Chechen Representatives Are Profiled

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 5 Issue: 5

In last week’s issue of Moskovskie novosti, Sanobar Shermatova provided sketches of Chechnya’s new representatives in the federal parliament. Chechnya Weekly has already described the careers of Akhmar Zavgaev and Umar Dzhabrailov (see our October 23, 2003, and January 7, 2004, issues); Shermatova’s article adds useful information about Musa Umarov and Ruslan Yamadaev.

As reported in the January 14 issue of Chechnya Weekly, the republic’s dictator, Akhmad Kadyrov, picked Umarov to hold the seat in the Federation Council–the upper house of the parliament–that is supposed to be filled by the republic’s parliament. According to Shermatova’s article, Umarov is not only one of the richest members of the Chechen diaspora in Moscow but also a general in the federal Interior Ministry. Her sources told her that each of last year’s aspirants to the presidency of Chechnya promised Umarov a high ranking position–but he handled his negotiations with these rival suitors so adroitly “that not one of them suspected that the general had reached agreements with his competitors.” Shermatova observed that “according to the Chechen code of honor such behavior is not considered laudable, but in this case the game turned out to be risk-free.”

Ruslan Yamadaev was elected to the Duma in December on the party list of the pro-Putin United Russia Party; he is deputy head of the Chechen branch of that party. Like Kadyrov, he formally fought for the separatists against the federal center. But in 1999 he and his powerful family played a key role in handing over their stronghold of Gudermes to federal troops. According to Shermatova’s sources, in 2001 Yamadaev helped the federals capture the rebel warlord Salman Raduev by luring him into a trap under the pretext of offering to help him.