Whether or not that allegation is true, it is likely to expedite the demise of embattled Republic of Ingushetia head Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, whose term expires this fall.
The Ingush militant in question was identified as Ibragim Torshkhoyev, who abandoned his studies in Moscow in the fall of 2010 to join the insurgency.
Torshkhoyev said he was quartered at the same mountain base in Ingushetia as Yevloyev, the young Ingush man who blew himself up at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport in January 2011, killing 36 people and injuring a further 130.
But Torshkhoyev claims that Yevloyev was trained for that suicide attack by self-styled North Caucasus Emirate head Doku Umarov. He does not mention Aslan Byutukayev (aka Amir Khamzat), who was identified in video footage with Umarov and Yevloyev as having prepared him psychologically for the terrorist attack.
That video footage also calls into question two other aspects of Torshkhoyev’s story: first, that he, Yevloyev, and Umarov were quartered at the same mountain base in Ingushetia, and second, that “by chance” he overheard Umarov order his long-time lieutenant, Supyan Abdullayev, “not to touch Chiliyev” because the latter paid $1 million in protection money every month.
In the video, Umarov says he made “a long journey” to the base of the Riyadus Salikhiin suicide squad headed by Byutukayev, where Yevloyev would have been trained. But Torshkhoyev cannot simultaneously have been with Umarov elsewhere and at the Riyadus Saliikhin base with Torshkhoyev.
As for Abdullayev, there are grounds for arguing that he spent the winter of 2010-2011 at the base at Verkhny Alkun on the border between Chechnya and Ingushetia where he was killed by aerial bombardment in April 2011, and not at the same base as Umarov.
Yevkurov’s official website has not yet commented on the allegations against Chiliyev, whom Yevkurov named as prime minister in March 2011.
Over the past 15 months, Ingushetia’s opposition Mekhk Kkhel has addressed repeated open letters and appeals to the Russian leadership implicating both Yevkurov and Chiliyev in corruption and the embezzlement of budget funds and demanding their replacement.
While the Kremlin has proven impervious to such appeals, Yevkurov has himself jeopardized his chances of a second term as republic head by openly opposing the proposed amendment to the federal law on direct elections of federation subject heads.
Yevkurov argued publicly that at this stage in Russia’s development, all republic heads should be appointed by the Russian president rather than directly elected.
The Mekhk Kkhel clearly does not have the clout to orchestrate the screening of an interview that is likely to end the political careers of both Chiliyev and Yevkurov. But Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov may have it in his power to do so.
Kadyrov and Yevkurov have been engaged in an acrimonious feud since August 2012 that escalated into a dispute about jurisdiction over territory which both republics lay claim to.
Chiliyev heads the Ingushetian government commission tasked with negotiating with the Chechen side a mutually acceptable solution to that dispute.