Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 7 Issue: 26

Chechen Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov condemned the murder of four Russian diplomats in Iraq. Itar-Tass on June 27 quoted Kadyrov as telling journalists, “We know from our own experience what terrorism is in all its manifestations. Using the name of Allah as cover, the international terrorists in Iraq have linked their crime against humanity to events in our republic. Let me remind you therefore that we are up against international terrorism that has declared war on the whole world.” According to the Russian news agency, Kadyrov also expressed his condolences on behalf of the Chechen nation.

For its part, the separatist Daymohk website ran a commentary on June 27 that headlined, “Putin killed the Russians in Iraq.” The commentary, signed by Imran Satuev, charged that the Russian president “sacrificed fellow countrymen in Iraq for the sake of continuing the war in Chechnya…as he did in Nord-Ost and Beslan.” The author of the commentary also stated that against the backdrop of the assassination of separatist leader Abdul-Khalim Sadulaev and reports of the discovery of an abandoned secret prison in Grozny in which people were allegedly tortured by Russian security forces (Chechnya Weekly, June 8), the murder of the Russian diplomats was a source of “great satisfaction.”

The Bloomberg news agency reported on June 28 that a group linked to the al-Qaeda in Iraq organization posted a video on a website on June 25 purporting to show the killing of three of the Russians. In an accompanying statement, the Mujahedeen Shura Council, a collection of insurgent groups, said a fourth Russian who was seized with them on June 3 was also killed.

The insurgent group had claimed in a released June 19 statement that it was holding the four Russian diplomats and demanded that Moscow withdraw its troops from Chechnya and “release all our brothers and sisters” from prison within 48 hours. Chechen separatist Foreign Minister Akhmed Zakaev, however, said that the media report that an Iraqi group was demanding the withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya in exchange for the release of the four Russian diplomats was “a provocation by Russian special services.” Zakaev also denied any Chechen participation in “the international terrorist network” and demanded that those holding the Russian diplomats release them unconditionally (Chechnya Weekly, June 22).