The Interpreter

A special project of Institute of Modern Russia
“Kadyrov’s Bodyguards”. Far left, Yunus Rasukhadzhiev, junior sergeant, arrested and released.

Kadyrov’s Thugs

How bodyguards of the Chechen warlord were arrested for kidnapping, torture and extortion in Moscow, then released by Alexander Bastrykin's Investigative Committee.

Last week, independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta ran the following exclusive on how the personal bodyguards of Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov were arrested by Russian authorities for kidnapping, extortion, assault, rape and attempted murder in Moscow. They were then released by the Russian Investigative Committee, prompting howls of protest from the FSB agents who investigated the crimes.

“Kadyrov’s bodyguards” have been released once again. The generals promised: those who have kidnapped and tortured people in Moscow will be punished, will go to jail and will face trial. But they’re already free. We demand an answer from the Russian Federation Investigative Committee, the Federal Security Service (FSB), the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor General’s office and the presidential administration. We ask everyone to support our official appeals.

Officers of the FSB central office (the names are known to the editors) contacted Novaya gazeta and informed us that almost all the staff of their department are refusing to go out on the job, and are prepared turn in their official IDs. The reason for such a determined demarche is the recent release from custody of Chechen policemen who, in 2011 in Moscow, had kidnapped a person, extorted money from him and subjected him to the most brutal torture. (Novaya gazeta wrote about this story in issue no. 42, 16.04.2012).

The outraged Chekists [FSB officers] reported that despite the personal oversight of the investigation of the criminal case by Alexander Bastrykin, head of the Investigative Committee, all those arrested were released anyway, and the principal investigator was fired. Furthermore, there are transcripts of “bugged” telephone conversations of the accused in the case from Investigation Isolation Detention Center No. 6, from which they gave orders to intimidate witnesses. We talked with officers of the FSB and learned additional details of this scandalous criminal case.

The Chekists set up a meeting in a café outside Moscow.

“You understand, it’s not just that they spat in our faces, they put our families in danger,” Col. R fumed. “Why did we go to Chechnya and collect the evidence? We were minded there by real gangsters in uniform, and we almost became hostages. People in the department are extremely outraged!”

“And now we are learning that these same ‘Kadyrov bodyguards’ which were involved in criminal activity in Moscow have been calmly released,” added Major N. “How to understand this? It would be better if we took the bribes we were offered…”

Novaya gazeta reported on the detention of several Chechen policemen last year. After the publication of the article, there was a huge scandal and high officials from the power structures swore an oath that the guilty would be punished.

One of the arrested men was Adam Israilov (the nephew of Zelimkhan-Bes).
One of the arrested men was Adam Israilov (the nephew of Zelimkhan-Bes).

We will remind you of the circumstances briefly: On August 23, 2011, at the Darya mall on Stroginsky Boulevard, citizen Zh. was kidnapped (the editors know his name, but he appears in the criminal case under the pseudonym “Grigory,” so we will call him by that name henceforward). According to the investigation’s information, officers of the police assigned to Moscow from Chechnya to protect the head of the republic and members of his family during their visitors were involved in the kidnapping.

They were Khozh-Akhmed Israilov, a detective from the criminal investigation department of the Department of Internal Affairs for Nozhai-Yurt District of the Chechen Republic (he had with him a Stechkin (APC) pistol No. LV-911 and authorization for assignment to guard the president of the Chechen Republic and members of his family); Adam Israilov, an inspector of the rapid-reaction Special Battalion of the Road Patrol Service of the Chief Directorate for Traffic Safety of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Chechen Republic (Stechkin pistol No. SV 1656K and authorization for assignment to guard the president of the Chechen Republic and members of his family); Dzhambulat Makhmatmurziev, a detective of the criminal investigation department of the Department of Internal Affairs for Shelkovsky District of the Chechen Republic (Stechkin pistol No. SV 380 and authorization for assignment to guard the president of the Chechen Republic and members of his family); Muskhadzhi Musulayev, a detective of the criminal investigation department of the Department of Internal Affairs of the Urus-Martan District of the Chechen Republic (Stechkin No. SK 653K and authorization to guard the president of the Chechen Republic and members of his family; Ibragim-Bek Tagirov, former officer of the Directorate to Combat Organized Crime of the Main Directorate of Internal Affairs of the city of Moscow; Aslanbek Temirov, a native of Beglatoy, Shali District of the Chechen Republic; and Akhmed Dzamikhov, a native of Zlukodes of the Zol District of Kabardino-Balkaria Republic.

At first, Grigory was shown their official IDs, then beaten over the head with the handle of a pistol, then forcibly taken to the village of Meshchersky (next to the Moscow Ring Road) and thrown in the cellar of the home of businessman M. According to field reports from the FSB, businessman M. had previously been an active member of this gang, and hostages were periodically held at his home on the Moscow Ring Road.

According to the criminal case materials, three million rubles or a new Lexus were extorted from Grigory. Furthermore, the Chechen policemen chained his handcuffs to an iron chair, beat him with an iron bar and raped him with a billiard cue. When the hostage ceased to show any signs of life, he was taken at night to Strogino and dumped at a bus stop. Two hours later, an accidental passerby saw the bleeding Grigory and called an ambulance. Medics took the victim to the emergency room at Hospital No. 67 and made a grim diagnosis: “Closed skull and brain trauma in the form of brain damage and sub-arachnoidal bleeding with development of nidal and cerebral symptoms, and intra-abdominal damage to the rectum (defect of the front wall of the rectum)”.

Photo from the mobile phone of Adam Israilov, detained and released.
Photo from the mobile phone of Adam Israilov, detained and released.

Fortunately, Grigory survived and gave testimony. A week later, his kidnappers were arrested: the Israilovs (Adam and Khodzh-Akhmed), Makhmatmurziev, Musulaev, Tagirov, Temirov and Dzamikhov. And three days later, suspected accomplices were detained: Zelimkhan Israilov, a detective of the Center for Security of Persons Requiring State Protection of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Chechnya (Stechkin pistol No. SK 1055 K); Yunus Rasukhadzhiev, junior sergeant of the regiment of the Directorate of External Security of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Chechnya (pistol GSh-18 No. 090676L); Muslim Kaygarov (b. 1990, native of Chechnya) and Mikhail Rabuev (b. 1990, native of Chechnya). All of them were charged with kidnapping, extortion and cause of severe bodily damages.

Grigory and Valera Osetin

We learned more about the kidnap victim. In the past, Grigory had been involved in stealing expensive foreign cars in a gang run by a native of Southern Ossetia, Valery X (Valera Osetin). Valera Osetin resides in Lybertsy and takes orders for stealing Lexuses and Porches, and then under the protection of corrupt law-enforcement agencies, fences them to Chechnya, Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria and Southern Ossetia. For example, in the summer of 2012, the gang stole approximately a dozen Lexuses in Moscow.

In 2005, Grigory was sentenced for carjacking the Mercedes of the daughter of a high official. After serving his sentence, he got a job and was intending to marry again. But Valera Osetin found him and offered him $18,000 to steal a Lexus on order from a “fighter from Dagestan.” Grigory refused and kicked Osetin out of his building. Then Osetin decided to get his revenge and got his friends from the Chechen police involved in the affair. He told them that Grigory was stealing a dozen foreign cars a month and not “cutting in” anyone with the proceeds.

On 23 August 2011, Valera Osetin called Grigory and arranged a meeting at the Darya mall on Stroginsky Boulevard, where the above-mentioned persons were already lying in wait for him.

A security detail

As was previously reported in the Novaya gazeta, about 30 security guards, Kadyrov’s so-called “capital security detail,” are permanently stationed in Moscow. The guards allegedly live in rooms at the President Hotel; they’re armed with automatic weapons, equipped with hi-tech communication devices, and they carry special documents that make their vehicles immune from inspection.

The detail operate under the command of Zelimkhan Israilov, a.k.a. “Bes,” a police lieutenant who was one of those arrested (he also uses an ID with the name “Bislan Khakimov”). He drives around the capital in a Mercedes-Benz ML500 (license plate Р *** КР 150 РУС; registered owner: Natalia R., resident of Mytischi) and allegedly uses secure “government” communication channels.

Right – Zelimkhan Israilov (Bes)
Right – Zelimkhan Israilov (Bes)

Bes first came to light back on March 18, 2007, when, in the center of Moscow, he got into a fight with another driver, Mr. Kochetkov. As the police report says, “Israilov and Kochetkov got into a fight. As a result, the latter fell, hit his head against the curb and died instantly” (the criminal charges were soon dropped).

Next incident. August 25, 2008. A shootout outside a restaurant on Novoyasenevsky Prospect. Israilov was shot in the chest and taken to a hospital. Also wounded was Muskhadjee Musulayev, also a police officer. Both were brought to the hospital by Djambulat Makhmatmurziyev (all mentioned in the list of arrested in connection with Grigoriy’s abduction). Two of the rival shooters were also wounded. A native of Baku (Azerbaijan), Mr. Mamedov, and Mr. Nikitin, a resident of Moscow (criminal case closed).

January 5, 2009. This time it was Israilov himself who put into action his service weapon, (fully automatic) “Stechkin.” According to the investigators, he burst onto a bus that cut him off and shot the driver, Mr. Porshnev, in the leg. However, the bus driver somehow managed to hit Bes with a crowbar. The other person in the car was Lieutenant Ismailov, a special agent of the Chechen Ministry of the Interior Internal Affairs Department.

That was a high-profile case. Speaking to Novaya gazeta reporters, the Prosecutor General’s office vowed to make sure that crime would not go unpunished. However, the criminal case was closed by the Investigative Department of Moscow Western Administrative District. And now another high-profile case of abduction and torture of Grigoriy.

Investigation

The way Grigoriy’s abduction was investigated should be a separate story. First, the very next day after the arrests, Mr. A. (a.k.a “Bandyugan,” or “Goon”. We know his real name), an officer from the Moscow Police Department Organized Crime Division visited both the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department (MUR) and the Federal Security Service (FSB) offices and allegedly dropped a hint about possible problems if those arrested were not released. After that, some visitors from Grozny showed up at the investigator’s office as well as at MUR and FSB. Those individuals offered 3.5 million euro for the release of the detainees.

In light of who the arrested were, as well as their “connections in high places,” the criminal case was transferred from the Investigative Department of Moscow Northwestern Administrative District to the First Department that investigates priority cases and is part of the Main Investigative Department for the City of Moscow. Moreover, the case came under personal scrutiny of Mr. Alexander Bastrykin, the powerful Chief of the Investigative Committee.

During interrogations the detainees tried to convince the investigators that they had nothing to do with that crime. However witnesses and phone bills told a different story. In particular, a curious neighbor pointed to Valera Ossetin. She remembered his guests and the car license plates (she is currently under witness protection).

Then the suspects’ attorneys found some “witnesses” who claimed that on the day Grigoriy was abducted some of the suspects were attending a wedding in Chechnya, others were at their friend’s funeral in Nalchik. They even submitted some photos. However that “alibi” also fell apart. A group of investigators and FSB agents was dispatched to Chechnya and Kabardino-Balkaria. The group was tightly guarded by a special forces detail. The “witnesses’” testimonies were totally inconsistent, and it was determined that the pictures had been taken a year before.

This man, well acquainted with the arrested “ Kadyrov bodyguards” was detained in November 2012 with a full sack of money but police were forced to release him.
This man, well acquainted with the arrested “ Kadyrov bodyguards” was detained in November 2012 with a full sack of money but police were forced to release him.

Meanwhile, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Investigative Committee, the Ministry of the Interior (MVD), and the State Duma all received dozens of petitions asking to release the “innocent citizens of Chechen Republic who were fighting crime but became the hostages of corrupt FSB and MVD officials and the enemies of the Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov.” Unfortunately, among those who signed one of the petitions was a well-known journalist, a member of the Civic Chamber. We got in touch with our colleague who didn’t rule out a possibility of “signing some letter without even looking at it.”

Meanwhile, despite all the opposition and threats, the investigators remained confident that the criminals who abducted Grigoriy would not go unpunished.

However, once Mr. Bastrykin, the Investigative Committee Chief, stopped insisting on receiving monthly investigation status reports, Mr. Chingiz Berikov, who investigated the case, was fired. Right after the investigator was relieved of his duties, Bes and four others were released from custody. Then, on February 19, 2013, the criminal case was suddenly transferred from the Moscow Main Investigative Department to the Investigative Department of Moscow Central Administrative District. A new investigator decided to release the [remaining] suspects from custody. It should be noted, that Mr. Vassily Piskaryov, the First Deputy Chief of the Investigative Committee declared in an interview, that “all the criminals without any exception should be brought to justice, and nobody should be ‘untouchable.’” And now whatever is left of that case will be “investigated” by a district police officer, a kind of beat cop.