naboishchikov, Daniel Painter, Fabian Sievert, and Daria Ushakova.

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