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War Hero In Russia, Villain In Chechnya, Security Officer Honored With A Street In Grozny

Many Chechens say German Ugryumov's operations included the kidnapping of villagers, who were then tortured and killed in the notorious Khankala military base east of Grozny.
He was a man many Chechens believed responsible for the disappearances, torture, and killings of civilians during Chechnya's bloody war.

Now, German Ugryumov, a Russian security official who oversaw a series of military operations in Chechnya, has a street named in his honor in central Grozny.

Chechen officials renamed Dagestanskaya Street after Ugryumov, who was in charge of so-called "antiterrorist operations" in Chechnya.

In a ceremony on March 19, Chechnya's pro-Kremlin leader Ramzan Kadyrov praised Ugryumov's role in defending what he called "the constitutional order and the fight against terrorism" in Chechnya.

Joining Kadyrov in the renaming ceremony was Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia's Security Council. Patrushev said naming a street after Ugryumov, who died of a heart attack in 2001, will ensure that "the memory of the man will live on" in Chechnya.

Ugryumov rose through the ranks of the Soviet Navy as a counterintelligence officer and later, the Federal Security Service (FSB). He masterminded the arrest of Chechen warlord Salman Raduyev in 2000.

When Putin transferred the supervision of military operations in Chechnya to the FSB in 2001, he put Ugryumov in charge of the regional counterterrorist staff. In 2000, Putin awarded him with the Hero of Russia title for his role in the Chechen war.

Those operations, however, were notoriously known among Chechens as "zachistki," or cleansings, in which security officers aggressively swept through villages in search of alleged militants.

Many Chechens say Ugryumov's operations included the kidnapping of villagers, who were then tortured and killed in the notorious Khankala military base east of Grozny.

Grozny resident Khuseyn Khatayev says that Ugryumov "is a hero for the other side, for [Russia]," but "here in Chechnya people have a different perception of him."

He continues: "People suffered. And the reason behind it was the war and military operations. Someone led those operations, he took part in those operations. I don't understand this decision. I think the authorities don't know what they are creating."

One Grozny resident told that Chechens "have an extremely negative attitude to the FSB and its leaders," who they believe were behind "many war crimes" against civilians.

Naming a street after Ugryumov continues a trend in the Chechen capital. The newly renamed Ugryumov Street intersects with Putin Avenue. Another street bears the name of Russian General Gennady Troshev, who once reportedly said the Grozny ruins following the war should be left intact as a "warning" for Chechens.

RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service contributed to this report
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    Farangis Najibullah

    Farangis Najibullah is a senior correspondent for RFE/RL who has reported on a wide range of topics from Central Asia, including the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the region. She has extensively covered efforts by Central Asian states to repatriate and reintegrate their citizens who joined Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.