North Caucasus Insurgency - 2006-?
In February 2007, the Chechen President Alu Alkhanov was moved to a post in the Russian government by Russian President Vladimir Putin who named Ramzan Kadyrov as his successor. The Chechen parliament later approved his candidacy.In March 2007, Russian Deputy Interior Minister Colonel General Arkady Yedelev estimated that Chechen resistance numbered around 450 split into 37 groups, however numbers had fluctuated constantly. He stated that it was difficult to ascertain an exact number due to the presence of many volunteers who wanted to support the jihad. The presence of numerous volunteers created a problem. The resistance groups could not accept all of the volunteers due to a lack of resources, which caused splinter groups to form. These autonomous groups were increasing in number. Yedelev also stated that with the increasing presence of splinter groups, the resistance would be struck at its core as there would be more militant groups competing for resources from other organizations and foreign donors.
On 4 April 2007, a Chechen militant field commander, known as Amir Khairulla (Suleiman Imurzayev), was killed in the North Caucasus republic. A source in the Chechen government said Imurzayev "led a group of about 60 militants" and had been involved in a bomb attack on 9 May 2004 that killed Chechnya's first president, Akhmad Kadyrov.
On 19 September 2007, the Federal Security Service (FSB) said Rappani Khalilov was killed in the village of Novy Sulak in Dagestan's Kizilyurt Raion. Khalilov and a second fighter, Naby Nabiyev, were killed after Russian tanks razed the house from which the 2 men had engaged in a 12-hour battle with Russian and Dagestani Interior Ministry troops. Both bodies were reportedly recovered from the ruins. This was not the first time Russian media announced Khalilov's death. This time, however, authorities appeared confident of the claim. They released details about the operation and photographs, which showed bodies being pulled from the rubble of the razed house in Novy Sulak. Khalilov, who had ties to Chechen rebel commander Shamil Basayev, was last year named by Chechnya's separatist leader, Doku Umarov, as the commander of the Dagestan front.
On 20 November 2007, the foreign minister-in-exile of the separatist Chechen government, Akhmed Zakayev, submitted his resignation. Zakayev made the announcement amid a growing rift between the parliament-in-exile of the self-declared Chechen Republic Ichkeria (ChRI) and the separatist president and resistance commander, Doku Umarov. Zakayev said his resignation should not be viewed "as a departure from the fight for our independence, our freedom, and for the recognition of our state. By no means."
In June 2008, Russia's Ministry of Defense planned to cut the size of its Chechen battalions 2 months after a stand-off with soldiers loyal to Chechnya's Kremlin-backed leader. The Vostok battalion was commanded by Sulim Yamadayev, one of the few Chechens powerful enough to rival the 31-year-old Kadyrov. The reduction of its strength would bolster Kadyrov's power.
In July 2008, a human rights watchdog in Russia's Chechnya region demanded an investigation into a suspected mass grave where it said Russian soldiers buried up to 300 civilians they had killed in an attack. The human rights ombudsman, Nurdi Nukhazhiyev, said it contained the bodies of men, women and children who were killed on 30 October 1999, when their column of vehicles came under fire from Russian troops. The mass grave was discovered 8 months later, when a mechanical digger working at the plant accidentally dug up human remains and items of clothing. Investigators never exhumed the bodies.
In November 2008, Colonel General Vladimir Moltenskoi announced that the controversial Vostok (East) and Zapad (West) battalions subordinate to Russian military intelligence (GRU) would be disbanded, and their personnel subsumed into the 42nd Motorized Rifle Division permanently deployed in Chechnya. The 2 battalions were the only Chechen-manned fighting units in Chechnya over which Kadyrov had no personal control, and the loyalty of whose personnel he therefore considered suspect.
On 11 December 2008, Islam Janibekov, a former Chechen separatist field commander, was killed in Istanbul. Turkish media reported that he had been killed by a Groza, a double-barreled pistol which was commonly used by Russian special forces.
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