Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 33

Writing in the October 31 issue of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, well-known journalist Sanobar Shermatova wrote, inter alia, on the subject of Movsar Baraev and of his late uncle, the notorious Chechen Wahhabi warlord Arbi Baraev: “An investigation carried out by this reporter for Moscow News in 2000 revealed that by that time [Arbi] Baraev had amassed a fortune of several million dollars from ransoms, and many were already suspecting that he had powerful patrons in Moscow, without whom his business could not have flourished. These suspicions grew, as the second Chechen conflict began at the end of 1999. In sharp contrast to Maskhadov and other commanders, [Arbi] Baraev did not hide from the Russians. He bought his nephew Movsar a house in his home village of Alkhan-Kala (before that Movsar had lived in the town of Argun.) Arbi Baraev married twice and celebrated his weddings in great style–just ten kilometers from the federal forces in Grozny. Most extraordinarily, he moved freely about Chechnya, showing documents of an officer of the Russian Interior Ministry at checkpoints. A Chechen journalist who took an interest in Baraev and managed to record the number of his Russian Interior Ministry document was detained by the federal authorities, interrogated and held for three days…. This episode further strengthened suspicions that [Arbi] Baraev had a very strong ‘roof’–a powerful protector outside Chechnya.”