Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 1

On December 17, President Putin chose to mark one of the most revered Muslim holidays, Uraza-Bairam, which marks the end of Ramadan, by “unexpectedly” combining two events in the Kremlin. A previously scheduled meeting with the chairman of the Council of Muftis of Russia, Ravil Gainutdin; the chairman of the Central Special Administration of the Muslims of Russia, Talgat Tadzhuddin, and the chairman of the Coordinating Center of the Muslims of the North Caucasus, Magomed Albogachiev, was combined with a reception for the family of Magomed Tashukhadzhiev, a 15-year-old Chechen boy who had been killed after he had shot a well-known separatist field commander, Magomed Tsagaroev, who had broken into his home in search of the boy’s pro-Moscow Chechen police officer father. “Unexpectedly, Vladimir Putin took a decision to combine the two meetings, inasmuch as, in his own words, he wanted very much for the ‘Tashukhadzhiev family to feel the support not only of the state but also of the spiritual leaders of the Muslims of Russia'” (, December 17). The boy’s mother was presented the “Golden Star” medal which her son had posthumously earned for his display of “courage and heroism” (, December 17, 2001). Strangely, on the following day, during a press conference at which he summed up his agency’s achievements for 2001, FSB director Nikolai Patrushev took public credit for the FSB’s liquidating field commander Tsagaroev–who had in fact, as we have seen, been killed by the boy–during the course of one of its “special operations” (, December 18).