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Published in Stream:
Russia Update: February 3, 2015
Press by
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
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Yesterday we reported on the death in battle of Brig. Gen. Isa Munayev, a Chechen military commander who was fighting on the side of the Ukrainian army, and died in the effort to prevent the encirclement of Debaltsevo.

Munayev, 50, fought in the Chechen wars in the 1990s, but distanced himself from the terrorist leader Doku Umarov, who was killed by Russian forces last year.

Munayev's battalion was called the Dzhokhar Dudayev Battalion, in honor of President Dudayev of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, who was assassinated by Soviet forces. He was replaced by his deputy, Adam Osmayev, who took over the battalion as it continues to fight in eastern Ukraine.

Meduza.io, the Russian emigre news site in Latvia, ran a story today February 3 headlined "Man Accused in Assassination Attempt on Putin Heads Dudayev Battalion."

That headline is misleading even from Meduza's own reporting inside the story, which acknowledges that Osmayev was once accused in Odessa in 2012 of planning an attack on Russian President Vladimir Putin, but these charges were dropped during the investigation even under the Yanukovych regime.

Chechnya's current president Ramzan Kadyrov not surprisingly had some comments to make about Munayev on Instagram -- in the usual Soviet-style mode of denunciation, discreditation and disinformation -- with incendiary, unsubstantiated claims made about Osmayev and his wife, Amina Okuyeva.

Munayev-Kadyrov.jpg

The Interpreter has a translation:

Isa Munayev is killed. His murder was organized by Adam Osmayev and Amina Okuyeva on assignment by the SBU [Ukrainian Security Service] and agents of the CIA. The decision about the liquidation of Munayev was taken when they were convinced that he was a drunk and not capable of fighting. Munayev was never a warrior. Much less a real man. Could a warrior, a Chechen, a man, leave his commander in battle? But Munayev without a backward glance fled from Grozny, abandoning his "commander-in-chief and president of Ichkeria." All these years, he was on the payroll of the Western intelligence agencies. They were the ones to put an end to him when they realized wasn't worth a worthless hrvynia.
Today I appeal to those who through deception have been dragged by Munayev and the bandit Osmayev into the adventure with the Ukrainian fascists. Have you not see the drunken mug of Parashenko? [Here Kadyrov makes a pun out of the word parasha, the bucket used as a toilet in Russian prisons, and the name of the Ukrainian president--The Interpreter]. Haven't you seen the video where his subordinates openly tell him to screw off? If you haven't, see it! then you'll realize who you're fighting for!


He continues in that vein, then urges Chechens fighting on the Ukrainian side to come home, or their wives will become widows and their children will become orphans. Of course, he doesn't explain why the same admonition wouldn't apply to the "volunteers" which he claims are only "a few" in number - although the numbers spotted in Ukraine, specifically from the Chechen Interior Ministry or police loyal to Kadyrov, and with higher ranks indicate that they likely came with Kadyrov's blessing.

Meduza.io reports that Osmayev was detained in Odessa in February 2012 a week before the presidential campaign in which Putin won. He was accused of plotting an assassination attempt against Putin, although that charge of "terrorism" was dropped, and after spending three years in prison for possession of explosives, he was released.

Russian Wikipedia tells the story differently as it is based on more Ukrainian media articles. After the intercession of Osmayev's wife, Amina Okuyeva, with the new Kiev authorities, Osmayev was ultimately released on November 18, 2014. Osmayev was charged with unlawful handling of explosions, negligence in destroying another person's property and document forgery and sentenced to nearly 3 years. But since he had served much of the sentence in pre-trial detention, he was released.

Kadyrov's denunciation may have been driven by a keen awareness that numerous Chechens have been found fighting on the side of the Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine, and have shown up in a wide variety of roles killing a Russian officer in a mutiny or being killed at the Donetsk Airport or other battles and running Krasnodon. Naturally, suspicion would fall on them as having a motive to remove a thorn in Kadyrov's side.

Semyon Semyonchenko, commander of the Donbass Battalion has an account of Munayev's last day which they spent together, but then he himself and his men were wounded, and he only later heard that Munayev was killed in combat, and he is not certain of the circumstances, but he referenced Munayev's plan to attack an apple orchard where there was a Russian position.


-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick