Caucasus Emirate Islamism Jihadism Russia

Islam, Islamism and Politics in Eurasia Report (IIPER) 47

Photo russian_mosque

21 November 2011

by Gordon M. Hahn, Senior Associate, Russia and Eurasia Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies




IIPER is written and edited by Dr. Gordon M. Hahn unless otherwise noted.  Research assistance is provided by Yelena Altman, Sara Amstutz, Mark Archibald, Michelle Enriquez, Seth Gray, John Andrew Jones, Casey Mahoney, Anna Nevo, Daniel Painter, and Elizabeth Wolcott.  IIPER accepts outside submissions.



In an October 2011 video statement DV amir ‘Salikh’ Abdulkerimov Daudov promoted amir ‘Muaz’ Arslan Mamedov, the amir of the DV’s Khasavyurt Sector, to be the position of second DV naib as well as amir of the DV’s Northern Front, reminding all the mujahedin that his first naib remains Abu Mukhammad, the amir of the Central Sector.[1]



A series of Russian newspaper articles and Dagestani mujahedin network [the CE’s Dagestan Vilaiyat (DV)] statements in recent weeks have highlighted the role of intelligence and counter-intelligence in the jihad and Russia’s counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism efforts at the local level in the North Caucasus republic. Russia’s Main Administration for Economic Security and Fighting Corruption (GUEBPK) reported on October 20th that it had broken up the activity of several groups from a “community” covering Dagestan’s Khasavyurt, Novolak, and Kazbek districts.  The ‘community’ was said to be led by Arslan Mamedov, who was said to be the leader of the Khasavyurt “criminal group,” as the daily Kommerant’s reported.[2]  This likely refers to the DV’s Khasavyurt Sector (KhS) and its amir Muaz.  ‘Muaz’ Arslan Mamedov’s Khasavyurt mujahedin were said to be extorting money from local businessmen to finance the CE’s DV underground.[3]

GUEBPK claimed to have documented the sector’s activity.  The group numbered “more than 30 mujahedin” and consisted of several groups divided according to function, that is, “goals, tasks, armaments, and character of activity,” according to the daily.  One group gathered intelligence and presumably carried out surveillance of law enforcement personnel designated for liquidation by the mujahedin.  Kommersant noted that in 2010 in Khasavyurt alone more than 10 assassinations were carried out by the mujahedin on members of the siloviki.  Another group headed by Adam Guseinov, aka amir Khasan, extorted funds from the leaders of state unitary enterprises (GUPs) and private businesses.[4]  The CE mujahedin have shifted to a greater reliance on domestic financial resources and less reliance on foreign sources of funding in recent years.  Extorted funds, just as funds contributed voluntarily under the Islamic zakat, are used to finance various insurgent and terrorist activities, including the purchase of weapons and ammunition, the bribery of officials, training in the use of weapons and explosives and carrying out attacks, and propaganda, which was said to be carried out by the group’s leaders.[5]  Until he was killed on January 26th of this year, ‘Khasan’ Adam Guseinov was the first-ranking of three deputies or naibs serving DV amir ‘Salikh’ Abdulkerimov Daudov and simultaneously was the amir of the DV’s Northern Sector or Front.  The Khasavyurt Sector comes under the DV’s Northern Sector.

In an October 2011 video statement DV amir Daudov introduced amir ‘Muaz’ Mamedov, the amir of the DV’s Khasavyurt Sector, whom he was promoting to be his newly appointed second naib as well as amir of the DV’s Northern Front, reminding all the mujahedin that his first naib remains Abu Mukhammad, the amir of the Central Sector.[6]  Thus, ‘Muaz’ Mamedov replaces ‘Khasan’ Guseinov as one of the DV’s naibs, and Kommersant reported that ‘Abu Umar’ Ibragim Mukhuchev has replaced Guseinov as amir of the Khasavyrut Sector, but in fact he has replaced ‘Muaz’ Mamedov, who would not likely be heading both a small sector, and large sector (front) and serve as a DV naib simultaneously.  Guseinov and Mukhuchev are suspected by Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee (NAK) to have been involved in the October 2010 suicide bombing on a Makhachkala MVD installation that killed one MVD and wounded 7 MVD and a teenage boy who had been playing soccer near the building.  Mukhuchev was reported to be an explosives specialist and constructed the bomb in a failed 100-kilogram car bomb attack on August 17th of this year, when the bomb was defused by sappers.[7]

Kommersant noted in their October 21st report that their move against the group’s operations was facilitated by information obtained from captured mujahedin, specifically mentioning Zagir Baidullaev, a mujahed of one of Mamedov’s groups.  Baidullaev’s home was said to have been surrounded by MVD troops and police, who convinced him to desist and surrender back in April.[8]  Also mentioned was the Ayub Tuliev who was detained on suspicion of being a mujahedin facilitator and participant, along with Mamedov, in a February 9th attack on a police control point that killed two policemen.[9]

On October 24th an “emergency appeal” was posted on the DV’s official website by ‘Muaz’ Arslan Mamedov.  Still identifying himself as amir of the Khasavyurt sector (the video that included his appointment as Northern Sector amir and DV naib appeared two days later), Mamedov called upon the mujahedin and “all Muslims” to assist in facilitating the execution of one Zurkhai Tataevich Tataev, born in 1983.  The appeal was posted in the style of an official communique along with a “wanted poster” with a photograph apparently of Tataev, exhibiting severe facial scarring. Tataev, according to amir Muaz’s appeal, was supposedly detained by police in “winter 2009” and charged under Article 208 of Russia’s criminal code with belonging to an illegal armed formation and Artcle 317 for attempting to take the life of a law enforcement official, but in fact this was a “well-acted performance.”  In reality, according to ‘Muaz’ Mamedov, Tataev turned himself in to the authorities for protection as he had been working for them for years as an informer among the mujahedin of the Khasavyurt Sector.  Mamedov claims that former Khasavyrut Sector amir ‘Al-Bara’ (perhaps Ismail Yangizbiev) discovered that Tataev was working for the authorities, but Tataev turned himself in and “led them to” the the amir, who was killed in early 2010.  Mamedov claims Tataev is responsible for the deaths of 20 mujahedin and warns mujahedin and Muslims be on the look out for a him as a man identifying himself as Alimkhan or some other name, claiming to be a “legal mujahed,” and suggesting they carry out a suicide attack.  He states that the real mujahedin do not operate this way, nor do they propose carrying out suicide attacks over the Internet.  He calls upon the mujahedin and Muslims to help in capturing or killing him.[10]  Tataev’s last name suggest he may come from the small Dagestani Tat nationality, of which many are Jewish.  Tataev’s photograph remained featured on’s front page for weeks through at least November 11th.

Thus, the jihad and the authorities’ efforts to defeat it include a complex game of informers or spies, which have become a weapon on both sides.



The DV amir, his naibs, and even lower-level sector amirs have been prolific in creating propaganda videos and statements for posting on the DV’s three main websites.  On June 14th DV amir Daudov posted a 9-minute video declaration along with his first naib and DV Central Sector amir Abu Mukhammad, and another unidentified DV naib.  Recent DV amirs have been dividing Dagestan into three large sectors or fronts – Northern, Central, and Southern – which subsume smaller sectors, and these greater sectors’ amirs have been appointed the DV amirs’ first, second and third naibs.  Daudov notes the recent Russian operation against his “soldiers of Allah” across the Dagestani forest, emphasizing their ability to escape unharmed.  He then warns Putin, Medvedev, Dagestan President Magomedsalam Magomedov, and Dagestan First Deputy Prime Minister Rizvan Kurbanov, who is charge of the republic’s efforts to provide amnesty to fighters and re-assimilate them into society that the mujahedin cannot be intimidated and they will retaliate for this and similar attacks.  Abu Mukhammad speaks second and reiterates these points and notes that despite losses the number of mujahedin continues to grow.  He claims the mujahedin never attacked women, children or the elderly; they attack only those who fight against them.  However, they can kill the infidels’ and apostates’ relatives, if the infidels and apostates killed the mujahedin’s relatives.  He warns local apostate-siloviki not to step over this line or listen to their infidel bosses and do this, if they do not want the mujahedin to do this, for then “it will be too late.”  The unidentified naib emphasizes “we will kill you like dogs” if you do not stay home.  Daudov concludes by calling on all good Muslims to join them in jihad and that those who do not will soon be surrounded, as the mujahedin will be everywhere.  His last words are that “they all and America will be destroyed.”[11]  IIPER readers may recall, as I reported, that the U.S. State Department had given the CE 13224 status and included the organization on its list of international terrorist organizations on May 26th – that is, weeks or even days after the video was made in the forests of Dagestan.

The CE Dagestan Vilaiyat’s amirs continue to be the most prolific not just in terms of carrying out terrorist operations but also in propagandizing their cause and activities.  Several of the most recent video comes from the amir of the DV, ‘Salikh’ Abdulkerimov Daudov.  Another Daudov video is titled ‘An Appeal to the Mujahedin of Dagestan.’  Posted on October 26th, Daudov recites several “reliable hadiths” from the Prophet Mohammed in Arabic in the course of his appeal.  Among much else, he tells the mujahedin that all their enemies are destined to go to hell.  Besides the infidel, he notes, there are many “locals” who “consider themselves Muslims,” whose deeds do not correspond to their words” that they are Muslims and refuse to support the jihad.  This is true even if those who are deviating from the jihadi obligations are one’s relatives or parents, and Allah instructs cutting their heads and fingers off, emphasizes Daudov a little after nine minutes into the video.  Thus, Daudov adopts the standard takfirist position of global and CE jihadists in relation to those Muslims how oppose and even remain neutral in relation to their “obligation” to go to jihad.[12]  It is unclear whether Daudov’s statement about cutting heads and fingers off represents a threat to begin beheadings of captured infidels and apostates or is meant symbolically.

DV naib and Central Sector amir Abu Mukhammad posted his own video one day after Daudov’s June 14th condemnation of the U.S.  In the brief, two-minute video he warned mujahedin and Muslims that the former official site of the DV, ( was no longer an official site and needed to be read with caution.[13]  IIPER readers will recall our report on a controversy that occurred regarding the site this past summer (see IIPER, No. 41).  The dispute seems to have been resolved and is linked to on the DV’s main website,, and its other important website

In August, seven amirs of the CE DV’s Northern Sector (SS) produced a video statement apparently on the occasion of a shura CE DV SS.  A young mujahed opens the video, calling himself ‘Muaz’, likely ‘Muaz’ Arslan Mamedov, and identifying himself as the amir of the SS.  The sound quality of the 12-minute video is horrendous, with what sounds like an invasion of locsts making much noise, so some of what is said is inaudible and unidentifiable.  Speaking with some confidence for two minutes, Muaz congratulates the mujahedin and Muslims on the arrival of Ramada and declares his certainty in the jihad’s victory.  He introduces another young amir, Abu Umar, identifying him as amir of a sector or jamaat the name of which is inaudible.  Abu Umar speaks for some ten minutes – that is, for most of the video’s duration – reads from notes, and rarely looks at the camera during the first half of his speech, where as Muaz spoke extemporaneously.  He then talks about an attack on a store that sold liquor noting that the female owner was “unfortunately” wounded but had been warned several times by the mujahedin.  She then reported to the authorities, so she was killed “by the hands of the mujahedin,” though surely by Allah’s will, it is implied.  Abu Umar then turns to an attack on an automobile of apostates his mujahedin carried out during which four civilians were wounded and reminds civilians to keep their distance from Russian infidels, local apostates, police and the like.  Putting down his notes, Abu Umar raises his head looking at the camera.  He notes that all these operations “were carried out in accordance with the laws of Allah” and promises more powerful attacks during the month of Ramadan.  Abu Umar also discusses the jihad’s continuation and its legality.  Turning to Muslim men who continue to sit at home while jihad is being waged, he refers to them as “weak Muslims” and compares unfavorably them to ‘courageous’ female suicide bombers to shame them for their inactivity.  Abu Umar also criticizes those mujahedin, who apparently try to continue their schooling in infidel/apostate institutions, emphasizing that the infidel might even have more knowledge but lacks the ‘God-fearing” knowledge that is necessary and which the mujahedin possess.[14]

A four-minute video from amir Saifullah, the amir of the Izberbasha jamaat under the DV’s Central Sector (TsS), appeared in late June.  The tape shows at least 17 mujahedin of the “battalion.”  The amir, Saifullah, speaks briefly, saying that they had just been bombed from the air without casualties and noting the ranks of the mujahedin are growing.[15]  What appears to be the same group posted another four-minute video a week earlier titled on the film as “Know Dogs that You Will Feel the Heat of Our Machine Guns.”  An unidentified mujahed, repeatedly referring to Russians as “dogs,” claims groups of Russians come to Dagestan to visit specifically to beat or kill Dagestani girls and warns all those local apostates and hypocrites who allow this have their wives and daughters in Dagestan, thereby issuing an implied threat against those relatives of unidentified locals.[16]

These are just some of the videos that have emerged from DV amirs over recent months.



The website of the CE’s Dagestani jihadi network, the Dagestan Vilaiyat (DV), reported on November 1st that another ethnic Russian, Viktor Surgutov, was killed by security forces.[17]  IIPER has written extensively, most recently in the last issue (No. 46), on the growing number of ethnic Russian mujahedin and suicide bombers.  Referring to Surgutov as “our brother,” notes that Russian media reports on his killing referred to him as a “Russian Wahhabi” and that recently the term ‘Wahhabi’ has been used by Russian media only when referring to ethnic Russians while the word ‘Salafism” is used to refer to mujahedin of Caucasus nationality by the same media.  Vdagestan suggests this is being done “for the maximal demonization of Russians who convert to Islam.”  This is seen as a reaction to the “persistent growth of the Islamization of the best part of the Russian people as well as the beastly terror which this process is provoking among the infidel.”[18]



One other deceased ethnic Russian mujahedin resurfaced recently in the form of a new video.  Maria Khorsosheva, who detonated her bomb and herself on February 14th of this year in one of two suicide attacks carried out that day in Gubden, Dagestan.  The other was carried out by her husband Vitalii Razdobudko (see IIPER, Nos. 34-36 and 46).  In the video Khorosheva discusses Islam, Jesus Christ, Mohammed as the “true Prophet,” the true and good death, and in general testifies to her faith in Islam.  The video appeal is not appear to be her final testament, since that appeared on CE websites approximately one month after her death in the aforementioned suicide attack (see IIPER, No. 36).  This appears to be an ‘appeal’ or ‘declaration’ of faith, as it is labeled as such (obrashchenie) in the video title frame and on the video’s page.  In this video her face is barely visible looking sharply down, her eyes never meet the camera, as opposed to her final testament video in which her face was covered in a black veil.  She is dressed in a heavy overcoat despite the fact that the video is taken indoors.[19]  Reports after the attack claimed she was with child when she undertook her suicide mission.



In each month of September and October Dagestan saw the killing of an Islamic clergyman.  On September 16th, the official website of the CE’s Dagestan Vilaiyat (DV) mujahedin, issued an implicit claim of responsibility for the the September 15th killing of 84-year old imam Zianutdin-hajii Dayziev, who was the imam of a mosque in the village of Kadar, long a hotbed of Salafism and jihadism in Dagestan, and was killed when two armed men entered his home and shot him.  VDagestan referred to Dayziev as the “evil hypocrite,”  “devilish puppet” and “infidel servant.”  The VDagestan announcement notes that Dayziev was well-known across Dagestan for his “’anti-Wahhabi’ activity.”    He is condemned by the mujahedin for “doing all he could so that Shariah law was not established in Kadar, “blocking the spread of Islam” in Dagestan in the 1990s, and continuing “his war against Islam” in the 2000s by supposedly compiling lists of Wahhabis for the secret services and “actively propagandizing a distorted version of Islam” – that is, the local form of Sufi Islam.   Non-jihadi independent and official Dagestani sources not his active resistance to Salafism, in particular in the villages of Karamaki and Chabanmakhi and the invasion of Dagestan by jihadi forces under the command of Chechen warlord Shamil Basaev and his AQ ally Ibn al-Khattab in the late 1990s for which Dayziev was given an award in Moscow by then president Vladimir Putin.   The report notes that the mujahedin had warned him numerous times to cease his “anti-Islamic activity” and that in 2001 a bomb had been laid in the foundation of his home but was defused by sappers.  Now, “revenge has reached” him, the article closes.

On October 27th two unknown men killed the 56-year old ethnic Tabasaran sheikh of the Naqshbandi tariqat (brotherhood or order), Sirazhutdin Israfilov ‘Khurigskii’ in his native southern mountain village of Khurig.  Israfilov was also a committed opponent of Salafism and had signed a memorandum in support of fighting violence, extremism and interethnic antagonism in the Caucasus initiated by the Russian Public Chamber.   Israfilov was extremely influential in southern Dagestan in ethnic Tabasaran regions and around the ancient Islamic center of Derbent, where he was imam of the Derbent mosque and head of the Islamic university.  He reportedly had anywhere from five to ten thousand murids or religious followers.  He was so influential that he was elected the chairman of the republic’s Council of Ulema, despite his conflict with the ethnic Avar-dominated Muslims Spiritual Administration of Dagestan (DUMD) headed by another Sufi sheik.   Although it cannot be entirely excluded that Avar Sufis were behind his murder, it is more likely that is the next in a series of attacks on religious leaders carried out by the CE’s DV mujahedin.  The DV’s official website announced Irafilov’s killing with joy, referring to him as the leader of an violent attack and attempted takeover of the Derbent’s Juma Mosque from Salafis in 2005.  According to the mujahedin, Israfilov’s followers forcibly entered the mosque wielding sticks, axes, and other weapons and began beating the mosque-goers but were beaten back, after which “in the typical Sufi way, the sirazhudisty (followers of Israfilov) turned to the infidels and mass arrestes of Muslim began in Derbent.”  However, an explicit or even implicit claim of responsibility has not yet been made by the DV mujahedin.



The amirs of the sectors of the CE’s embattled United Vilaiyat of Kabardiya, Balkariya and Karachai (OVKBK) convened in October under the leadership of its new amir ‘Ubaid’ Alim Zankishev.  The accompanying video, showing several minutes of statements by the amirs, includes at least 5 or 6 amirs, suggesting the OVKBK now includes at least 5 or 6 sectors, depending on whether Zankishev is also a sector amir.[20]  In March 2010 the OVKBK suffered the loss of its founder ‘Seifullah’ Anzor Astemirov, who was also the CE’s qadi.[21]  Little more than a year later, on 29 April 2011 it lost nearly its entire leadership, including its amir ‘Abdullah’ Askar Dzhappuev and several, perhaps all of his naibs, all of whom also served as sector amirs (see IIPER No. 39).

OVKBK amir Zankishev begins the videotaped portion of the shura, which is devoted to statements by the amirs, with an Islamic greeting and then starts the substantive part of his speech by noting Muslims’ obligation to carry out jihad and that Allah often sends to Muslims something that is good for them but which seems unpleasant.  Zankishev then greets CE amir Dokku ‘Abu Usman’ Umarov and “all our brothers,” referring to Umarov as “our” amir.  This the theme of the unpleasant Allah can deliver raised, Zankishev reviews the OVKBK’s recent losses, noting that this year “Allakh took” the following OVKBK amirs this year: his predecessor as OVKBK amir ‘Abdullah’ Askar Dzhapuev, Northeastern Sector amir Abdul Jabbar (Tashu Kazbek), Abdul Jabar’s naib Abdul Gafur (Aslanbek Khamurzov), Southwestern Sector amir Zakariya (Ratmir Shameyev), Northwestern Sector amir Musa, and “others.”  Emphasizing that these losses will not stop their efforts to “raise the word of Allah,” he then introduces those who he has appointed as their successors in the following order: to his immediate right is Southeastern Sector amir Khamzat, sitting to Zankishev’s immediate right; Southwestern Sector amir Abu Khasan, sitting to Khamzat’s immediate right; Northwestern Sector amir Khamza, sitting to Zankishev’s immediate left; and Northeastern Sector amir Abdulmanik, sitting to the left of Khamza; and Central Sector amir Omar, sitting to the left of Abdulmanik.  Zankishev does not mention that any of these sector amirs are his naibs.  He continues that Allah teaches that the infidel will not stop fighting Muslims until the latter give up their religion and calls upon Muslims to take up arms.  The mujahedin, according to him, will “fight to their last breath.”  Zankishev concludes with a prayer-like series of pleas to Allakh and a salutation which, like his opening greeting, is given in Arabic – likely a quote from the Koran or a hadith from the Sunna.[22]   The new OVKBK does not exhibit much charisma or personality and seems similar to CE amir Umarov in dress, beard, and manner.

With these leadership changes, the OVKBK’s recent leadership and structural history is summarized in the list below:


Amir – ‘Ubaid’ Alim Zankishev, appointed 9 September 2011.  Predecessors – ‘Abdullah’ Asker Dzhappuev, cited 16 May 2010, killed April 2011; Arsen Tatarov, killed 31 March 2010; Anzor Astemirov (aka Seyfullah), killed 24 March 2010.

Naib(s) – unknown.  Predecessors – ‘Zakariya’ Ratmir Shameyev (killed 29 April 2011); ‘Abdul Jabbar’ Tashu Kazbek (killed 29 April 2011); Timur Tatchaev (killed May 2010); Abu Dudzhan Adam Dzhappuev (appointed March 2009, killed 21 June 2009); Abdu-R-Rakhman Marat Guliev (appointed March 2009, killed 20 May 2009); Imam Musa Mukozhev (appointed March 2009, killed 11 May 2009); Abu Djalil (killed 21 June 2009); Abu Usman Zeitun Sultanov (appointed March 2009, killed 22 April 2009). 


Kabardino-Balkariya Republic

Eastern Sector: Amir – unknown.  Predecessors: Abu Usman Zeitun Sultanov (killed 22 April 2009).

Central Sector (Nalchik, Khasan): Amir – Omar (cited October 2011).  Predecessors: Abu Usman Zeitun Sultanov (killed April 22, 2009).

Southeast Sector: Amir – Khamzat (cited October 2011).  Predecessors: ‘Abdul Jabbar’ Tashu Kazbek (killed 29 April 2011).

Southwest Sector: Amir – Abu Khasan (cited October 2011).  Predecessors: ‘Zakariya’ Ratmir Shameyev (killed 29 April 2011).

Northwest Sector: Amir – Khamza (cited October 2011).  Predecessors: Musa (killed 2011).

Northeast Sector (Baksan): Amir – Abdulmanik (cited October 2011).  Predecessors: ‘Abdul Jabbar’ Tashu Kazbek (killed 29 April 2011).

Naib – unknown.  Predecessors: Abdul Gafur (killed 29 April 2011).

  • Baksan Sector: Amir – ‘Abdul Jabbar’ Tashu Kazbek (cited February 9, 2010).
    • Baksan Jamaat: Sultan Shevhuzhev (killed May 28 2009).

Yarmuk Jamaat: Amir – Unknown.  Predecessors: Adam Dzappuev (killed 21 June 2009); Predecessors – Anzor Astemirov ‘Seyfullah’; Muslim Atayev (killed April 2005); Ruslan Bekanov (killed June 2005); 

Chegem Jamaat: Amir – unknown.

Other Amirs:

Musa – cited Ramadan 2011, Islamdin video.

Kanamat Zankishev (brother of Alim, killed May 2010). 

Karachai-Cherkesskia (KChR)

Jamagat Jamaat (last cited May 2010, see

Karachaevo-Cherkesskii Jamaat (last cited October 2006). Predecessor group – Jamaat Number 3.



The book Jihad Against the Heretics (Dzhikhad protic Veroostupnikov) written by late CE qadi and OVKBK founder and first amir ‘Seifullah’ Anzor Astemirov is now available on, the website of the CE’s Dagestani mujahedin under the Dagestan Vilaiyat (DV).  It can be accessed below excerpted Chapter 5 of the book posted at and downloaded.  Astemirov discusses various issues such as dissent and schism (fitna) among Muslims, apostate rulers in Muslim lands, Sheikh Abd-ul-Kadir Abd-ul Aziz rejection of al-Albani, and the presence of power in determining jihad.  He makes ample use of citations from the Koran and various jihadi scholars such as the medieval jihadi scholar Ibn Taimiyya.[23]



In a Dagestan Vilaiyat “video-appeal” from amir Shamil of the Shamilkala (Makhachkala) Sector of the CE’s Dagestan Viliayat (DV) posted in October on the DV’s second most important website, amir Shamil appears to take responsibility for a series of attacks including the assassination of the head of the Russian Federal Administration for Incarceration and Punishment (UFSIN) Magomed Murtuzaliev on the night of 23 September 2011.  That attack killed not only Murtuzaliev but also his 8-year old daughter, his nephew, and his driver.[24]

Television video of the results of the attacks opens the videotaped appeal.  The music accompanying the video continues as amir Shamil begins his statement, making it difficult to discern everything he says.  Amir Shamil warns the public to stay away from infidels and apostates, since they could be injured or killed in such operations the mujahedin undertake against them.  Shamil discusses attacks on stores selling alcohol and notes that an explosion in another unidentified attack did not involve one the jamaat’s “good brothers,” who was killed by Dagestani security forces that night.[25]



The Caucasus Emirate-affiliated website continues to issue monthly reports on the number of attacks carried out by the CE mujahedin and the casualties that have resulted from those attacks (and presumably Russian counter-terrorism operations) among both Russian state agents and on the side of the mujahedin as well in the North Caucasus.  The CE’s data does not include the 24 January 2011 Moscow Domodedovo Airport suicide bombing carries out the CE, its Riyadus Salikhiin Martyrs’ Brigade and, specifically. the ethnic Ingush mujahed and Ingushetiya native Magomed Yevloev.  IIPER adds that to the date below.  The data does include the two 14 February 2011 coordinated suicide bombings carried out in Gubden, Dagestan by the ethnic Russian couple of Vitallii Razdobudko and Maria Khorosheva.  Also, since the reports continue to divide fatalities and wounded into the categories of kafiry (infidels) and murtady or marinonetki (apostates or puppets), we are unable to delineate between casualties among state agents and those among civilians from the jihadi sources, as we do for our own estimate.  Therefore, we are including the total number of fatalities and wounded.

The CE’s data through September show that in the first nine months of 2011 the CE mujahedin claiming responsibility for carrying out 623 attacks: 621 in the North Caucasus and 3 in Moscow (see Table 1).  The


Table 1. CE Data on Number of Attacks and Casualties in the First Nine Months of 2011 (the figure in parentheses is the figure for September 1-28, 2011).


Vilaiyat of the  Caucasus Emirate  










Nokchicho Vilaiyat or NV (Chechnya)       63 (8)           

76 (30)


174 (47)


24 (4)

Galgaiche Vilaiyat or GV


      90 (19)  

   34 (4)


38 (1)


   14 (0)

Dagestan Vilaiyat or DV


    365 (44)  244 (63)  

  913 (108)

    90 (5)



      98 (5)


   50 (5)


    59 (8)


   29 (3)


Nogai Steppe Vilaiyat**


        5 (2)


     6 (1)


7 (1)

     0 (0)



 2*** (0)

   39 (0)    180 (0)  

     1 (0)



     623 (78)  

 449 (103)


  849 (165)

 159 (13)

*OVKBK – the United Vilaiyat of Kabardiya, Balkariya and Karachai, the CE’s jihadi network the North Caucasus republics of Kabardino-Balkariya and Karachaevo-Cherkessiya.

** Nogai Steppe Vilaiyat covers the North Caucasus regions of Krasnodar Krai and Stavropol Krai for the CE.

*** These attacks and the attendant casualties include a January explosion in Moscow with no casualties, the 24 January 2011 suicide bombing at Moscow’s Domodeovo Airport.  The assassination of Col. Yurii Budanov in Moscow seemed to be claimed implicitly by CE amir Dokku ‘Abu Usman’ Umarov as a CE operation. For Umarov’s video and the text of his statement see“Amir IK Dokku Abu Usman: ‘Uchast’ Budanova ozhidaet i drugikh prestupnikov’,” Kavkaz tsentr, 23 July 2011, 19:02, Later, Kavkaz tsentr seemed to retract Umarov’s seeming claim.  These two attacks were not included in the mujahedin’s numbers on operations in the North Caucasus.


SOURCES: The data for attacks in the North Caucasus was provided by the CE-affiliated website “Imarat Kavkaz. Svodka boevikh deistvii modzhakhedov Imarata Kavkaz za mesyats Safar 1432 goda po Khidzhre (Yanvar’ 2011),” Kavkaz tsentr, 5 February 2011, 23:30, citing; “Imarat Kavkaz: Svodka boevykh operatsii modzhakhedov za rabi’ al’-avval’ 1432 goda po Khidzhre (4 fevralya – 5 marta 2011 g.,” Umma News, 6 March 2011, 14:31,———–1432—-4—5–2011-.html and Kavkaz tsentr, 6 March 2011, 17:09,; “Imarat Kavkaz: Svodka boevykh operatsii modzhakhedov za mesyats rabias-sani 1432 po khidzhre (6 marta – 5 aprelya 2011 g.,”, 6 April 2011, 13:30,–1432-6-5-2011-.html and “Imarat Kavkaz: Svodka boevikh operatsii,” Kavkaz tsentr, 7 April 2011, 13:19,; “Imarat Kavkaz: Svodka boevykh operatsii modzhakhedov za mesyats dzhumada al’-ulya 1432 goda po khidzhre (6 aprelya – 3 maya 2011 g.),” Umma News, 4 May 2011, 2:18,–1432-6-3-2011-.html and “Imarat Kavkaz: Svodka boevykh operatsii modzhakhedov,” Kavkaz tsentr, 4 May 2011, 18:00,; “Imarat Kavkaz: Svodka boevykh operatsii modzhakhedov za mesyats dzhumada as-sani 1423 goda,” Kavkaz tsentr, 6 June 2011, 21:20,; “Imarat Kavkaz: Svodka boevykh operatsii modzhakhedov za mesyats dzhumada as-sani 1423 goda po khidzhre (4 maya – 3 iyunya),”, 6 June 2011, 18:43,———-c–1432—-4—3–2011-.html; “Imarat Kavkaz: Svodka boevikh deistvii I poter’ za iyun’ 2011 goda,” Kavkaz tsentr, 1 July 2011, 19:04,; and ИМАРАТ КАВКАЗ. Сводка боевых операций моджахедов за месяц шавваль 1432 года по хиджре (30 августа — 28 сентября 2011 г.), 29 сентября 2011 г., 08:21, For the Moscow Domodedovo Airport attack see “V osushchestvlenii terakta v aeroportu Domodedovo uchastvovali, kak minimum, 5 chelovek,” Ekho Moskvy, 8 February 2011, 21:00, and “Terakt v Domodedove podgotovili i proveli, kak minimum, 5 chelovek,” Ekho Moskvy, 8 February 2011, 22:03, _______________________________________________________

largest number of CE attacks continues to be carried out by the CE’s Dagestani mujahedin, the so-called Dagestan Viliayat mujahedin.  This has been the case for nearly a year and a half, since April 2010.  Now, according to the mujahedin’s data, 59 percent of the jihadi attacks carried out in Russia this year have occurred in Dagestan.  The Chechen mujahedin of the CE’s Nokchicho (Chechnya) Vilaiyat (NV) continue to be the laggards, according to the CE’s data.  However, this time part of the explanation may be the political activity involved in the return of the breakaway or independent NV amirs and fighters that was announced in late July, ending the nearly year-long schism between CE amir Dokku ‘Abu Usman’ Umarov and the bulk of the NV amirs and fighters.  According to the CE data, its Galgaiche Vilaiyat (GV) covering Ingushetiya and North Ossetiya remained ahead of Chechnya.  The OVKBK, covering Kabardino-Balkariya and Karachaevo-Cherkessiya, continues to be the second most active vilaiyat, as it has been since spring of last year.  In sum, the CE’s own data shows that its jihad is becoming an almost purely Dagestani effort.

If one compares IIPER’s numbers for the first six months, which rely on both jihadi and non-jihadi sources’ reporting, with the CE’s figures for the first nine months, then it appears that the mujahedin are now producing increasingly higher figures than IIPER and others.  However, the CE’s data is not as inaccurate as one might expect and may be more accurate and only slightly inflated as far as we can know.



According to an article from the Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya gazeta, the number of underground Islamic schools in Tatarstan is growing, especially in the capital city of Kazan. These schools are unofficial and not under the control of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Tatarstan. The newspaper states that there are approximately 20 underground Islamic schools and are set up in private residences. This rise in the number of underground madrasahs is a concern to law enforcement officials because these unofficial schools are sometimes associated with more radical Islamist groups such as Hizb ut-Tahrir Islami and the Muslim Brotherhood.[26]



Tatar nationalist/chauvinist sentiments are often interwoven with Islamic/Islamist elements, just as Russian nationalist/chauvinist tendencies often include Christian Orthodox ideas. Not surprisingly then, interethnic tensions overlap with inter-confessional ones in Tatarstan, and both have been evident this year.  Regarding ethic tensions between the Russian and Tatar communities of Tatarstan this year, in July Russians protested against the greater time devoted to Tatar language education as opposed to Russian language education in Tatarstan’s schools.  In response, producer of the Tatarstan Republic-sponsored ‘Tatarstan – New Century’ (T-NV) television channel Elmira Israfilova allegedly confronted the demonstrators, telling them that if they did like Tatarstan, then they should leave it and all Russians in the republic are occupiers.  Israfilova concluded by threatening: “I will the bite out the throat of any Russian for my Tatar language,” though she later denied making the remarks.  The offended Russians filed suit under Russian law for statements that were of an extremist character and insulted their honor and dignity, but their appeal was rejected.  Subsequently, Tatar organizations lined up behind Israfilova, and Russian organizations supported the demonstrators, with reports of some figures tied to the Muslim Spiritual Administration of Tatarstan (DUMT) condemning her remarks, including chairman of the Council of Ulema of the Russian Islamic Harmony Association Farid Salman.[27]

The Union of Tatar Youth ‘Freedom’ (STM Azatlyk), which has had a somewhat radical nationalist stance over the years, organized a picket in Israfilova’s defense near the building of the T-NV television station.  In October, Israfilova emerged as a candidate to become the new leader of STM Azatlyk, which is currently led by Nail Nabiullina.  At a recent meeting of one of STM Azatlyk’s clubs, her entrance was greeted with an ovation, and she was hailed as the new Syuyumbike, the last princess of the independent Kazan Khanate before its colonization by Ivan the Terrible in 1552.[28]

Religiously speaking, while Muslims in Russia have been angered by the destruction of the old Moscow Central Mosque and plans for a new one to be built in its place, ethnic Russians in Tatarstan have been mobilized by pressure from Tatar nationalists to move or destroy a church in which the remains of Russian soldiers who were killed during the 1552 conquest of Kazan located directly opposite the Kazan Kremlin.  When an ultimately inaccurate report emerged this year that the Miraculous Image of Christ Church would be transferred from the control of the Kazan and Tatarstan Bishopric to the Russian State Property Agency (GosImushchestvo), Russian clergy and other ethnic Russians were briefly mobilized, suspecting that the transfer was a prelude to the church’s closure as a functioning church or worse.[29]

Similarly, according to Rais Suleymanov, leader of the Volga Center for Regional and Ethno-Religious Research of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISI), the first edition of a new Tatarstan journal Kazan’ musulmanksya published in November included an article by one Almaz Abdrakhmanov in which he claims that Moscow was founded as a Muslim city by Muslims.  The article notes that Moscow was founded by Tatar prince Stepan Kuchku, whose origins were of the Volga Bulgaria, the ancient predecessor state to the Kazan Khanate.  Muscovite prince Yurii Dolgorukii is said to have “usurped the land” from Kuchku.  According to Abdrakhmanov, who provides no sources to back up his claims, according to Suleymanov, the first mosque appeared in Moscow before Dolgorukii’s reign, and the Monomakh crown worn by early Muscovite tsars is said to have originated in Egypt.  Kazan musulmankskaya is published by the publisher Iman affiliated with the Muslim Spritual Administration of Tatarstan (DUMT) and edited by Ramil Safiullin.[30]

Some Tatarstan nationalist organizations’ websites are displaying an increasingly radical bent.  For example, the Tatar nationalist organization, the National-Democratic Party ‘Watan’ (NDP Watan) has been re-posting articles from the main website of North Caucasus’s Caucasus Emirate (CE) mujahedin, Kavkaz tsentr.  Most recently, Watan’s website Irekle Syuz (The Free Word) posted a letter originally posted on 22 October 2011 on Kavkaz tsentr from “our permanent readers from Tatarstan” on preparations by authorities in Kazan for a counter-terrorism exercise planned for November 7-17.[31]



On 31 October 2011, it was reported that three alleged Hizb ut-Tahrir Islami (HTI) members were taken into custody by security officials in the Bashkortostan city of Sibai. Among the arrested was the groups’ leader: Ramil Sharipov. The three were charged with trying to organize an extremist organization. Officials claim that the three held HTI meetings in their homes, tried to recruit new members and had extremist videos, magazines and other illegal propaganda in their possession.[32]



[1] “Obrashenie komanduyushego DF Amira Salikha k modzhakhedam vilaiyata,”, 26 October 2011, 00:20,

[2] Yuliya Rubina, “Na svoi nuzhdy boeviki vymogali u kommersantov,” Kommersant, 21 October 2011,

[3] Yuliya Rubina, “Na svoi nuzhdy boeviki vymogali u kommersantov,” Kommersant, 21 October 2011,

[4] Yuliya Rubina, “Na svoi nuzhdy boeviki vymogali u kommersantov,” Kommersant, 21 October 2011,

[5] Yuliya Rubina, “Na svoi nuzhdy boeviki vymogali u kommersantov,” Kommersant, 21 October 2011,

[6] “Obrashenie komanduyushego DF Amira Salikha k modzhakhedam vilaiyata,”, 26 October 2011, 00:20,

[7] Yuliya Rubina, “Na svoi nuzhdy boeviki vymogali u kommersantov,” Kommersant, 21 October 2011,

[8] Yuliya Rubina, “Na svoi nuzhdy boeviki vymogali u kommersantov,” Kommersant, 21 October 2011,

[9] Yuliya Rubina, “Na svoi nuzhdy boeviki vymogali u kommersantov,” Kommersant, 21 October 2011,

[10] “Srochnoe obrashchenie amira Muaza k mudzhakhidam i musul’manam,”, 24 October 2011,

[11] “Obrashenie Amira Vilaiyata Dagestan Salikha  i ego naibov: VIDEO,”, 14 June 2011,

[12] “Obrashenie komandyyushego DF Amira Salikha k modzhakhedam vilaiyata,”, 26 October 2011, 00:20,

[13] “Kratkoe obrashchenie amira tsentral’nogo sektora VD IK Abu Mukhammada k mudzhakhidam VD,”, 15 June 2011, and

[14] “Obrashchenie Amirov Severnogo sektora VD IK (Ramadan 1432,”, 13 August 2011,

[15] “Mudzhakhidy TsS Vilaiyata Dagestan, Iyuna, 1432.2011 (Video)”,, 23 June 2011,

[16] “Obrashchenie mudzhakhiha TsS DV,”, 17 June 2011,

[17] “Kyafiry prodolzhayut pzduvat’ temu ‘russkogo vakhkhabizma,”, 1 November 2011,

[18] “Kyafiry prodolzhayut pzduvat’ temu ‘russkogo vakhkhabizma,”, 1 November 2011,

[19] “Obrashchenie Marii Khoroshevoi,”, 31 October 2011,

[20] “Shura amirov sectorov Vilaiyata KBK,”, 20 October, 2011,

[21] See my profile of Astemirov in IIPER, Nos. 19, 20, 23, and 25.  On his killing by security forces see IIPER, No. 13.

[22] “Shura amirov sectorov Vilaiyata KBK,”, 20 October, 2011,

[23] “Amir Seifullakh: ‘Dzhikhad protiv Verroostupnikov’,”, 21 October 2011,

[24] Akhmednabi Akhmednabiev, “MVD Dgaestana: unityi polkovkik Murtuzaliev ranee poluchal ugrozy,” Kavkaz uzel, 23 September 2011, 19:30,

[25] “Video-obrashehnie amira Shamilkalinskogo sektora,”, 7 October 2011, 12:12,

[26] “Underground Islamic schools spring up in Russia’s Tatarstan,” BBC Monitoring Former Soviet Union, 15 November 2011.


[27] Gleb Postnov, “Tatarskaya gryzna bez ekstemizma,” Nezavisimaya gazeta, 12 August 2011, and Gleb Postnov, “Tatarskie natsionalisty nashli sebe tsaritsu,” Nezavsimaya gazeta, 10 November 2011,

[28] Postnov, “Tatarskie natsionalisty nashli sebe tsaritsu.”

[29] Gleb Postnov, “Khram zakryli i vosstanovili za idin den’,” Nezavisimaya gazeta, 28 October 2011,

[30] Rais Suleymanov, “V Kazani ob”yavili, chto Moskvu osnovali musul’mane,”, 14 November 2011, 19:06,

[31] “Chekisty zadumali provesti v Tatarstane ‘profilaktiku terrora i ekstremizma,” Kavkaz tsentr, 22 October 2011, 11:52, posted on Watan’s site as “Chekisty zadumali provesti v Tatarstane ‘profilaktiku terrora i ekstremizma” 24 October 2011; and on and Tatarskaya gazeta’s website as “Terroristy gotovyat vzryvy v Tatarstane,” Tatarskaya gazeta, 24 October 2011, 18:11,

[32] “Three Hizb ut-Tahrir activists seized in Bashkortostan,” Russia & CIS Newswire, 31 October 2011.



          The CSIS Russia and Eurasia Program published a special report in August by Dr. Gordon M. Hahn, “Getting the Caucasus Emirate Right” which IIPER readers may find of interest.  It can be downloaded at


               Islam, Islamism and Politics in Eurasia Report (IIPER) is a project of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.  It focuses on all politically-relevant issues involving or bearing on Islam, Islamism, and Jihadism in Russia and Eurasia writ large.  All issues of IIPER will soon be permanently archived at  All back issues temporarily remain archived at:

               IIPER is compiled, edited and, unless indicated otherwise, written by Dr. Gordon M. Hahn.  Dr. Hahn is a Senior Associate (Non-Resident) in the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C., Senior Researcher and Adjunct Professor at the Monterey Terrorism Research and Education Program (MonTREP), Monterey, California.  He is also a Senior Researcher at the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), Akribis Group and an Analyst and Consultant for Russia Other Points of View – Russia Media Watch,  He teaches courses on both politics and terrorism in Russia and Eurasia at MonTREP.  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 on any aspect of Islamic, Islamist, or Jihadist politics in Eurasia as well as financial contributions to support the project.  For related inquiries or to request to be included on IIPER’s mailing list, please contact:

Dr. Gordon M. Hahn

Tel: (831) 647-3535 Fax: (831) 647-6522

Email: or


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