Russian law enforcement agencies have accused well-known Chechen field commander Ruslan Khaikharoev of involvement in the kidnapping of the Russian president’s representative in Chechnya, Valentin Vlasov. Official Djohar categorically denies the accusation. (NTV, May 19)
Ruslan Khaikharoev, along with Salman Raduev and Jordanian citizen Emir Khattab, is one of Chechnya’s most radical field commanders. Russian investigators have accused him of organizing the bombing of the bus station in Nalchik, in which several people were killed. Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office has charged Khaikharoev with kidnapping people for ransom. This is so far the only instance of such an accusation being made against an individual rather than against an anonymous “armed group.” According to the Office’s figures, Khaikharoev has kidnapped twenty-four Russian citizens, seventeen of whom were later ransomed. The average ransom paid was US$ 100,000. (NTV, May 19)
CHECHNYA WELCOMES LEBED’S ELECTION.