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SWJED 05-12-2006 06:40 PM

The North Caucasus: Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia
Back in 1998 - 1999 I was the manager of a Marine Corps project supporting the Corps' Urban Warrior program - our goal was to gain the perspective of those who had planned and conducted an urban insurgency against a modern conventional force. Ms. Marie Bennigsen Broxup conducted interviews of 20 Chechen commanders and staff officers in Chechnya. We also conducted an 8-hour seminar with another commander who was visiting the U.S. in 1999.

Three articles / papers were produced based on the interviews:

View From the Wolves' Den - The Chechens and Urban Operations by Dave Dilegge

David Slays Goliath: A Chechen Perspective on the War in Chechnya (1994 - 1996) by LtCol Tim Jackson, USMC

General-Major Tourpal-Ali Kaimov - On Urban Warfare in Chechnya by Dave Dilegge

That said, I was looking through my old files and ran across the original raw / unedited interviews and thought they might be of some interest and maybe useful. Here is the first, will post the others soonest...

Interview: Aslan Maskhadov - Wikipedia: Leader of the separatist movement in the southern Russian republic of Chechnya. He was credited by many with the Chechen victory in the First Chechen War, which allowed for the de facto establishment of an independent Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. Maskhadov became President of the nation in January of 1997 with heavy backup from Moscow. Following the start of the Second Chechen War, he returned to leading the guerrilla movement against the Russian army. He was reported killed in a village in southern Chechnya in March 2005.

SWJED 05-12-2006 07:06 PM

Including the Kaimov article above I have located interviews of 16 Chechens - here are the remainder:

Suleiman Bustaev - Commander, took part in the operations against Gudermes (December 1995), Pervomaiskaia, and Grozny.

Dalkhan Khozhev - Chief of Ahmad Zakaev’s HQ in the South-West.

Ahmad Zakaev - South-West Commander.

Aydemir Abalaev - Commander of the Zandak Regiment.

Ali Demaev - Head of communications for the South-East Commander-in-Chief.

Ruslan Alikhadzhiev - Commander Southern Front.

Ali Atgireyev - Commanded units in all battles of Grozny, took part in the Pervomaiskaia expedition, was commander of the Shelkovski raion during the 1995-6 cease-fire, previously took part in military operations in Abkhazia.

Apty Batalov - Commander of Naursky and Nadtechny raions.

Husein Iskhanov - Aslan Maskhadov’s ADC.

Hamid Iangulbaev - Village Commander.

Ilyas Akhmadov - ADC to Shamil Basaev and later to Aslan Maskhadov.

Magomed Khambiev - Commander of the Chechen National Guard.

Payzullah Nutsulkhanov - Aslan Maskhadov’s Chief of Staff, in charge of logistics.

Said Iskhanov - Intelligence on Grozny.

Said Iskhanov - Part II - on weapons employment.

Tom Odom 05-12-2006 07:39 PM


It was then that we decided, against all military logic, to counter-attack. It was a first in terms of military tactics and we forced tank units to retreat. How was it done? Our soldiers did not know how to dig trenches, they considered it humiliating, but there was no choice – the houses were too small and fragile, they could not withstand a tank attack. So we made a line between the Sunzha and Minutka, dug trenches, and with approximately 40 / 50 men facing the tanks we advanced meter by meter, digging more trenches as we crawled forward until we reached the tanks and burned them. We pressed them until the tanks retreated, then we build more trenches and advanced further. It was highly unconventional trench warfare!
That's from Mashkadov's interview! It reminds me of how the original "sappers" used trenches and tunnels to undermine castles and forts in siege warfare. Sounds like the tank crews saw their tracks as mini-forts.

Thanks, Dave!


SWJED 05-13-2006 01:16 AM

More on Chechnya
On the Chechnya Page in the SWJ Reference Library. Includes articles by two old friends who did a lot of great work in support of our urban operations efforts - Les Grau and Tim Thomas.

Jedburgh 09-27-2006 04:22 PM

The Caucasus region conflicts (merged thread)
Military Jama’ats in the North Caucasus: A Continuing Threat

The Russian Military Campaign in the North Caucasus: Is a Victory in Sight?

The Rise and Fall of Arab Fighters in Chechnya

For those with a continued interest, there is the Jamestown Foundation's North Caucasus Analysis.

Strickland 09-27-2006 11:29 PM

Both the Jamestown Foundation and CSIS have held events on the North Caucasus situation over the past several weeks. Each has reports on their websites.

Jedburgh 06-10-2007 02:08 PM

Russian Analytical Digest, 5 Jun 07: The North Caucasus

The Russian-Chechen Conflict and the Putin-Kadyrov Connection
Mark Kramer, Cambridge, MA

Separatism and Islamic Extremism in the Ethnic Republics of the North Caucasus
Akhmet A. Yarlykapov, Moscow

Administrative Map of the North Caucasus
Physical Map of the North Caucasus

Table: The Southern Federal District. An Overview of Main Statistical Indicators
Timeline: Terror Related Incidents in the North Caucasus Since the Death of Shamil Basayev

Why Did War Begin Again in Chechnya in 1999? (Levada)
Chechnya After the Death of Basayev (VTsIOM)
Ramzan Kadyrov, President of Chechnya (FOM)
Russian-Georgian Relations (VTsIOM)
Interethnic Tensions November 2005 – April 2007 (Levada)

Jedburgh 06-13-2007 07:17 PM

The Economist, 2 Jun 07: The Warlord and the Spook

...War with Russia has deformed Chechnya. But perhaps more than anything else in Russia's post-Soviet history, the forgotten Chechen wars have shaped the angry and authoritarian country Russia has become.

Mr Putin made Mr Kadyrov president; but Chechnya helped to make Mr Putin himself president of Russia. Were it not for the air of emergency engendered by the second Chechen war, which began when Mr Putin was prime minister, the lightening rise of this obscure ex-KGB officer would have met more resistance. The war, and the string of mysterious apartment bombings that preceded it, brought the FSB (the renamed security service that Mr Putin briefly led) back to the centre of Russian politics. And it has been the cause, or the pretext, for many of the hard-line policies of the Putin presidency.

Russia's gathering suspicion towards the West can be traced in part to the autumn of 2004, and Beslan....

Jedburgh 08-22-2007 11:32 PM

CSRC, 22 Aug 07: North Caucasus: Problems of Helicopter Support in Mountains

Key Points

* The Mi-8 helicopter accident on 27 April 2007 in south Chechnya emphasised the appalling state of Russian military helicopter aviation.

* By 1999 the average age of Mi-8 helicopters was 15-20 years old and that of Mi-24 helicopters was 20 years or older. On average 70% of the helicopter park required repair with one third needing major components.

* Since then, 13 years of conflict have passed without replacement helicopters and new modern designs, even before the first conflict (1994-1996) almost 100% of the attack Mi-24 helicopters were worn out. Transport helicopters have been worked to the limit.

* At least 10 of the 18 helicopter crashes in Chechnya in the last five years can be attributed to pilot error or equipment malfunction; 205 servicemen died.

* MOD chose to buy Mi-28 (Night Hunter) on grounds of cost in preference to Ka-50 (Black Shark) and Ka-52 (Alligator) regarded by military experts as better aircraft. All three will now be bought in small numbers until 2015.

Jedburgh 08-27-2007 07:57 PM

The Jamestown Foundation, 27 Aug 07: The Ingush Jamaat: Identity and Resistance in the North Caucasus

....The current situation in Ingushetia is similar to that in Chechnya on the eve of the second military campaign of 1999. The local authorities are unable to control the situation within the republic, the resistance is unable to overthrow the government, and numerous internal problems (of refugees, inter-clan and inter-party conflicts) remain unresolved, with the Ingush government only too happy to write them off as a consequence of the situation in the Prigorodnyi district.

Slowly, and largely due to the policies of the Russian government, the Ingush are getting used to the idea that they are living in a war zone. This invariably leads to a growth in the idolization of the armed resistance among the youth, with many willing to participate in the activities of such groups. The psychological outlook of those living through war is always different from those living in peacetime. Such individuals inherently start to see everything in terms of casualties and military victories. In tragedy, they no longer pay attention to the victims, but view what goes on as a simple consequence of the environment. This grim worldview makes people less willing to sacrifice themselves for the abstract ideas offered by “Yedinaia Rossia” and the unified state. The intelligentsia begins emphasizing the positive aspects of the military conflict, making the youth more nationalistically inclined and aggressive toward other ethnic groups. This comes in addition to the normally higher level of nationalistic and patriotic attitudes found among those living in a wartime situation....

Jedburgh 09-18-2007 02:12 PM

CSIS, 18 Sep 07: 49 Steps To Improve Human Rights and Security in the North Caucasus

For well over a decade, the North Caucasus has been the site and source of rising levels of violence, instability, and terrorism. After a cease-fire ended the first Chechen war in late 1996, terrorist bombings and incursions in Dagestan provoked the Russian government to send federal troops back into Chechnya in October 1999. The ensuing military conflict produced massive military and civilian casualties, streams of refugees, shocking brutality against civilians, and a surge in terrorist actions in the south and elsewhere in Russia. The most dramatic events included the seizure of a Moscow theater by terrorists in October 2002, the downing of two airplanes and a metro bombing in downtown Moscow in August 2004, the vicious raid on a school in Beslan, North Ossetia, in September 2004, and an October 2005 assault on police and security forces by local youths and terrorists in Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria. Though seldom reported in the Western press, less spectacular explosions, targeting civilians and officials, have occurred on an almost daily basis for several years now in southern Russia. Apart from such overt acts of violence, longer-term tensions among the many different ethnic groups that reside in the region, reportedly rampant police brutality, and sustained poverty have led some observers to portray the area as a powder keg for extremism and Islamic radicalization.....

Jedburgh 11-28-2007 01:28 PM

CSRC, 27 Nov 07: North Caucasus: Advent of Mountain Brigades

Key Points

* President Putin conceived the concept of mountain brigades in August 2004 to improve security along the southern Russian border and counter cross-border violations.

* President Putin also stipulated that the infrastructure envisaged for the mountain brigades: roads, electricity, water and gas must also serve the inhabitants of Botlikh (Daghestan) and Zelenchukskaya (Karachayevo-Cherkessia).

* Whilst construction of new barracks is almost complete, the recruitment, manning and training of personnel is more difficult. It is unlikely that the brigades will be fully operational until the end of 2008.
Complete 23 page paper at the link.

Jesse9252 12-08-2007 08:35 PM

Recommendations: Second Chechen War (esp. post-2005)
I'm currently writing a paper for my Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics class on Chechnya and the confluence of political/military circumstances that led to the fragile peace we are seeing today. A few years ago, analysts and experts almost universally predicted continued violence and instability in the region; today flights to Grozny have resumed and Ramzan Kadyrov is talking about building a tourism industry. My paper will examine why.

I've got a preliminary outline and a working thesis but am having trouble finding material on developments in the last few years. Even the more recently published books are of very limited utility (unless I missed a big one or my school library doesn't have it). Got some stuff from CSIS, the Carnegie Moscow Center, and a few others but I'm hoping the folks here might be able to offer advice and direction. The Chechnya section of this site's research page offers excellent background but doesn't seem to have anything recent enough to help with the meat of my paper.

Thanks in advance for any help I get!

Jedburgh 12-09-2007 01:22 AM


Originally Posted by Jesse9252
....I've got a preliminary outline and a working thesis but am having trouble finding material on developments in the last few years. Even the more recently published books are of very limited utility (unless I missed a big one or my school library doesn't have it). Got some stuff from CSIS, the Carnegie Moscow Center, and a few others but I'm hoping the folks here might be able to offer advice and direction. The Chechnya section of this site's research page offers excellent background but doesn't seem to have anything recent enough to help with the meat of my paper.....

Have you looked at the Jamestown Foundation's Chechnya Weekly? For a no-fee, open-source site they do a decent job of reporting current events (with a bit of analysis thrown in) and their archives go back to October 2000.

RFE/RL reports a bit on the area, although you have to dig for it on the site.

Also, if you haven't read through it already, the North Caucasus thread also has a number of links you may find of use.

Finally, you can view the other perspective at the Kavkaz Center

kaur 01-04-2008 07:44 AM

Caucaus site and DOS

The Caucasus Times portal, which was taken offline on December 22 by a denial of service attack, is not only planning to restart its coverage of human rights violations and other developments in the region but also to take the Russian officials the site’s editors believe are responsible for trying to destroy it.
Initially, Islam Tekushev, the portal’s lead editor, said yesterday, those connected with the Prague-based site feared that the attack had destroyed virtually all of its files, thus making it difficult if not impossible to serve as a media outlet of record and to continue operations. But now, they believe that they will be able to recover 80 percent of them.

Jedburgh 01-09-2008 02:35 PM

A two-part piece from the Jamestown Foundation's Chechnya Weekly:

The Dagestani Jamaat (Part 1)

The Dagestani Jamaat "Shariat" is the direct successor of the Dagestani Jamaat supposedly destroyed on the orders of Vladimir Putin in August and September of 1999. As such, it is one more example of how inefficient a military response is for suppressing an ideological opponent. It is possible to destroy bases, to destroy active participants, but it is quite impossible to destroy an underlying ideology using tanks and planes. Since the large-scale military operation carried out in Dagestan in August-September 1999, Salafi teachings have spread throughout the whole of Dagestan, especially enjoying popularity among the youth of the republic. Thus, Salafi ideology has become a form of protest against Russian policies in Dagestan. It is worth noting that while not all the members of the Dagestani Jamaat are dedicated Salafi adherents, all of them stand united in the anti-Russian struggle, making this ideology a unifying force. There are also small groups in the armed resistance movement in Dagestan that are not controlled by the Jamaat, but they still identify themselves with the resistance movement forces.....
The Dagestani Jamaat (Part 2)

....Jamaat structures are uniform across the North Caucasus and do not vary due to ethnic or regional differences, perhaps in rare exceptions. For nearly eight years, one of the best-known leaders of the Dagestani Jamaat was Rappani Khalilov, a native of the city of Buinaksk and an ethnic Laks. He was replaced as commander of the Dagestani sector of the Caucasus Front by Amir Abdul-Madzhid, who also began as a member of the “Shariat” Jamaat at the start of the second military campaign in Chechnya in 1999 and was one of Khalilov’s closest associates. The “Shariat” Jamaat has units across the entire republic. The republic is divided into zones, such as the Buinaksk, Gubden, Makhachkala, Kizliar, Khasavyurt, Botlikh and others. Amir Abdul-Madzhid himself and others in the sector’s command are members of the Military Council of the Shura under Dokka Umarov and, since Umarov’s recent proclamation of a “Caucasian Emirate,” Amir Abdul Madzhid has been made “Vali of the Vilyat of Dagestan”–that is, the resistance’s de facto ruler in Dagestan. All of the vilayets are united under the leadership of Dokka Umarov, who is considered the personal ruler of this “virtual” emirate, but in fact, each vali is autonomous not by virtue of the formation of an emirate, but strictly due to the absence of authority of Dokka Umarov among those fighting under the flag of the resistance movement......

Penta 01-10-2008 07:20 PM

Insofar as there's a "native" form of Islam in the Caucasus, what is it? Sunni? Shiite? Salafi? Sufi? Some other variety?

kaur 01-14-2008 06:30 AM


And on the other, it means that Cyber-Muslims can use the Internet to expand their ties with the worldwide umma, something that guarantees they will be exposed to ideas and approaches that the leaders of the Muslim Spiritual Directorates have tried to prevent.
Such international linkages perhaps an even greater concern for the Russian government, which over the last decade has worked hard to limit both the number of Muslims studying abroad and the number of Muslim missionaries coming in from abroad and bringing with them versions of the faith very different from those Moscow prefers.

Jedburgh 02-22-2008 02:04 PM

The Jamestown Foundation's Chechnya Weekly, 21 Feb 08:

Dagestan's Expanding Insurgency

....Now that Putin’s presidency is ending it is important for him to remind the public of his political achievements. During his February 4 trip to Botlikh, Putin talked a lot about the events of August 1999, especially about the Dagestani local militia's support for the Russian troops that fought the Basaev/Khattab-led insurgents. “There were many wounded and killed among the local population,” Putin said at the meeting in Botlikh. “Please do not forget about these people and their families”.

Apart from other aims, Putin’s visit to Botlikh was meant to highlight the success of his Caucasus policy and show that the residents of Dagestan support the federal government, just as they did in August 1999. Nevertheless, current events in Dagestan demonstrate the opposite: the area of hostilities in the republic is expanding. War reports from the region mention more and more districts of Dagestan that have never before appeared in the news as scenes of battles between the rebels and police forces.....

zenpundit 03-02-2008 04:13 AM

Vilyat? Vilayet? In Dagestan ?
I generally like Jamestown stuff but this struck me as really weird.

Isn't a "Vilyat" a corruption of an Ottoman Turk administrative division? When did the Ottomans rule Daghestan ? Golden Horde, sure. Persians, definitely. Why would Wahabbist neo-salafi loons use antique Turkish terminology when a good Wahabbist would see Ottoman sanjaks as corrupt former oppressors of "true Islam" ?

Maybe I have missed something somewhere ?

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