Chechen Businessman Wounded, Former Alkhanov Bodyguard Murdered in Moscow

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 42

The well-known Chechen businessman Malik Saidullaev was reportedly wounded in a gun attack that took place near his company’s offices in Moscow on October 26. A member of Saidullaev’s security team, Oleg Polinov, told Itar-Tass that three shots were fired from a black jeep parked near the offices and that Saidullaev was wounded in the arm and jaw and recovering at home following an operation. However, a Moscow police source told Interfax that, according to preliminary data, Saidullaev was wounded in an argument with another Chechen and shot with a stun gun, not a regular gun. Saidullaev himself told Novaya Gazeta that he indeed been shot but refused to provide more details.

Saidullaev earlier headed the Chechen Republic’s State Council, which was dissolved after Akhmad Kadyrov came to power. As noted, Saidullaev visited Grozny this past May at the invitation of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov and promised large-scale investments in the republic.

Meanwhile, Kommersant Vlast reported on October 29 that two “unemployed Chechens” shot at the Kasbar restaurant in central Moscow on October 15 were in fact Beslan Saidulaev, a serviceman with the GRU’s (Main Intelligence Directorate) “Zapad” special battalion, and Alikhan Mutsaev, who was former Chechen President Alu Alkhanov’s personal bodyguard. Mutsaev was killed and Saidulaev was wounded in the shooting.

According to the weekly magazine, Mutsaev served in the Chechen OMON in 1999 and was a supporter of Bislan Gantamirov who later became Alkhanov’s bodyguard. Mutsaev was also an opponent of Ramzan Kadyrov. Kommersant Vlast quoted a supporter of Alkhanov as saying that after some Chechen siloviki began to express dissatisfaction with Ramzan Kadyrov, supporters of Alkhanov received death threats—among them Movladi Baisarov, the commander of the Gorets special forces unit who was shot to death in Moscow in November 2006 (Chechnya Weekly, November 22, 2006).

Kommersant Vlast also quoted an unnamed friend of Alikhan Mutsaev as saying that there are only two people left in Chechnya who are openly refusing to submit to Kadyrov—Chechen Prosecutor Valery Kuznetsov and Maksim Toporikov, Prosecutor for the Combined Group of Forces in the North Caucasus. “Kadyrovite deputies [in the Chechen parliament] are constantly colliding with these people, demanding that they be removed from the republic,” the magazine wrote. “Everybody understands why: Kadyrov simply cannot remain alongside people who are against him. He knows that when Putin goes, things will be bad for him. And he knows that many authoritative people who have weapons, money and the support of the federals are waiting for this. He is being driven into a corner, and nothing remains for him to do other than to fight for his life.”