Publication: Monitor Volume: 6 Issue: 34

Former State Duma deputy Nadir Khachilaev, who has been in jail while the authorities investigated his alleged criminal activities, will most likely be freed soon. Nadir Khachilaev and his brother Magomed became known throughout Russia in May 1998, when their supporters clashed with the police in Makhachkala, the Dagestani capital, after 1,500 armed men led by Nadir seized the republic State Council building. The armed confrontation broke out after police in the Dagestani capital tried to pull over an automobile driven by Nadir Khachilaev’s bodyguards. A criminal case was launched against the Khachilaev brothers in September 1998. Magomed was first arrested in Makhachkala, and then, a half a year ago, Nadir was apprehended in a special operation. Nadir Khachilaev, however, was subsequently released after signing an agreement not to leave the country.

The Khachilaev brothers are among the most influential criminal bosses in Dagestan, and the Kremlin is apparently to team up with them if they try to use their authority to maintain stability in those regions of Dagestan bordering Chechnya. Magomedali Magomedov, chairman of Dagestan’s State Council, has already come out in support of the Khachilaevs. During a February 15 meeting with acting President Vladimir Putin, Magomedov raised the question of freeing Nadir Khachilaev, and it appears that Putin agreed to it (RTR, February 15).

It should be noted that late last year, then President Boris Yeltsin amnestied former Grozny [Djohar] Mayor Bislan Gantemirov, who had been jailed for embezzling Russian government funds earmarked for rebuilding the Chechen capital following the first Chechen war. The Kremlin quickly put Gantemirov in charge of Chechen militia units which were deployed against the Chechen rebel forces. All this suggests that Moscow is having a very difficult time finding influential allies in both Chechnya and Dagestan, and explains why the Kremlin has resorted to backing local criminal bosses, as long as they pledge loyalty to Moscow.