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Shamil Salmanovich Basayev
January 14, 1965 - July 10, 2006 (aged 41)
Shamil Basaev crop.jpg
Shamil Basayev during the First Chechen War, December 1995.
Nickname Abdallah Shamil Abu-Idris
Place of birth Dyshne-Vedeno, Chechnya
Place of death Ekazhevo, Ingushetia
Allegiance Flag of Chechen Republic of Ichkeria.svg Chechen Republic of Ichkeria
Commands held Islamic Peacekeeping Brigade
Caucasian Front
Supreme Military Majlis-ul Shura of the United Mujahideen Forces of the Caucasus[1]
Congress of the Peoples of Ichkeria and Dagestan[1]
Battles/wars Georgian-Abkhazian conflict
Nagorno-Karabakh War
First Chechen War
Dagestan War
Second Chechen War

Shamil Salmanovich Basayev (Russian: Шамиль Салманович Басаев; January 14, 1965 – July 10, 2006) was a Chechen militant Islamist and a leader of the Chechen separatist movement.

Starting as a field commander in the Transcaucasus, Basayev led guerrilla campaigns against the Russian troops for years as well as launching mass-hostage takings of civilians with his goal being the withdrawal of Russian soldiers from Chechnya.[2] Beginning in 2003, Basayev used the nom de guerre and title of Emir Abdallah Shamil Abu-Idris. In 1997-1998 he also served as vice-Prime minister of Chechnya in Maskhadov's government.

Basayev was considered by some as the undisputed leader of the radical wing of the Chechen insurgency. He was responsible for numerous guerrilla attacks on security forces in and around Chechnya as well as terrorist attacks on civilians, most notoriously the attack on a school in Beslan, located in North Ossetia, which led to the deaths of more than 385 people, most of them children.[3][4][5]

Basayev was killed by an explosion on July 10, 2006. Controversy still surrounds who is responsible for his death, with the Russians claiming he was assassinated by the FSB, Chechens claiming he died in an accidental explosion, and other sources claiming a rival insurgent group assassinated him.


Early life

Shamil Basayev was born in the village of Dyshne-Vedeno, near Vedeno, in south-eastern Chechnya to Chechen parents from the Benoy teip. According to Gennady Troshev he has some distant Russian ancestry.[6] He was named after Imam Shamil, the third imam of Dagestan and Chechnya and the last leader of anti-Russian Avar-Chechen forces in the Caucasian War.

His family is said to have had a long history of involvement in Chechen resistance to Russian rule. His grandfather fought for the abortive attempt to create a breakaway North Caucasian Emirate after the Russian Revolution.[7] The Basayevs, along with most of the rest of the Chechen population, were deported to Kazakhstan during World War II on the orders of the NKVD leader Lavrenti Beria as a means of cutting off support to the 1940-1944 Chechnya insurgency. They were only allowed to return when the deportation order was lifted by Nikita Khrushchev in 1957.

Basayev, an avid football player, graduated from school in Dyshne-Vedeno in 1982, aged 17, and spent the next two years in the Soviet military serving as a firefighter (Chechens were usually kept away from the combat units). For the next four years, he worked at the Aksaiisky state farm in the Volgograd region of southern Russia before moving to Moscow.

He reportedly attempted to enroll in the law school of the Moscow State University but failed, and instead entered the Moscow Engineering Institute of Land Management in 1987. However, he was expelled for poor grades in 1988. He subsequently worked as a computer salesman in Moscow, in partnership with a local Chechen businessman, Supyan Taramov. Ironically, the two men ended up on opposite sides in the Chechen wars, during which Taramov sponsored a pro-Russian Chechen militia (Sobaka magazine's dossier on Basayev reported that Taramov apparently equipped or "outfitted" this group of pro-Russian Chechens; they were also known as "Shamil Hunters"). In later interviews, Taramov would claim he hired Basayev as a favor for a family friend, and that the latter was an ineffectual worker who would spend whole nights playing video games, sleep during the day, and had an obsession with Che Guevara.

Basayev's early militant activities

When some hardline members of Soviet government attempted to stage a coup d'état in August 1991, Basayev allegedly joined supporters of Russian President Boris Yeltsin on the barricades around the Russian White House in central Moscow, armed with hand grenades.[8]

A few months later, in November 1991, the Chechen nationalist leader Dzhokhar Dudayev unilaterally declared independence from the newly-formed Russian Federation. In response, Yeltsin announced a state of emergency and dispatched troops to the border of Chechnya. It was then that Basayev began his long and notorious career as an insurgent — seeking to draw international attention to the crisis. Basayev, Lom-Ali Chachayev, and the group's leader, Said-Ali Satuyev, a former airline pilot suffering from schizophrenia[citation needed], hijacked an Aeroflot Tu-154 plane, en route from Mineralnye Vody in Russia to Ankara on November 9, 1991, and threatened to blow up the aircraft unless the state of emergency was lifted. The hijacking was resolved peacefully in Turkey, with the plane and passengers being allowed to return safely and the hijackers given safe passage back to Chechnya.

Basayev and several hundred other Chechens have been accused of training in Al-Qaeda camps in Afganistan or Pakistan[citation needed]. Rohan Gunaratna, has made allegations that Basayev, along other leading militants such as Ibn Al-Khattab and Walid have all had close relations with Osama bin Laden, and they have, in turn, set up terrorist camps in Chechnya.[9] Rohan has still yet failed to put forward any concrete evidence in support of these claims, and has been in the past questioned over his linking multiple persons to Al-Qaeda without having any real expertise in the topic.[10]

Georgian-Abkhaz conflict

The following year, 1992, Basayev traveled to Abkhazia, a breakaway region of Georgia, to assist the local separatist movement against the Georgian government's attempts to regain control of the region—a conflict in which, ultimately, a minority of 93,000 Abkhaz were successful in ethnically purging a majority of Georgians (numbering some 250,000) from the region. Basayev became the commander-in-chief of the forces of the Confederation of Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus (a volunteer unit of pan-Caucasian nationalists, composed mainly of Chechens and other Muslim people form the Caucuses). Their involvement was crucial in the Abkhazian war and in October 1993 the Georgian government suffered a decisive military defeat, after which most of the ethnic Georgian population of the region was driven out by ethnic cleansing.

It was rumored that the volunteers were trained and supplied by some part of the Russian army's GRU military intelligence service. According to The Independent journalist Patrick Cockburn, Shamil Basayev "cooperation between Mr Basayev and the Russian army is not so surprising as it sounds. "In 1992-93 he is widely believed to have received assistance from the GRU when he and his brother Shirvani fought in Abkhazia, a breakaway part of Georgia". No specific evidence was given. [11]

After Abkhazia

Few authoritative accounts of Basayev's life after Abkhazia exist. According to some sources, Basayev moved on to Azerbaijan, where he aided Azerbaijani forces in their unsuccessful war against Karabakhi-Armenian fighters in the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. He was said to having led a battalion-strength Chechen contingent. According to Azeri Colonel Azer Rustamov, in 1992, "hundreds of Chechen volunteers rendered us invaluable help in these battles led by Shamil Basayev and Salman Raduyev". Basayev was said to be one of the last fighters to leave Shusha (see Capture of Shusha). Basayev later said during his career, he and his battalion had only lost once, and that defeat came in Karabakh in fighting against the "Dashnak battalion". He later said he pulled his mujahideen out of the conflict when the war seemed to be more for nationalism than for jihad. During the conflict, Basayev was first introduced to the pan-Islamic revolutionary Amir Ibn Khattab.[12]

Other sources claim that after Abkhazia, Basayev moved to Chechnya and became a successful entrepreneur in the Chechen mafia, organizing train-car theft and drug dealing networks. Pro-Chechen sources claim that such allegations about Basayev's criminal activity were disseminated by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) and were untrue. According to Basayev himself, millions of dollars were donated to him by unnamed foreign businessmen from the Chechen diaspora.[13]

Basayev's role in the First Chechen War


The First Chechen War began when Russian forces invaded Chechnya on December 11, 1994, to depose the government of Dzhokhar Dudayev. With the outbreak of war, Dudayev made Basayev one of the front-line commanders. Basayev took an active role in the resistance, successfully commanding his "Abkhaz Battalion." The unit inflicted major losses on Russian forces in the Battle of Grozny, Chechnya's capital, which lasted from December 1994 to February 1995. Basayev's men were among the last rebels to abandon the city.


After capturing Grozny, the momentum changed in favor of the Russian forces, and by April Chechen forces had been pushed into the mountains with most of their equipment destroyed. Basayev's "Abkhaz Battalion" suffered many casualties, particularly during battles around Vedeno in May and their ranks sank to as low as 200 men, critically low on supplies.

At this time, Basayev also suffered a personal tragedy. On June 3, 1995, during a Russian air raid on Basayev's hometown of Dyshne-Vedeno, two bombs landed on the home of Basayev's uncle, and six children, four women, and the uncle were killed. Basayev's wife and child were among the dead, as was his sister Zinaida. Twelve members of Basayev's family were injured in the attack.[14] One of his brothers was also killed in fighting near Vedeno.

In an attempt to force a stop to the Russian advance, some Chechen forces resorted to a series of attacks directed against civilian targets outside the area that they claimed. Basayev led the most famous such attack, the Budyonnovsk hospital hostage crisis in June 14, 1995, less than two weeks after he lost his family in the air raids. Shamil's large band seized the Budyonnovsk hospital in southern Russia and the 1,600 people inside for a period of several days. At least 129 civilians died and 415 were wounded during the crisis as the Russian special forces repeatedly attempted to free the hostages by force. Although Basayev failed in his principal demand for the removal of Russian forces from Chechnya, he did successfully negotiate a stop to the Russian advance and an initiation of peace talks with the Russian government, saving the Chechen resistance by giving them time to regroup and recover. Basayev and his fighters then returned back to Chechnya under cover of the human shields.

The media coverage surrounding the hostage-taking and his safe retreat propelled the then mostly unknown Basayev into the international spotlight, and made him Chechnya's most famed national hero[citation needed] overnight.

On November 23, Basayev announced on the Russian NTV television channel, that four cases of radioactive material had been hidden around Moscow. Russian emergency teams roamed the city with Geiger counters, and located several canisters of Caesium, which had been stolen from the Budennovsk hospital by the Chechen militants. The incident has been called "the most important sub-state use of radiological material."[9]


By 1996 Basayev had been promoted to the rank of General and Commander of the Chechen Armed Forces. In July 1996 he was implicated in the death of the rogue Chechen warlord Ruslan Labazanov.[citation needed]

In August 1996, he led a successful operation to retake the Chechen capital Grozny, defeating the Russian garrison of the city.[15] Yeltsin's government finally moved for peace, bringing in former Soviet-Afghan War General Aleksandr Lebed as a negotiator. A peace agreement was concluded between the Chechens and Russians, under which the Chechens acquired de facto independence from Russia.

Interwar period

Basayev stepped down from his military position in December 1996 to run for president in Chechnya's second (and the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria's first and only ever internationally-monitored) presidential elections. Basayev came in second place to Aslan Maskhadov, obtaining 23.5% of the votes. Allegedly Basayev found the defeat very painful.

In early 1997 he was appointed vice-Prime Minister of Chechnya by Maskhadov. In January 1998 he became the acting head of the Chechen government for a six month term, after which he resigned. Basayev's appointment was symbolic because it took place on the eve of the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of his renowned namesake. Basayev subsequently reduced the government's administrative departments and abolished several ministries. However, the collection of taxes and the Chechen National Bank's reserves shrunk, and theft of petroleum products increased seriously.

Maskhadov worked with Basayev until 1998, when Basayev established a network of military officers, who soon became rival warlords. As Chechnya collapsed into chaos, Basayev's reputation began to plummet as he and others were accused of corruption and involvement in kidnapping; his alliance with Arab jihadi Ibn al-Khattab also alienated many of the Chechens. By early 1998 Basayev emerged as the main political opponent of the Chechen president, who in his opinion was "pushing the republic back to the Russian Federation." On March 31, 1998, Basayev called for the termination of talks with Russia; on July 7, 1998, he sent a letter of resignation from the post of the Chechen Prime Minister.

During these years he wrote Book of a Mujahiddeen, an Islamic guerilla manual.[16]

Invasion of Dagestan

In December 1997, after Movladi Udugov's Islamic Nation party had called for Chechnya to annex territories in neighbouring Dagestan, Basayev promised to "liberate" neighbouring Dagestan from its status as "a Russian colony".[17]

According to Alexander Litvinenko's book Death of a Dissident, Kremlin-critic Boris Berezovsky said that he had a conversation with the Chechen Islamist leader Movladi Udugov in 1999, six months before the beginning of fighting in Dagestan.[18] A transcript of the phone conversation between Berezovsky and Udugov was leaked to one of Moscow tabloids on September 10, 1999.[19] Udugov proposed to start the Dagestan war to provoke the Russian response, topple the Chechen president Aslan Maskhadov and establish new Islamic republic of Basayev-Udugov that would be friendly to Russia. Berezovsky asserted that he refused the offer, but "Udugov and Basayev conspired with Stepashin and Putin to provoke a war to topple Maskhadov ... but the agreement was for the Russian army to stop at the Terek River. However, Putin double-crossed the Chechens and started an all-out war."[18] However, Litvinenko and Berezovsky provided little evidence for their claims. Researcher Henry Plater-Zyberk has described Litvinenko as "a one man disinformation bureau" who was hungry for attention and provided little, if any, evidence for his claims.[20]

It was also alleged that Alexander Voloshin, a key figure in the Yeltsin administration, paid Basayev to stage the Dagestan incursion,[21] and that Basayev was working for the Russian GRU at the time.[22][23][24] According to the BBC, conspiracy theories are part of the staple diet of Moscow politics.[25]

In August 1999, Basayev and Khattab led a 1,400-strong army of Islamist fighters in unsuccessful attempt to aid Dagestani Wahhabists to take over the neighboring Republic of Dagestan and establish a new Chechen-Dagestan Islamic republic. By the end of the month, Russian forces had managed to repel the invasion.

In early September, a series of bombings of Russian apartment blocks took place, killing 293 people. The attacks were blamed on terrorists with Chechen links. Basayev, Ibn Al-Khattab and Achemez Gochiyaev were named by Russia as key suspects. Gochiyaev's group was trained at Chechen rebel bases in the towns of Serzhen-Yurt and Urus-Martan, where the explosives were prepared. The group's "technical instructors" were two Arab field commanders, Abu Umar and Abu Djafar, and Al-Khattab was the bombings' brainchild.[26] Two members of Gochiyayev's group that carried out the attacks, Adam Dekkushev and Yusuf Crymshamhalov, have been sentenced to life term each in a special-regime colony.[27] According to FSB, Basayev and Al-Khattab masterminded the attacks.[28] Al-Khattab has been killed, but Gochiyaev remains a fugitive.

Although Basayev and Khattab denied responsibility, the Russian government blamed the Chechen government for allowing Basayev to use Chechnya as a base. Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov denied any involvement in the attacks, and offered a crackdown on the renegade warlords, which Russia refused. Commenting on the attacks, Shamil Basayev said: "The latest blast in Moscow is not our work, but the work of the Dagestanis. Russia has been openly terrorizing Dagestan, it encircled three villages in the centre of Dagestan, did not allow women and children to leave."[25] Al-Khattab, who is reportedly close with Basayev, said the attacks were a response to what the Russians had done in Karamakhi and Chabanmakhi, two Dagestani villages where followers of the Wahhabi sect were living until the Russian army bombed them out.[29] A group called the Liberation army of Dagestan claimed responsibility for the apartment bombings.[29][30][31][32]

The new Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, famously promised a harsh crackdown on "Chechen terrorists": "We'll get them anywhere. If we find terrorists in the shithouse, then we'll waste them in the shithouse. That's all there is to it." By the end of September the Second Chechen War was underway.

Second Chechen War


Basayev stayed in Grozny for the duration of the siege of the city. His threats of "kamikaze" attacks in Russia were widely dismissed as a bluff.


During the rebel withdrawal from Grozny in January 2000 Basayev lost a foot after stepping on a land mine while leading his men through a minefield. The operation to amputate his foot and part of his leg was videotaped by Adam Tepsurgayev and later televised by Russia's NTV network and Reuters, showing his foot being removed by Khassan Baiev[33] using a local anaesthetic while Basayev watched impassively.

Despite this injury, Basayev eluded Russian capture together with other rebels by hiding in forests and mountains. He welcomed assistance from foreign fighters from Afghanistan and other Islamic countries, encouraging them to join the Chechen cause. He also ordered the execution of nine Russian OMON prisoners on April 4, 2000; the men were killed because the Russians had refused to swap them for Yuri Budanov, an arrested army officer accused of raping and killing an 18-year-old Chechen girl. [1]

On August 27, Basayev challenged Vladimir Putin to a personal duel, saying "The choice of weapon we leave to you. I am not the best sportsman and you are not invalid. So do agree. It will be more useful and more economical to both our peoples, and for the rest of mankind." There was no official response from Putin.

In December, Basayev married his third wife. Among his wedding presents were reportedly three Russian POWs.[34]


According to the US State Department, Basayev trained in Al-Qaida's terrorist camps in Afghanistan in 2001. The US also alleges that Basayev and Al-Khattab sent Chechens to serve in Al-Qaeda's "055" brigade, fighting alongside the Taleban against the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan.[35]

On June 2, 2001, it was reported General Gennady Troshev, then-commander-in-chief of Russian forces in Chechnya, had offered a bounty of one million dollars to anyone who would bring him the head of Basayev.

In August, Basayev commanded a large-scale raid on the Vedensky District. A deputy commander of Russian forces in Chechnya claimed Basayev was wounded in a firefight.[36]


In January 2002, Basayev's father, Salman, was reputedly killed by Russian forces.[37] This has not been independently confirmed. Shamil's younger brother, Shirvani, was reported dead by the Russians in 2000, but is, according to numerous accounts, actually living in exile in Turkey where he is involved in coordination of the activities of the diaspora.[citation needed]

In May, the Russian side declared Basayev "dead".[38] The Russian military had also made several claims about Basayev's alleged death in the past.

Around November 2, 2002, Basayev claimed on a rebel website that he was responsible for the Moscow theater hostage crisis (although the siege was led by Movsar Barayev) in which 50 Chechen rebels held about 800 people hostage; Russian forces later stormed the building using gas, killing the rebels and more than 100 hostages. Basayev also tendered his resignation from all posts in Maskhadov's government apart from the reconnaissance and sabotage battalion. He defended the operation but asked Maskhadov for forgiveness for not informing him of it.[citation needed] The answer to who was behind the hostage taking, however, is a not so clear – some dissidents claim, including Alexander Litvinenko, claim that the FSB was behind the Moscow theater incident.

On December 27, 2002, Chechen suicide bombers rammed vehicles into the republic's government headquarters in Grozny, bringing down the four-story building and killing about 80 people. Basayev claimed responsibility, published the video of the attack, and said he personally triggered the bombs by remote control.[39]


On May 12, 2003, suicide bombers rammed a truck loaded with explosives into a Russian government compound in Znamenskoye, northern Chechnya, killing 59 people. Two days later a woman got within six feet of Akhmad Kadyrov, the head of the Moscow-appointed Chechen administration, and blew herself up killing herself and 14 people; Kadyrov was unhurt. Basayev claimed responsibility for both attacks; Maskhadov denounced them.

From June until August 2003 Basayev lived in the town of Baksan in nearby Kabardino-Balkaria. Eventually, a skirmish took place between the rebels and policemen from Baksan, who came to check what turned out to be Basayev's safehouse. Basayev escaped, killing a local police official.

On August 8, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell designated Shamil Basayev a threat to U.S. security and citizens.

In late 2003, Basayev claimed responsibility for terrorist bombings in both Moscow and Yessentuki in Stavropol Krai. He said both attacks were carried out by the group operating under his command.[40]

Victims of the Beslan school attack

On May 9, 2004, the pro-Russian Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov was killed in Grozny in a bomb attack for which Basayev later claimed responsibility. That explosion killed at least six people and wounded nearly 60, including the top Russian military commander in Chechnya, who lost his leg; Basayev called it a "small but important victory".

Basayev was accused of commanding the June 21 raid on Nazran in the Russian republic of Ingushetia. In fact, he was shown in a video made of the raid, in which he led a large group of militants. Around 90 people died in this attack, mostly local servicemen and officials of the Russian security forces including the republic's acting Interior Minister. The Ministry building was burned down.

In September 2004 Basayev claimed responsibility for the Beslan school siege in which over 350 people, most of them children, were killed and hundreds more injured.[41] The Russian government put up a bounty of 300m rubles ($10m) for information leading to his capture.[42] Basayev himself did not participate in the seizure of the school, but claimed to have organized and financed the attack, boasting that the whole operation cost only 8,000 euros. On September 17, 2004, Basayev issued a statement claiming responsibility for the school siege, saying his Riyadus-Salihiin "Martyr Battalion" had carried out this and other attacks. In his message, Basayev described the Beslan massacre as a "terrible tragedy" and blamed it on Russian President Vladimir Putin.[43][44]

Basayev also claimed responsibility for the attacks against civilians during the previous week, in which a metro station in Moscow was bombed (killing 10 people), and two airliners were blown up by suicide bombers (killing 89 people).[41] Basayev dubbed these attacks "Operation Boomerang". He also said that during the Beslan crisis he offered Putin "independence in exchange for security".[45]


On February 3, 2005, UK's Channel 4 announced that it would air Basayev's interview. In response, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the broadcast could aid terrorists in achieving their goals and demanded that the Government of the United Kingdom call off the broadcast. The British Foreign Office replied that it could not intervene in the affairs of a private TV channel and the interview was aired as scheduled.[46] The same day, Russian media reported that Shamil Basayev had been killed;[47] it was the sixth such report about Basayev's demise since 1999.[47]

In May 2005, Basayev reportedly claimed responsibility for the power outage in Moscow.[48] The BBC reported that the claim for responsibility was made on a web site connected to Basayev, but conflicted with official reports that sabotage was not involved.

Even though Basayev had a $10 million bounty on his head, he gave an interview to Russian journalist Andrei Babitsky in which he described himself as "a bad guy, a bandit, a terrorist ... but what would you call them?", referring to his enemies. Basayev stated each Russian had to feel war's impact before the Chechen war would stop. Basayev asked "Officially, over 40,000 of our children have been killed and tens of thousands mutilated. Is anyone saying anything about that? ... responsibility is with the whole Russian nation, which through its silent approval gives a 'yes'."[49] This interview was broadcast on U.S. television network ABC's Nightline program, to the protest of the Russian government; on August 2, 2005, Moscow banned journalists of the ABC network from working in Russia.[50]

On August 23, 2005, Basayev rejoined the Chechen separatist government, taking the post of first deputy chairman.[51] Later this year Basayev claimed responsibility for a raid on Nalchik, the capital of the Russian republic of Kabardino-Balkaria.[52] The raid occurred on October 13, 2005; Basayev said that he and his "main units" were only in the city for two hours and then left. There were reports that he had died during the raid, but this was contradicted when the separatist website, Kavkaz Center, posted a letter from him.[52]


In March 2006, Prime Minister of Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, claimed that upwards of 3,000 police officers were hunting for Basayev in the southern mountains.[53] On June 15, 2006, Basayev repeated his claim of responsibility for the bombing that killed Akhmad Kadyrov, saying he had paid $50,000 to those who carried out the assassination. He also said he had put a $25,000 bounty on the head of Ramzan, mocking the young Kadyrov in offering the smaller bounty.

On June 27, 2006, Shamil Basayev was made Ichkeria's Vice-President. On July 10, 2006, in his last statement at 1.06 pm Moscow time, Kavkaz Center quoted him as thanking the Mujahideen Shura Council for executing the three captured Russian diplomats in Iraq and calling it "a worthy answer to the murder by Russian terrorists from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation of the Chechen diplomat, ex-president of CRI, Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev".


On July 10, 2006, Shamil Basayev was killed in the village of Ekazhevo, in Ingushetia, a republic bordering Chechnya.[54] According to Chechen sources Basayev was riding in one of the cars escorting a KamAZ truck filled with explosives in preparation for an attack when the truck, hitting a pothole, exploded, killing Basayev and three other rebels. Russian officials state that this explosion was the result of the planned special operation. According to the official version of Basayev's death, a detonator with a remote control hidden in one of the explosives was detonated by FSB agents, when they had spotted Basayev's car near the truck through UAV video surveillance. A Russian "mole" in Basayev's force reportedly planted the explosives and was reportedly paid £250,000 for his part in the assassination.[citation needed] Interfax, quoting Ingush Deputy Prime Minister Bashir Aushev, reported that the explosion was a result of a truck bomb detonated next to the convoy by Russian agents.[55] According to Russian Newsweek edition,[56] Basayev's death was a result of an FSB operation, whose primary aim was to prevent a planned terrorist attack in the days before the G8 summit in St Petersburg.

On December 29, 2006, forensic experts positively identified Basayev's remains.[57] On October 6, 2007, Basayev was promoted to the rank of Generalissimo post mortem by the Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov.[58]

Personal life

Basayev had four wives, a Chechen woman who was killed in the 1990’s, an Abkhaz woman he met while fighting as a mercenary leader against Georgia and a Cossack he was said to have married on Valentine’s Day, 2005.[59] A fourth secret wife, Elina Ersenoyeva, was apparently forced to marry Basayev, and subsequently hid the identity of her husband from her friends and family.[59] Following revelations about the marriage, Elina was abducted and killed, allegedly by the Kadyrovtsy (pro-Kremlin Chechen forces).[59]

Book of a Mujahideen

Basayev wrote a book after the First Chechen War, Book of a Mujahideen. According to the introduction, in March 2003 Basayev obtained a copy of The Manual of the Warrior of Light by Paulo Coelho. He wanted to draw benefits to the Mujahideen from this book and decided to "rewrite most of it, remove some excesses and strengthen all of it with verses (ayats), hadiths and stories from the lives of the disciples.". Some sections are specifically about ambush tactics, etc.


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ Jonathan Steele (July 11, 2006). "Shamil Basayev -Chechen politician seeking independence through terrorism". Obituary (Guardian Unlimited).,,1817558,00.html. ""one-time guerrilla commander who turned into a mastermind of spectacular and brutal terrorist actions ... served for several months as prime minister"" 
  3. ^ Russia's tactics make Chechen war spread across Caucasus
  4. ^ Russia: RFE/RL Interviews Chechen Field Commander Umarov
  5. ^ No Terrorist Acts in Russia Since Beslan: Whom to Thank?
  6. ^ Troshev, Gennadiy (2001). Moya Voyna. Chechenskiy Dnevnik Okopnogo Generala (Моя война. Чеченский дневник окопного генерала). Vagrius (Вагриус). ISBN 5-264-00657-1. 
  7. ^ Chechen separatist who battled hard for his country, but shocked the world with bloody terrorist attacks
  8. ^ The Wolves of Islam: Russia and the Faces of Chechen Terror by Paul J. Murphy, Brassey's Inc. Page 9
  9. ^ a b Richard Sakwa, ed (2005). "Western views of the Chechen Conflict". Chechnya: From Past to Future. Anthem Press. pp. 235. ISBN 978 1 84331 165 2. 
  10. ^ Analyse this. The Age, July 20 2003
  11. ^ Russia 'planned Chechen war before bombings' 29 January 2009 The Independent
  12. ^ "Terror in Karabakh: Chechen Warlord Shamil Basayev's Tenure in Azerbaijan". The Armenian Weekly On-Line: AWOL. 
  13. ^ Chechnya premier's alleged millions
  14. ^ The Wolves of Islam: Russia and the Faces of Chechen Terror by Paul J. Murphy, Brassey's Inc. Page 20
  15. ^ The day I met the terrorist mastermind, September 4 2004
  16. ^ BOOK OF A MUJAHIDDEEN by Abdallah Shamil Abu Idris (Shamil Basaev)
  17. ^ [ Chechnya repeats territorial claims on Dagestan]
  18. ^ a b Alex Goldfarb, with Marina Litvinenko Death of a Dissident: The Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the Return of the KGB, The Free Press, 2007, ISBN 1-416-55165-4, page 216.
  19. ^ "Death of a Dissident", page 189.
  20. ^ The UK & Russia - A Troubled Relationship Part I
  21. ^ The Operation "Successor" (in Russian)
  22. ^ Western leaders betray Aslan Maskhadov
  23. ^ Chechen Parliamentary Speaker: Basayev was G.R.U. Officer, The Jamestown Foundation
  24. ^ Analysis: Has Chechnya's Strongman Signed His Own Death Warrant?
  25. ^ a b Russia's bombs: Who is to blame?
  26. ^ RUSSIA: THE FSB VOWS TO CAPTURE THE REMAINING CO-CONSPIRATORS IPR Strategic Business Information Database. 2004-01-13
  27. ^ Apartment houses-blasts defendants sentenced to life imprisonment
  28. ^ Agence France-Presse September 8, 2002 Alleged suspect for 1999 bombings hiding in Georgia: Russian FSB CORRECTION: ATTENTION - ADDS background
  29. ^ a b Russia caught in sect's web of terror
  30. ^ Dr Mark Smith, A Russian Chronology July 1999 - Semtember 1999
  31. ^ Взрыв жилого дома в Москве положил конец спокойствию в столице
  32. ^ Hunter, Sileen; Jeffrey L. Thomas, Alexander Melikishvili, J. Collins (2004). Islam in Russia: The Politics Of Identity and Security. M.E. Sharpe. ISBN 978-0765612830. 
  33. ^ Khassan Baiev, Ruth Daniloff. The Oath: A Surgeon Under Fire. Walker & Company. 2004. ISBN 0-802-71404-8. (Khassan Baiev is a surgeon who amputated leg of Shamil Basayev after his injury on a mine field and operated on Salman Raduev and Arbi Barayev himself. However, Barayev promised to kill Baiev because he always also helped wounded Russian soldiers if necessary).
  34. ^ Chechen field commander marries third wife, gets Russian POWs as wedding gift, BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Dec 14, 2000
  35. ^ Richard Sakwa, ed (2005). "Globalization, 'New Wars', and the War in Chechnya". Chechnya: From Past to Future. Anthem Press. pp. 208–209. ISBN 978 1 84331 165 2. 
  36. ^ Chechnya: Rebel Said To Be Wounded
  37. ^ Shamil Basayev's father was killed in Chechnya
  38. ^ Chechen Declared Dead, May 1 2002
  39. ^ Shamil Basayev
  40. ^ Unknown rebel group claims Moscow metro blast, March 2 2004
  41. ^ a b "Chechen warlord behind Russian school siege". ABC News Online. September 17, 2004. 
  42. ^ "Russian-Chechen War Turns into Bounty Race". Moscow News. September 10, 2004. 
  43. ^ "Putin: Western governments soft on terror". American Foreign Policy Council. September 17, 2004. 
  44. ^ "Chechen "claims Beslan attack"". September 17, 2004. 
  45. ^ "'Excerpts: Basayev claims Beslan'". BBC News. September 17, 2004. 
  46. ^ "Another Beslan?". Channel 4. February 3, 2005. 
  47. ^ a b "Basaev Didn't Save Face". Kommersant. July 11, 2006. 
  48. ^ "Basayev claims Moscow power cut". BBC News. May 27, 2005. 
  49. ^ "Chechen Guerilla Leader Calls Russians 'Terrorists' / Mastermind of Beslan School Massacre Vows to Fight for Chechen Freedom". ABC News. July 29, 2005. 
  50. ^ "Russia: Moscow Says It Will Punish U.S. TV Network Over Basaev Interview". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. August 3, 2005. 
  51. ^ Time to get tough on Chechen government-in-exile, September 2 2005
  52. ^ a b "Shamil Basayev: 'Nalchik attacked by 217 Mujahideen'". Kavkaz Center. October 17, 2005. 
  53. ^ "Thousands of Police Hunt for Basayev in Mountains". The Moscow March 13, 2006. 
  54. ^ "Shamil was killed". Kavkaz Center. July 10, 2006. 
  55. ^ . 
  56. ^ "Ликвидация с вариациями (in Russian)". Russian Newsweek. July 23, 2006. 
  57. ^ "Experts Positively Identify Basayev". Moscow News. December 29, 2006. 
  58. ^ Clarity in Chechen resistance, SIA CHECHENPRESS, December 31, 2007
  59. ^ a b c C. J. Chivers (2008-08-27). "Missing Chechen Was Secret Bride of Terror Leader". The New York Times.,%20Shamil. 


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