Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 4 Issue: 27

It is not only the ultra-nationalist Russian media that grumble about the Kadyrov administration’s recruitment of former rebel guerrillas. The newly revived Moscow newspaper Novye izvestia, a vocal defender of human rights and a critic of the war in Chechnya, has fingered yet another such prominent defector.

In a July 14 article for Novye izvestia, correspondent Andrei Kuzminov cited the case of Abu Arsanukaev, a former head of the security service of Chechnya’s first separatist president, Dzhokhar Dudaev. Arsanukaev, Kuzminov wrote, personally shot a captured Russian lieutenant in 1995–but “today he heads the bodyguard of one of the Yamadaev brothers, the leader of the Chechen branch of the [pro-Putin] ‘Unity’ party.”

The Novye izvestia correspondent quoted an officer of the Chechen Interior Ministry: “Kadyrov needs people who will be completely dependent on him. And he is finding such people–in the form of amnestied bandits, who have nowhere else to turn.”