Thursday, August 21, 2014

Caucasus Report

Kadyrov Is Warned: 'You Can Run, But You Can't Hide'

Chechen special forces in the village of Tsentoroi on August 29.Chechen special forces in the village of Tsentoroi on August 29.
Chechen special forces in the village of Tsentoroi on August 29.
Chechen special forces in the village of Tsentoroi on August 29.
Precisely what happened during the fighting early yesterday morning in Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov's home village of Tsentoroi remains unclear. But the version promulgated by insurgency websites is far more credible than the contradictory accounts Kadyrov himself has given.

The insurgency website gave periodic, increasingly detailed updates throughout the day. It claims that up to 60 militants in three detachments, led by amirs Zaurbek, Makhran, and Abdurakhman (all three are featured in this portrait gallery), penetrated the village at around 4:30 a.m. local time, destroyed the homes of 10 of Kadyrov's closest associates, killed up to 15 of Kadyrov's men, and blew up an armored personnel carrier before retreating an hour later, taking with them quantities of weaponry. The fighters sent an SMS message to RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service at 6:30 a.m. local time saying, "Tsentoroi is burning."

Speaking three hours after the attack, Kadyrov claimed initially that the attacking force numbered between 15-30 fighters, of whom 12 were killed. He said his security forces had advance warning of the planned attack, permitted the fighters to enter the village and disperse, and then cornered them.

Chechen Interior Ministry sources confirmed that the militants entered the village and set fire to several homes. But Kadyrov claimed in his personal blog later on August 29 that his men opened fire on the fighters as they were approaching the outskirts of the village and that the fighters were swiftly surrounded and killed.

An unnamed Chechen security official confirmed to Kavkaz-Uzel that at least one of the fighters killed was from Zaurbek Avdorkhanov's group.

Official claims that there were 15-30 attackers are not credible. The insurgents are not amateurs, or mad: One would have had to be both to launch an attack with so few men on one of the most heavily guarded villages in Chechnya, as the website Kavkaz-uzel quoted one local expert as pointing out.

By the same token, the insurgents' account of a three-pronged attack is in line with the objectives they reportedly set -- and accomplished. Their reported losses -- quoted Zaurbek as saying eight fighters were killed -- are credible. And their unsubstantiated claim, citing an unnamed Tsentoroi resident, that the dead men Kadyrov identified as slain attackers were young men who had been held for some time in Kadyrov's private prison in Tsentoroi is entirely in keeping with what is known of his treatment of anyone suspected of abetting, or even sympathizing with the insurgency.

If the Kavkazcenter account is true, then the August 29 operation was, as Moscow-based expert Aleksei Malashenko described it to "The Guardian," a very painful blow against both Kadyrov and Moscow.

It was the largest-scale and most audacious attack launched in Chechnya for over a year. It sends the message that despite reports earlier this month of a rift within the insurgency ranks, the Chechnya-based fighters are still a force to be reckoned with, even though it is not clear whether the attack was ordered by insurgency commander and self-styled leader of the North Caucasus Emirate Doku Umarov or by the four Chechnya-based commanders (Aslambek, Tarkhan, Khuseyn and Mukhannad) who withdrew their support for him following his disavowal of video footage in which he announced his resignation to relinquish the leadership and enjoined fighters to pledge support for one of them as his chosen successor.

Moreover, the insurgency manpower is clearly in excess of the "maximum 70 fighters" Kadyrov claimed on August 10. They have few problems moving freely on densely populated territory controlled by the enemy. They now have a strategist experienced enough to plan and coordinate a three-pronged attack, and three mid-level commanders capable of carrying it out with minimal losses. They have quantities of light weaponry -- Kalashnikovs, machine-guns, sniper rifles, and rocket-propelled grenade launchers (RPGs). The website recently posted footage of a lone masked fighter opening fire from an RPG on the 503rd Motor Rifle Division on August 13.

The Chechen resistance managed to retake Grozny from a numerically superior Russian force in August 1996 armed with only such light weapons. But the insurgency has not launched a large-scale attack involving hundreds of fighters since the death of veteran military strategist Shamil Basayev in July 2006, which raises the question: Who among the current leaders has the know-how to plan such an operation?

Yesterday's attack nonetheless is of huge symbolic significance for the message it sends to one of the most powerful and feared men in Russia: "You can run, but you can't hide, even on your own native turf." Whether it heralds a shift in tactics, at least in Chechnya if not elsewhere in the North Caucasus, is too early to predict.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Canadian87 from: BC
August 31, 2010 02:35
I hope the tyrannical reign of Kadyrov will end soon. I hope the chechen people can regain their freedom. Thank you for your great article!
In Response

by: Katya from: check by ip
August 31, 2010 10:44
LOL. As if there were one bad guy who tyrannized the whole speechless and innocent community. And, back to history, Carl I obviously tyrannized British people, thanks to Cromwell it was finished... for a while. Nothing in common? Well, maybe... :)
In Response

by: Andrew from: Auckland
September 01, 2010 05:34
Katya seems to show the "benefits" of a Russian/Soviet education.

Cromwell was a murdering swine who terrorised the people of the British isles.

Almost as soon as this tyrant was dead he was replaced (by almost unanimous consent) by Charles II, son of the murdered Charles I in the great restoration of the British monarchy.

by: Swedish citizen
August 31, 2010 10:44
May the insurgents attack and attack till the monster kadyrov is put aside by his bosses and the world can see a free North Caucasus where they live as they wanna live. May it be under sharialaw or not. Its their decision and they have the right to have freedom from the russian aggressors...
In Response

by: PutinIsTheMan from: Bulgaria
September 01, 2010 10:13
Let Sharia Law flourish in Sweden, you will learn your lesson in hard way...

Muslim Rape Wave in Sweden - By Fjordman

Swedish girls Malin and Amanda were on their way to a party on New Year’s Eve when they were assaulted, raped and beaten half to death by four Somali immigrants.

The number of rape charges in Sweden has tripled in just above twenty years. Rape cases involving children under the age of 15 are six - 6 - times as common today as they were a generation ago.

According to a new study from the Crime Prevention Council, Brå, it is four times more likely that a known rapist is born abroad, compared to persons born in Sweden. Resident aliens from Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia dominate the group of rape suspects.

Well done Sweden keep going on...

Don't mess up within Putin's backyard.. :)

by: hAMZA from: Belgium
August 31, 2010 13:32
Swedish, thank you :)
In Response

by: Said from: Germany
August 31, 2010 17:59
Thanks for this article. Swedish - you have right, Sharilaw or not - its decision of the People in North Caucasus & the World have to accept that. Thank you for you right words.

by: a from: Norway
August 31, 2010 18:06
I'm so agree with you, Swedish.
In Response

by: guy from: not stupid nordic country
August 31, 2010 22:22
You are all idiots. Sharia law is not freedom it is horrible tyranny. That is why whole families in Pakistan are committing suicide. Probably Russia leaves and they turn their bombers to the west and supporters of Israel. Would you be happy then?

Anyway, if you want to learn about the Caucasus, read the exile. It is an extremely clan based society that will always be at war with one another.
In Response

by: BulgarianRoma from: Bulgaria
September 01, 2010 00:13
Sweden & Norway a haven for Sharia Law.. All chechens are Welcome

Muslim Rape Epidemic in Sweden and Norway - Authorities Look the Other Way

As Robert Spencer has demonstrated, rape can indeed be linked to Islamic teachings of Jihad, and even to the example of Muhammad himself, his Sunna. Above all, it is connected to Islamic notions of the role of women in society, and their behaviour in the public sphere. An Islamic Mufti in Copenhagen sparked a political outcry after publicly declaring that women who refuse to wear headscarves are "asking for rape." Apparently, he isn’t the only Muslim in Europe to think this way:

You can take some Bulgarian and Romanian roma from France too :)
In Response

by: guy from: not stupid nordic country
September 01, 2010 13:52
Here here! These swedes/germans/norweigans support anything bad that comes to the Russians. What was the lesson of Afghanistan? That lighting the fires of Islamic insurgency was a bad idea and in no way controllable? How do you think it will end? With the Taliban in possession of 100 nuclear bombs, ready to nuke India, Israel, or anyone they hate.

The Caucasus is not a Muslim region - the Armenians, Georgians, Ossetians, and others would beg to differ. All of them faced extermination at the hands of the Iranian or Turkish empires. The Russian empire was certainly no savior, but they do know that any retreat of their sponsors is certain annihilation.

by: Ness
August 31, 2010 21:24
1 hour long (i.e. quickly dispersed by any measure) attack of 30-40 (max) poorly trained men at night on some remote village: is it all they could manage to do in the past year?
burned a few houses, killed a couple of men? I by myself could do more damage than that. Half of them are killed, and the rest ran away like scared mad dogs back into the woods to cry about their sharia kingdom fantasies. For Kadyrov, who witnessed full-scale fighting involving thousands of enemy, this doesn't even constitute a smirk or a bad joke, let alone a dangerous warning, as stated in the title of the article. The author of the article is clearly biased in an anti-russian way, giving so much credibility to the separatists claims, which are known to be consistently well exaggerated, to the point where they are laughable. Also, author is quick to jump to some grandiose far-reaching conclusions, which are themselves laughable. Poor article by some propaganda man (wouldn't dare to call him a journalist)
In Response

by: Muhammad from: USA
September 07, 2010 21:11
Remote village, eh? The most heavily fortified city in Chechnya is "remote", is it? That statement casts serious doubts as to whether you know what in God's name you are talking about.

by: KadirovIsTheMan from: City of London - Barbican
August 31, 2010 23:41
In Chechnya, A Blood Feud Ends—and a Despot Digs In

Read more:,8599,2014319,00.html

The men of gun-loving Chechnya, long Russia's most rebellious province, are not known for turning the other cheek. When a member of a Chechen clan is killed, even in a street brawl the vendetta can pass through the generations, obliging the men on both sides to take revenge until their elders have reconciled, or one of the clans is wiped out. So many observers were baffled last week when the region's most notorious feud ended without a fight.

The story began banally enough, with a traffic incident on April 14, 2008. The motorcade of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov was driving through the city of Gudermes when it ran into a convoy carrying a member of the powerful Yamadayev clan. The convoy did not yield, and a gunfight broke out. Soon after, Yamadayevs started getting killed. (See "Russia's Troubled Caucasus: Five Years After Beslan.")

But by August 22, something had changed. Yamadayev traveled that day with his mother to meet Kadyrov in Chechnya, and afterward told reporters that the two men had found "no reasonable causes preventing us from reaching normal relations." Confirming the peace between them, Kadyrov attended a memorial ceremony for one of the Yamadayev brothers. "I forgave Isa Yamadayev for his incorrect statements," Kadyrov told reporters afterward. "He lost two brothers. I feel bad for him."

This is the culmination of a long drive to force all of the Chechen clans — there are more than a hundred — into line behind Kadyrov, who appears to have the unflinching support of the Kremlin. Over the years, the violent separatist insurgency has been pushed out of Chechnya into neighboring Russian republics, a development that human rights groups say involved widespread torture and summary executions committed by Kadyrov's men. Last year, Kadyrov also managed to turn the head of the separatist Chechen government in exile, Akhmed Zakayev, who announced last February that he was ready to return to Chechnya from London to "contribute to a long-term peace."

This announcement splintered the exiled government, leaving only a few dedicated separatists fighting for Chechen independence from abroad. One of them, Ilyas Musayev, told TIME in an interview last month that they would never surrender to Kadyrov. "But there is little we can do," he conceded. "His power there is absolute."

This means that for the foreseeable future, Kadyrov is likely to rule unchallenged, and Chechnya will remain a black hole of human rights abuses inside of Russia's borders. Even the international community has largely given up its criticism of Kadyrov's police state, seeing it as a lost cause, says Helen Krag, a European rights activist and sociologist who has studied Chechnya since the early 1990s.

"Politicians are constantly telling me to forget it.

To stop bothering with this place," she says. "And now the Yamadayevs have given up. I understand them. They don't want to get annihilated."

About This Blog

This blog presents analyst Liz Fuller's personal take on events in the region, following on from her work in the "RFE/RL Caucasus Report." It also aims, to borrow a metaphor from Tom de Waal, to act as a smoke detector, focusing attention on potential conflict situations and crises throughout the region. The views are the author's own and do not represent those of RFE/RL.