During a special operation in Ingushetia that lasted several days, about 20 insurgents were killed or detained. A major terrorist base in Verkhny Alkun was destroyed in an air raid. (This is not the first time air strikes have been used in the spring when the trees have still yet to sprout leaves.) Doku Umarov, the supreme Emir of the Caucasus Emirate, may be among the dead. DNA tests will be used to identify him. But even if Umarov is not among the dead, the sun may be setting on his terrorist organisation.
The Emirate suffered some tangible losses during the past year. Some people who were not only the ideological leaders but the “face” of the movement were lost: preacher Said Buryatsky and “supreme judge” Anzor Astemirov.
The ignominious, even humiliating, capture of Magas, the Emirate’s military leader, also played a part. He was taken away while at home, complete in his slippers.
Add to this a rift with the Chechen wing of the terrorist band, most probably over money; and the story of unrest in Kabarda that also seems to be connected with financial interests and property redistribution. All this hardly increases the locals’ likelihood to back the movement. People see week, not particularly charismatic and or smart guys wrangling each other in the woods over cash and dubious authority. The fact that all this is purportedly done on religious grounds adds to a sense of deceit.
Terrorist No.1’s crimes this year that had the greatest resonance were committed by juveniles.
The public-relations effect of the complicity of “Russian Wahhabites” [Vitaly] Razdobudko and [Maria] Khorosheva in the terrorist movement in the Caucasus is not one of the Emirate’s merits, but rather of its opponents. We first learned that the militants’ interests in the Caucasus are represented by ethnic Slavs not from the terrorists themselves but from the special services. The bandits just latched onto this news to inflate the scale of their movement in the eyes of the local population. But anything about “Russian Wahhabites” is an illusion that was dispelled after the alleged terrorists supposedly blew themselves up in Gubden, Dagestan. Doku (if he is still alive) has been left without any ideological and even physical support. It is known for a fact that during the last raid the sick leader’s cohorts were killed.
Oddly enough, only now, at a time when there is a big question mark over whether Umarov is alive, the investigative agencies have decided to challenge the man legally. On the first anniversary of the bombings in the Moscow metro, the Investigative Committee announced that Doku Umarov and Aslan Byutukayev (also known as “Amir Khamzat”) have been charged, in absentia, of complicity in the explosion at Domodedovo airport. They are charged with banditry and founding a criminal organisation. Apparently, investigation’s move was prompted by a video made shortly before the terrorist attack in which Umarov and Byutukayev introduce future suicide bomber Magomed Yevloyev, who for his part says some ritual phrases. Such clips, some featuring Umarov, have appeared before other high-profile terrorist attacks, including last year’s metro bombings. At the time, however, investigators kept quiet. Perhaps they thought that Doku was trying to lead them down the wrong path?