Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 17

On June 5, the website, which frequently airs the opinions of the Russian FSB operating in Chechnya headed up by General Babkin, published a no-holds-barred attack, entitled “The Gray Cardinal of Chechnya,” directed against Yan (Yakov) Sergunin, chief-of-staff of the pro-Moscow head of administration of the republic, Akhmad Kadyrov. “This man [Sergunin],” Kadyrov is quoted as exclaiming, “has been sent to me by Allah.” According to, Sergunin is in fact a repugnant ethnic Gypsy and a former convicted criminal “who has a pathological hatred for everything Russian and for all Russians.” A convert to Islam who is married to a Chechen woman, Sergunin is said to be involved in a complicated plot to take control of all funds earmarked for Chechen reconstruction. He and his backers are seen as attempting to get rid of all ethnic Russians and Slavs remaining in the pro-Moscow Chechen leadership: for example, Prime Minister Stanislav Il’yasov; republican Minister of Finance Sergei Abramov; and the mayor of Djohar (Grozny), Oleg Zhidkov. The Kadyrov group is said to want to accomplish this well in advance of the forthcoming presidential elections in Chechnya, which could take place as early as the end of 2002 or the beginning of 2003. “Precisely they [Kadyrov and Sergunin],” the website warns, “will receive control over the finances [of the republic]. And then they will more insistently make demands that the Russian forces be withdrawn. In a word, on the horizon there looms a second ‘quiet’ Khasavyurt.”