Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 26

Shamil Basaev recently weighed in on the Olympic Games, warning that the security of athletes participating in the 2012 games could not be guaranteed were Moscow chosen as the Olympic venue. Asked by the Kavkazcenter to comment on Moscow’s bid to host the 2012 Olympics, Basaev sent a response electronically, which the separatist website posted on July 5. “We have little interest in the Olympic Games,” Basaev wrote. “Our people have altogether different problems. Moreover, only Allah knows what will be in 2012 and whether the world at that time will have any interest in sports generally or whether Rusnya [Basaev’s derogatory term for Russia-CW] itself will exist. Today, the war unleashed by Russia continues. Moscow is the capital of a warring state and correspondingly that city is a legitimate zone of military operation for our mujahideen. In this situation, no one can guarantee security for the athletes, even if our units inflict only maximally protective strikes on Moscow. But no one should have any doubt that we have bombed and will bomb Moscow.”

Chechen State Council Chairman Taus Dzhabrailov called Basaev’s comments “nonsense,” Interfax reported on July 6. “Neither Basaev nor anybody else will be able to affect security,” he said. “There cannot be any threat to holding the Olympic Games in Moscow either from Basaev or from other forces. The peace process, including international sports competitions, will be held regardless of Basaev’s wishes. Dogs bark but the caravan moves on.” The issue became moot on July 6, when the International Olympic Committee announced that London had been chosen to host the 2012 games.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prosecutor General Nikolai Shepel said on June 30 that Russia’s special services had discovered what could be Basaev’s archives in a hiding place in the Ingush town of Karabula. According to Shepel, the stash included videos with footage of the bombing of government buildings in Grozny in December 2002, “the preparations for the attack on Nord-Ost” (the Dubrovka theater siege in Moscow) and “facilities” and airports in Moscow. “Because Basaev features in many scenes, it is thought that the tapes and other information carriers found there could be part of Basaev’s personal archive,” Interfax quoted Shepel as saying. He said that along with videotapes, security agents found “books of extremist content, floppies and discs.”