Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 5 Issue: 40

A rare glimpse at the activities of the pro-Moscow forces commanded by Chechen warlord Sulim Yamadaev came in an article published by Le Monde on October 27. The Paris daily’s correspondent Natalie Nougayrède managed to interview a young soldier identified only as “Aslan,” a member of an all-Chechen, 300-member unit under Yamadaev’s command. Stationed on a federal army base in the southern highlands’ Vedeno region, Aslan and his comrades specialize in hunting rebel guerrillas in the area’s thick forests. “Every day on our patrols there are armed confrontations,” he told the French journalist, “and every day one or two of our guys get killed. The Russian television doesn’t carry anything about it.”

Rebels who are captured, said Aslan, are brought back to the federal base, “where there are several rooms opening onto a big yard. We put one in each room, surrounded by ten men who get busy with him. They are beaten and tortured with electricity. We call it ‘turning the machine.’ Sometimes they die. We throw them out. There are underground hiding places.”