Kavkazcenter.com, the website of the North Caucasus Islamic insurgency, posted on March 8 the transcript
of an address in Russian, dated February 19, by the self-styled amir of the North Caucasus, Dokka Umarov.
Umarov rejects as untrue claims by various Russian and North Caucasus officials that he has been killed, and/or that the insurgency is rapidly losing strength.
On January 11, Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov told Chechen Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov his top priority
in 2010 should be to capture or kill Umarov. Rumors that Umarov was among the fighters killed in the counterterror operation in Ingushetia's Sunzha Raion in early February proved false
Umarov says in his address there is every reason to estimate the strength of the insurgency at 10,000, 20,000, or even 30,000 men. At the same time, he admits, as he did in an interview four years ago
with RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service, that he does not have the means to train and arm all volunteers who wish to join the jihad. The number of fighters currently under arms is, however, "perfectly adequate at this stage," he adds. Umarov further predicts that given further resources, he could immediately increase the number of fighters five or even 10 times.
Commenting on Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's January decision to create a separate North Caucasus federal district, Umarov vows that his men will liberate not only Krasnodar Krai, which does not belong to that district, but also Astrakhan and the Volga region.
He described Krasnodar as the historic homeland of "our brothers the Adygs, Abazins, and Cherkess...the best Muslims on this planet."