Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 7 Issue: 42

Rosbalt reported on October 27 that during a meeting in Grozny of the Regional Operational Headquarters (ROSH) in charge of the “anti-terrorist” operation in Chechnya, which was attended by Chechen Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov, a decision was made to divide up the members of the “Gorets” special forces unit, which was formerly under the FSB and headed by Movladi Baisarov, and assign them to various units of the Chechen Interior Ministry. Earlier this year, the unit was reportedly blockaded at its base in the Chechen village of Pobedinskoe by forces loyal to Kadyrov (Chechnya Weekly, September 28, September 15 and August 17). The news agency quoted unnamed members of the unit as saying that they had been pressured to break up the unit, to give up their weapons and that relatives had been threatened. The unit members said that they feared for their own lives and the lives of their families, and that there was no guarantee of their safety if they gave up their weapons.

In September, the Chechen prosecutor’s office announced that it had put Baisarov on its wanted list for his alleged involvement in the January 2004 kidnapping of a family – a man along with his wife, mother and two sisters – in Grozny’s Staropromyslovsky district. The family is believed to have been murdered (Chechnya Weekly, September 28). In an interview that Baisarov gave Moskovskie novosti in Moscow, which was published on October 20, Baisarov accused Ramzan Kadyrov of having “Asiatic habits.” He also said: “Anything goes for Ramzan. He can take any woman and do what he wants with her. He can seize anybody, and afterwards say: ‘He was a Wahhabi.’” Baisarov also claimed that Kadyrov had never fought in the woods or the mountains during his time as rebel fighter, adding: “I didn’t see him as a man.” Baisarov concluded the interview by saying that people “are not happy with Kadyrov,” and that Chechens have never had “khans,” or strongmen. “People now are not afraid of Ramzan; they’re afraid of the Russian president and believe that they cannot go against Russian law,” he said. “When people understand that they are not going against the Russian constitution, then action will begin. There is already a big movement in that direction.” Baisarov indicated he would support Alu Alkhanov as Chechnya’s legitimate president. In the Moskovskie novosti interview, Baisarov also denied the kidnapping accusations against him.