Accessibility links

The Eight Horsemen Of The North Caucasus Apocalypse


President Boris Yeltsin (left) urged the heads of Russia's republics in 1990 to "grab as much sovereignty as you can swallow." But when Chechnya's Dzhokhar Dudayev took him at his word, Yeltsin took offense, refused to negotiate a peaceful solution to the standoff, and ended up sending in the tanks.
1

President Boris Yeltsin (left) urged the heads of Russia's republics in 1990 to "grab as much sovereignty as you can swallow." But when Chechnya's Dzhokhar Dudayev took him at his word, Yeltsin took offense, refused to negotiate a peaceful solution to the standoff, and ended up sending in the tanks.

Described by former Chechen Foreign Minister Ilyas Akhmadov as the "archetypal revolutionary," Shamil Basayev fought in both wars, ran unsuccessfully against Aslan Maskhadov in the 1997 presidential election, lost a foot in the January 2000 retreat from Grozny, and recruited and trained a whole new generation of fighters before his death in 2006.
3

Described by former Chechen Foreign Minister Ilyas Akhmadov as the "archetypal revolutionary," Shamil Basayev fought in both wars, ran unsuccessfully against Aslan Maskhadov in the 1997 presidential election, lost a foot in the January 2000 retreat from Grozny, and recruited and trained a whole new generation of fighters before his death in 2006.

The Saudi-born Khattab came to Chechnya in 1995 after several years fighting in Afghanistan, recruited his own band of fighters, and swiftly became a legend. In 1997 he set up a camp south of Grozny where hundreds of young men underwent military training and studied Salafi Islam. Chechen children adored him. He was poisoned in 2002, possibly by an FSB agent.
4

The Saudi-born Khattab came to Chechnya in 1995 after several years fighting in Afghanistan, recruited his own band of fighters, and swiftly became a legend. In 1997 he set up a camp south of Grozny where hundreds of young men underwent military training and studied Salafi Islam. Chechen children adored him. He was poisoned in 2002, possibly by an FSB agent.

Putin engineered the election in 2002 of career FSB officer Murat Zyazikov to replace Afghan war hero General Ruslan Aushev as Ingushetia's president. Zyazikov's name is synonymous with corruption, economic stagnation, spiraling violence, and the "accidental" killing of prominent civil leader Magomed Yevloyev. He now works as an "adviser" to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and lives in a Moscow apartment reportedly worth almost $4 million.
6

Putin engineered the election in 2002 of career FSB officer Murat Zyazikov to replace Afghan war hero General Ruslan Aushev as Ingushetia's president. Zyazikov's name is synonymous with corruption, economic stagnation, spiraling violence, and the "accidental" killing of prominent civil leader Magomed Yevloyev. He now works as an "adviser" to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and lives in a Moscow apartment reportedly worth almost $4 million.

As an adolescent, Ramzan Kadyrov idolized first Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudayev, then Shamil Basayev. As republic head, he has milked Moscow for billions of rubles in budget subsidies and imposed a bizarre and perverted interpretation of traditional Chechen Sufi Islam, accompanied by a republic-wide ban on sales of alcohol and a strict dress code for women.
7

As an adolescent, Ramzan Kadyrov idolized first Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudayev, then Shamil Basayev. As republic head, he has milked Moscow for billions of rubles in budget subsidies and imposed a bizarre and perverted interpretation of traditional Chechen Sufi Islam, accompanied by a republic-wide ban on sales of alcohol and a strict dress code for women.

A self-confessed former racketeer, Doku Umarov returned to his native Chechnya when the first war erupted in 1994 and took over as president and resistance commander in 2006. Russian security personnel have prematurely announced his death in combat on countless occasions. His rejection of the cause of Chechen independence and authoritarian style impelled several veteran commanders to rebel against him last year. (Text by Liz Fuller)
8

A self-confessed former racketeer, Doku Umarov returned to his native Chechnya when the first war erupted in 1994 and took over as president and resistance commander in 2006. Russian security personnel have prematurely announced his death in combat on countless occasions. His rejection of the cause of Chechen independence and authoritarian style impelled several veteran commanders to rebel against him last year. (Text by Liz Fuller)

XS
SM
MD
LG