Monday, July 24, 2006

Could someone following Chechnya please explain to me what Akhmed Zakayev meant when he said this in a recent interview (emphasis mine):

But Russia, too, with every year is getting further and further away from ensuring its security. The war has spread all over North Caucasus long ago. This year, two new fronts of the ChRI [Chechen Republic of Ichkeria] Armed Forces were created in Russia itself – the Urals Front and the Volga Front.

What the fuck is he talking about?

Also, is he still based at the London Hilton?


  1. Veronica,

    Zakayev seems to be repeating propaganda (whether based in fact or not) put about at various times since the killing of Maskhadov by Doku Umarov (and Sadulayev) that their forces had formed new, I suppose one might say, paramilitary units, "to take the fight to Russia", with the intention of opening up, i think, "seven, new fronts": although the language used to describe this has previously been far more of an Islamist nature than Chechen nationalist/related to the "Chechen Republic of Ichkeria". I'm pretty sure I read about it in RFERL newsline, so searching their archives should turn up some more. What basis such wild claims have to reality I would not like to guess.

  2. There are some recent interviews here.

    Whether he is living at the Hilton or not I don't know, but he certainly is in London, has friends in very high places and recently addressed the House of Lords.

    Zakayev was represented by Cherie (Mrs Tony) Blair's law firm, who wangled a British passport for Mr. Berezovsky and some other so-called 'human rights' refugees from Russia.

    It's all a re-run of the Cold War days. Let's embarrass Russia. I expect Zak will get a Nobel Peace Prize soon. Cherie Blair as you probably know is protesting Putin's removal of foreign NGOs in Russia on human rights grounds. She appears to see no conflict in campaigning for human rights while being married to a war criminal.

  3. RFE/RL's Liz Fuller had a fairly informative article , dated July 10, about the recent reorganization of the Chechen resistance.

    In particular, she noted that

    "Neither the death of Maskhadov nor that of Sadulayev appears to have deterred many young men across the North Caucasus from joining the ranks of the resistance. Umarov said in an interview with RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service in April, and again in a recent interview with the Turkish daily 'Vakit,' that the resistance has far more potential recruits to choose from than it can provide weapons for. In other words, the weak point of the resistance is not a lack of manpower, but a lack of funds.

    "Moreover, the resistance drafted and endorsed four years ago -- while Maskhadov was still alive -- a plan of action for the period until 2010. The decision by Sadulayev in May 2005 to establish six fronts, four within Chechnya, one in Daghestan, and one for the rest of the North Caucasus -- the latter subdivided into separate sectors for Ingushetia, North Ossetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Stavropol, Karachayevo-Cherkessia, and Krasnodar Krai -- is presumably part of that plan. Also likely to be part of that plan, is the decision made on July 8 by the State War Council to establish new fronts in the Urals and the Volga region."

    On the same day, the Russian military analyst Alexander Golts talked about the dangers of a decentralized resistance, and said in an RFE/RL interview:

    "When the actions of the enemy are controlled from a single center, it is always possible to infiltrate it and to learn of his plans. There is always the possibility, with help and technology and good intelligence, of learning where the enemy is concentrated in order to prepared for his blows. When the resistance is decentralized, and this is exactly what will definitely happen if Basayev's death is confirmed, the problems are only increased, because it is impossible to track the activity of 10 or 20 or 50 field commanders who don't take orders from anyone and who prepared their operations based only on their own ideas."

    Re Akhmed Zakayev and the Hilton Hotel: the Waldorf Hilton in London has been the location of several of Zakayev's meetings with Russian and foreign political and human rights representatives. For example, it was at the Waldorf Hilton that Zakayev met with Valentina Melnikova, the leader of Russia's largest human rights group, the Committee of Soldiers' Mothers, in February 2005:

    As for Zakayev's place of residence: his London address is secret, like that of Alexander Litvinenko, who is also wanted by the FSB.

  4. Hi liked reading your blog, quite interesting,Wish you well

  5. I'm not a great fan of Putin, and I can't agree that Tony Blair is a war criminal, but I join everyone else in my loathing of Cherie Blair.

    Putin should have spun on his heel and walked off as soon as she opened her trap, or at least stuck his nose an inch from hers and said:

    "Who the fuck are you?"