How many servicemen in the Kadyrov administration’s security agencies are double agents–that is, separatist rebels operating under cover? A January 14 article by Yelena Shesternina in Russky kurier suggested that the recent arrest of a 26-year-old policeman in Grozny represents just the tip of a fairly large iceberg.
Especially significant is that the policeman suspected of aiding and abetting the separatists was a member of the security detail for the Chechen Interior Ministry’s headquarters building, which is an obvious rebel target. An officer in the federal Interior Ministry told Shesternina that the suspect “used his official position to transport members of bandit groups, weapons and explosives.”
In Chechnya, just as in the United States, such an infiltrator is called a “krot”–a “mole.” The latest arrestee, according to Shesternina, was “far from the first” since the Kadyrov administration’s police agency was formally created in late 2001. The head of a district section of the Interior Ministry was arrested in 2002 for collaboration with the rebel guerrillas; he was said to have directed a gang with some ten members, including policemen. From that gang were confiscated a “large quantity” of explosives as well as anti-tank and anti-aircraft rockets, machine guns and small arms.
What Shesternina called the moles’ “most memorable” feat took place in October of 2002 and involved the blowing up of a district Interior Ministry headquarters in Grozny. The explosion was timed, clearly with inside knowledge, to kill the district police chief and several other high ranking officers. The five moles who organized that bombing immediately stopped coming to work, but were arrested about a month later.
In August of 2003 a rank-and-file Grozny policeman was caught when he was meeting with two guerrilla rebels, and was arrested for assisting them. According to Shesternina, “people collaborating with the guerrillas have been found even among the leadership of Chechnya’s Ministry of Justice and its directorate for fighting organized crime; they gave the bandits advance warning about operations being prepared by the Interior Ministry.”
Asked by the Russky kurier reporter to comment, the head of the Kadyrov administration’s security council, Rudnik Dudaev, admitted that “in the ranks of the Chechen police there are certainly those who are helping the guerrillas…the personnel of the Chechen Interior Ministry are full of people who have received their jobs by means of patronage or bribery.”