08 April 2003, 19:08

Basaev, Shamil Salmanovich

Chechen politician, military commander, terrorist.

Born in 1965 in the village of Vedeno, Vedeno County, Republic of Chechnya.

Belongs to an influential Chechen teip of Yalkhoroy. There are data that one of Shamil Basaev's ancestors was a Russian soldier who deserted from his military command during the 19th-Century Caucasian War and defected to imam Shamil. In 1982, finished high school. Attempted to enter Law Department of Moscow State University three times, but didn't pass the entrance contest. Passed his military service in USSR Air Force. In 1987, entered Moscow Institute of Land-Utilization Engineering, but was signed off the second year for poor academic performance in 1988. Stayed in Moscow until 1991- worked "in one of Chechen cooperatives" and a trade intermediary LLC.

early 1991, returned to Chechnya and joined the troops of the Caucasian Peoples Confederation (KNK). Since 1991, started independent studies of military science "by Russian textbooks." In an interview to Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper (March 12, 1996), told about it this way, "I started studying because I had a goal. There were about thirty guys of us; we understood that Russian won't let Chechnya go that simply, that freedom is an expensive thing and it has to be paid for with blood. That is why we studied hard."

n August 1991, according to Basaev's own words, he took part in the defense of the White House (Residence of the Government of the Russian Federation), "I knew that if GKChP won, one could have given Chechnya's independence up for lost." (Moskovskaya Pravda newspaper, January 27, 1996).

In October 1991, during the presidential election in Chechnya, was Djokhar Dudaev's rival a one of the candidates for the President of the Republic position. On November 9, 1991, participated in passenger jet TU-154 hijacking from Mineralnyye Vody airport to Turkey. In Turkey, the hijackers surrendered to the local authorities and negotiated a transfer to Chechnya. In exchange to that, the plane and the passengers were freed and sent to Russia. After the Mineralnyye Vody action, Basaev became Djokhar Dudaev's Special Forces Detachment commander (ITAR-TASS news agency, April 29, 1996). According to another source, Basaev spent 1991-1992 in journeys: fought in Nagorny Karabakh on Azerbaijani side and spent some time in mujahadeen training camps in Pakistan.

In 1992, Shamil Basaev was appointed the commander-in-chief of the troops of the Caucasian Peoples Confederation (KNK).

Starting August 1992, took active part in the military operations in Abkhazia. Was Gagra Frontline commander and deputy defense minister of Abkhazia. Commanded a detachment of Chechen volunteers.

In January 1993, at the joint meeting of Presidential Council and the Parliament of the Caucasian Peoples Confederation, Shamil Basaev was appointed a commander-in-chief of the KNK expeditionary forces in Abkhazia. His duties were to "coordinate, unite, direct, and control the incoming flow of volunteers."

In December 1993, during the Fifth Congress of the Caucasian Peoples Confederation was re-instated as a commander-in-chief of the KNK troops; Adygei Amin Zekhov was appointed KNK troops headquarters head.

From April to June 1994, according to his own claim, was in Afghanistan, in Host Province, where he underwent a training course together with one of his groups, "The training was for my account. I sold my arms at that time, borrowed from friends, and went there. By the way, I still owe 3.5K dollars for that trip" (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, March 12, 1996). In an interview to Izvestia newspaper (April 25, 1996), Basaev informed that in 1992-1994, he attended the Afghani mujahadeen camps three times with his "Abkhaz battalion" where he learnt the tactics of conducting a guerilla war.

In summer 1994, with the civil war starting in Chechnya, Basaev came into the military action on Djokhar Dudaev's side.

After the federal troops were garrisoned in Chechnya in December 1994, Shamil Basaev commanded one of the largest combatant detachments fighting against Russia's soldiers.

On June 14, 1995, a seizure of a hospital and hostages in the city of Budennovsk, Stavropol Region, was carried out under Shamil Basaev's guidance with a purpose of forcing the deferral authorities to stop military operations in Chechnya and start negotiations with Dudaev's people.

During Basaev's action in Budennovsk, at least 128 people died.

After telephone negotiations with Russia's Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, Basaev's combatants left Budennovsk. In a motorcade of seven buses, there were over 70 combatants and about 130 volunteer hostages. Sixteen Russia's mass media representatives and nine deputies of the State Duma followed in one of the buses.

Thirty kilometers (eighteen miles) away from Mozdok, the motorcade was blocked by a barrier of armored vehicles set up by the order of MVD deputy minister Anatoly Kulikov: the North Ossetia authorities refused to let the combatants pass through their territory. The motorcade arrived to Chechnya via Dagestan. In Hasavyurt, local residents and refugees from Chechnya organized a ceremonial welcome to the combatants. In the village of Zandak on Chechnya's border Basaev let the hostages go.

According to Basaev, he had personally selected and trained the combatants for the Budennovsk operation, "My trip to Budennovsk cost me around 25K dollars. To be honest, the most part was spent on buying the KAMAZ trucks and a Zhiguli car ? 15K dollars. We distributed around eight to nine thousand on our way. When we captured the hospital, all the authorities were lost. On TV, they broadcast that the negotiations are going, that money is offered, but in fact there was nothing like that. They were lost for two days, they were even afraid to send someone to us. Only a day later they recollected themselves, and for the first time a city Chechen came to us. At first, I was surprised when Chernomyrdin called me. But, even by the way he asked me not to rise to provocations, not to answer with fire to them, I understood that he could not control the situation. A prime minister, but he didn't have much power. Dudaev didn't know about the operation. By that moment I hadn't had any communication with him for two months. Even if I had, I wouldn't have informed him of such peculiarities. That's not my rule." (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, March 12, 1996).

After the Budennovsk operation, the entire Shamil's detachment contingent was awarded with "Hero of Chechnya" title by Djokhar Dudaev. Three of Basaev's deputies were awarded the order "Honor of the Nation," whereas Basaev himself was reprimanded for not having completed the military task: Budennovsk was not the final goal of the operation (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, March 12, 1996).

After Budennovsk, Shamil Basaev stayed in one of the highland settlements of the republic, even though information ran thru mass media that he was hiding in Abkhazia and Pakistan. In fall 1995, interviews with him appeared sporadically in Russian and foreign press.

In summer and fall of 1995, Basaev repeatedly threatened Russia's government with more terrorist attacks in Russian Federation territory in the case if the military action were not ceased and negotiation were not stopped. He also informed that he had seven containers of bacteriological weapons, five missiles of binary weapons, and radioactive substances and did not exclude a possibility of their usage. Russian military authorities treated his threats ironically; however, on November 23, 1995, NTV camera crew, following the information received from Shamil Basaev, discovered a yellow package of high radioactivity in Izmaylovsky Park. The radiation level in the place of the finding was 5 Roentgen per hour, the admissible norm being 15 to 20 microroentgen per hour.

On November 24, Russian Interior Minister Anatoly Kulikov declared that the found package with radioactive materials was a "typical laboratory container used in graduating workshops." According to analysis data presented by the Chemical Laboratory of FSB Scientific Research Institute (NII FSB), it contained cesium-137 previously widely used for graduating special appliances.In early October 1995, Basaev detachment of 300 men camped in the woods not far from the village of Chapayevo, Novolaksky County, Dagestan. The head of the county administration asked the combatants to leave the territory of the county. To this, Basaev proclaimed that this was Chechen land and he would stay there as long as he wished (before deportation of 1944, the territory of the modern Novolaksky County was populated with Chechens).

On January 1996, a motor ship Avrasia was hijacked in a Turkish Black-Sea port of Trabzon. The seizure was carried out by a pro-Chechen group of Muhammed Tokchan. Basaev confirmed that three of the hijackers are his friends, "we fought in Abkhazia together. Not so long ago they were my guests. So, we discussed a plan of a ship hijack. To tell the truth, I don't know why they surrendered and didn't lead the business to the end." (Komsomolskaya Pravda in Moscow, January 31, 1996).

In late April 1996, after Djokhar Dudaev's death, Shamil Basaev was elected commander-in-chief of the military forces of Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, in place of Aslan Maskhadov. Before that, Shamil's position was the commander of reconnaissance and sabotage battalion (RDB) of the Armed Forces of Chechnya-Ichkeria (commandos).

In spring and summer 1996, Shamil Basaev did not participate in Russo-Chechen negotiations. Russian Federation's president Boris Yeltsin opposed his presence (Ekho Mosvky ? Echo of Moscow radio station, May 31, 1996). Shamil Basaev repeatedly refused to stop military operations against the federal authorities.

In November 1996, Shamil Basaev denied a position of Vice Premier that was offered to him in the Chechnya's coalition government. He desired to stay in the position of the Central Front commander simultaneously heading the Customs Committee.

In November 1996, Shamil Basaev declared an intention to run for the Chechnya presidency at the January 1997 election.

In December 1996, according to the election law, resigned from the position of the commander-in-chief of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria Armed Forces in order to be eligible to run for the presidency.

On January 27, 1997, collected 23.5% of the votes at the Chechen Republic presidential election and came second after Aslan Maskhadov.

In July 1998, was appointed a deputy commander-in-chief of the Chechen Republic Armed Forces. Also in 1998, headed Chechnya Soccer Federation. According to testimonials from the present Chechnya Soccer Federation officials, at that time Shamil Basaev did a lot for developing soccer and sport in general in Chechen Republic.

In September 1999, Shamil Basaev was one of the commanders of the Chechen combatant incursion into Dagestan.

In February 2000, Shamil Basaev was heavily wounded by touching off a mine attempting to leave Grozny. In May 2000, information appeared that Basaev died. It turned out that Basaev was alive but in critical state ? he had his leg amputated.

Due to this, messages appeared in mass media that Basaev would like to make a deal with the federals because he was sure that he could still be cured abroad but couldn't get out of Chechnya himself.

In October 2000, Shamil Basaev declared his readiness to send 150 of his "soldiers" to the Middle East; according to his words, fifteen hundred Chechen combatants more are ready to join the "sacred war for Jerusalem liberation."

In December 2000, Shamil's Basaev's brother, Shirvani, was killed; he used to be Bamut's commandant and head of Chechnya's Fuel and Energy Committee in Maskhadov's government.

In late October 2002, Shamil Basaev, being the head of the Republic of Ichkeria Military Committee, claimed the responsibility for the recent terrorist attack in Moscow and announced that resigns from all his authority besides the one connected with his commandment of the "Riyad-us-Salikhin reconnaissance and sabotage shakhid battalion." According to his announcement, this was the group that organized the terrorist attack in Moscow. At the same time, Aslan Maskhadov reportedly initiated a criminal prosecution of Shamil Basaev at the accusations that he without Ichkeria authorities' knowledge organized a terrorist attack in a Dubrovka theater center. At the present moment, there is no independent information to confirm or deny these reports.

All news

November 14, 2019 16:52

  • EU criticizes verdict in Crimean Muslims' case

    On November 13, the European Union (EU) demanded to cancel the verdict to six convicts in Rostov-on-Don under the case of the "Yalta unit" of an organization banned in Russia. The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called to increase pressure on Russia in connection with the verdict.

November 14, 2019 12:06

  • Students' protests in Yerevan supported by teachers

    About 50 teachers of the Yerevan State University (YSU) went on strike in support of the students who oppose the initiative to make the study of the Armenian history, language and literature optional at non-humanitarian departments. The teachers have urged activists to discuss this issue without political speculation.

November 14, 2019 11:59

  • MMA fighter Ismailov stands up for journalist Gadjiev

    Magomed Ismailov, a MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter, has regretted that he knew about the arrest of the journalist, Abdulmumin Gadjiev, but did not comment thereon, and promised that he would now follow the fate of the Dagestani journalist.

November 14, 2019 11:49

November 14, 2019 11:09

News archive