Further Violence between Chechen Police and Vostok Battalion Reported

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 9 Issue: 22

During a May 31 meeting with members of Chechnya’s government and the heads of the republic’s district administrations, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov announced that criminal cases have been launched not only against Badrudi Yamadaev, the member of the Vostok battalion of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) accused of kidnapping and murder, but also against Sulim Yamadaev, who is the battalion’s commander and Badrudi’s older brother. Kadyrov said that bodies are being exhumed in Vedeno district and other areas of Chechnya in connection with murders that the Yamadaev brothers are accused of complicity in.

Gazeta on June 2 quoted another Yamadaev brother, Isa, who commands the Vostok battalion’s 5th Company, as saying in response to Kadyrov’s accusations: “He spoke about all five brothers, including Ruslan, an ex-State Duma Deputy, and Dzhabrail, who is no longer alive, as criminals. We have received no notification from the prosecutor’s office about the launching of criminal cases, because there is no basis for it. It is impossible to understand where the president of the republic is getting such rumors from. He is inciting public opinion against us.”

Meanwhile, Gazeta reported that the 250 Vostok fighters who remain loyal to Sulim Yamadaev are living on their base in Gudermes without electricity, water or gas. One of them, an officer, told Gazeta that the utility companies gave no reason for cutting off their services. “We don’t have enough water for performing ablutions before prayer; we cannot go to Friday prayers in the mosque because it is guarded by Kadyrovite siloviki,” the Vostok officer said. “Every trip to the city ends up in a skirmish with them, so far only with fists.” Several Chechen policemen were reportedly beaten up and hospitalized after getting into a confrontation with Vostok battalion members on the Gudermes-Shuani highway late last month (Chechnya Weekly, May 29). Gazeta reported on June 2 that two Vostok battalion members had been beaten up over the previous 10 days, while a third was hit 50 times with sticks on the orders of the Sharia court in the village of Dzhalka. According to the newspaper, all three were subsequently hospitalized at the Russian military base in Khankala outside Grozny. Gazeta reported that Chechen police fired at a fourth Vostok battalion member but that he managed to escape unharmed.