Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 28

The terrorist killed in the assassination attempt on Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze was carrying a passport in the name of Nisamutdin Dzhangaliev, an ethnic Chechen resident of the Dagestani city of Khasavyurt. The Khasavyurt police confirm that a passport in that name was issued a year ago. They also confirm that its holder fought on the side of the Chechen resistance movement during the war in Chechnya. The Chechen authorities categorically deny any involvement in the attempt on Shevardnadze’s life. They suggested instead that the passport had been planted by agents of the Russian security services. (NTV, February 11)

As things stand, however, there seems no reason to doubt that the dead man was indeed the person named on the passport. The terrorist’s face was not disfigured and it must therefore have been possible to identify the body from the passport photograph.

It is certainly unlikely that the terrorist act was committed with the knowledge of official Grozny. Grozny has no interest in spoiling its relations with Tbilisi because Georgia is, apart from Russia, the only state with which Chechnya shares a border. But the style of the operation — going into the very center of the city, fully armed, with identification papers — was a combination of daring and carelessness uncharacteristic of either the Russian or the Georgian security services but featuring in virtually all the operations of Chechen fighters.

Only a few months ago, Salman Raduev said that he intended to help the Zviadist underground overthrow "the anti-popular, pro-Russian Shevardnadze regime." There are plenty of other rogue Chechen field commanders who advocate the liberation of the whole of the Caucasus. It is possible that one of these was involved in the assassination attempt on the Georgian president.

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