Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 24

Moskovsky komsomolets published an article on June 22 marking the first anniversary of the rebel raid on Ingushetia, in which 80 people were killed, 57 of them law-enforcement personnel. The article’s author, Yulia Kalinina, drew much of her information from documents from the official investigation of the circumstances surrounding the attack. The overall picture she painted is one of a carefully planned attack by rebel forces and virtual paralysis on the part of the law-enforcement and security agencies.

In order to pull off the operation, which involved large number of fighters who were split into small units, each of which was assigned a target, the rebels hired a large number of young unemployed Chechens and Ingush who were trained for several weeks in bases along the Chechen-Ingush administrative border. On June 21, they were divided up into units of 6-8 men, each of which were assigned various tasks, such as raiding a weapons warehouse or blocking an intersection. They were ordered to kill all personnel of the military, FSB, prosecutor’s office and Interior Ministry, with the exception of traffic policemen.

But the raiders also had inside help. “The terrorists could not have carried out the planned attack if they had not been helped by local police,” Kalinina wrote. “The traffic police helped passively, allowing any means of transport through for money. But there were also active helpers. In the case files there are the names of several policemen who accompanied, for example, Shamil Basev, when in preparation for the terrorist attack he visited bases in Ingushetia by night. If his car was stopped, the policeman sitting next to the driver showed his ID and they were allowed through the checkpoint without anybody looking at who was sitting in the back seat.”

Kalinina quoted from evidence given by a local resident who went out to look for his brother in Nazran, Ingushetia’s main city and the site of the main attack, after hearing shooting and wound up at a military checkpoint. “‘At four in the morning on June 22, a car with two policemen pulled up to the checkpoint,” Kalinina quoted the resident as saying. “‘From their conversation I found out that that my brother Abukar had really been killed and his body taken to a morgue. Then, despite the fact that the servicemen [manning the checkpoint] had asked me not to drive anywhere and to wait for sunrise, I went to the morgue, where there were the bodies of a lot of people, both in civilian clothes and in camouflage uniforms. There, among the corpses, I found the body of Abukar…Around four in the morning two UAZ automobiles drove in from the direction of Nazran with red crosses on their windshields. Two women in white surgical coats got out…After that the [rebel] fighters began to load up the UAZs with their dead. Then the UAZs drove away. Walking up to the intersection, I saw the bodies of a lot of people.’ So there you have it. The militants bandaged their wounded, gathered up their dead and drove off. The citizens went out to collect corpses and mourn their loved ones. And the military waited until sunrise and [then] bravely mounted a defense of the motherland.”