A report from Grozny published on April 19 by the pro-Kremlin strana.ru website suggested that Chechen law-enforcement organs are too penetrated by rebel accomplices to take over responsibly for the fight against the separatists. The report’s author, Amir Akhmadov, quoted Ramzan Kadyrov as insisting during a recent press conference in Gurdermes that the Chechen police are now ready to take on the main anti-terrorist role in the republic. “However the situation at the local level testifies to the fact that even regularly conducted ‘purges of the cadres’ in the republican law-enforcement organs cannot serve as a barrier against the leakage of operational information or treachery by people in police epaulettes,” Akhmadov wrote.
Akhmadov noted that data provided by Chechen Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov concerning the elimination or capture of rebel fighters indicates that the performance of the Chechen police has improved this year over last year. However, “in the ranks of the Chechen police there are still many who give support to members of the illegal armed formations in committing crimes, carrying out terrorist acts and sabotage,” he wrote. “And there is no guarantee that such ‘members of the underground’, owing to various circumstances, won’t end up among the heads of the counter-terrorist operation if authority is transferred from the federation structures to the Chechen Interior Ministry.”
Akhmadov cited several instances, some previously reported and others not, in which republican Interior Ministry personnel were discovered to have been assisting rebel forces. For example, three fighters belonging to the group headed by Argun rebel field commander Beslan Uzarov were recently killed in the village of Prigorodnoe on the outskirts of Grozny. One of the dead rebels was found to have an authentic Interior Ministry employee’s ID card. According to Akhmadov, 176 Interior Ministry employees were murdered in 2003, 134 were killed last year and 21 have been murdered so far this year. Such attacks, he wrote, were made possible by intelligence leaks. He noted that two rebels were killed and one captured not long ago in Achkoi-Martan, and that in the pocket of one of them was discovered a list of the names of twelve Chechen law-enforcement personnel together with their place of work and their home addresses. Two of the policemen on the list had already been killed, and the date of their murder was written opposite their names.
Something similar happened in Dagestan in March, when police discovered on the body of a member of the Sharia Jamaat, a militant Islamist group, an “execution list” of law-enforcement officials and policemen that included their home and work addresses and telephone numbers. The Sharia Jamaat subsequently provided the Chechen separatist website Kavkazcenter with a list of 140 employees of the Russian and Dagestani special services along with their addresses and telephone numbers, which the website published (see Chechnya Weekly, March 9 and 23).