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Countering Urban Terrorism in Russia and the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop
ists. In fact, it was the first major terrorist act carried out by members of the so-called Riyadus Salihiin scouting and sabotage battalion created by Shamil Basaev (in Arabic, “Riyadh as-Salihiin” means “gardens of the righteous”). Among the activities of this group was the training of suicide fighters. The battalion was assigned the task of waging mine warfare and carrying out acts of sabotage in Chechnya and other Russian regions involving suicide bombers. Approximately 150 young men and young women were selected for the battalion and consecrated as so-called suicide fighters.
In creating such an important-sounding group, Basaev was pursuing another goal, namely raising the status of the Chechen terrorists and consequently increasing their funding from abroad. They would be part of the international terrorist network and would assume their honorable place among similar world-famous organizations. Basaev even changed his name to the Arabic style— Abdullah Shamil Abu Idris.
The majority of the most significant terrorist acts in 2003 were carried out by suicide bombers, or shahids. One of the main goals of the terrorist acts was to destroy the process of normalization of the North Caucasus situation and to have a negative impact on the population of primarily this region before the State Duma elections.
In 2004 we saw a sharp increase in terrorism, culminating in the events in Beslan. It was the year of the Russian presidential election, so the results of Vladimir Putin’s first term as president were being summed up. The Chechen presidential election was also held in 2004, the very fact of which was supposed to consolidate the republic’s turn toward peaceful life. This was also the year of the sixtieth anniversary of the deportation of the peoples of the Caucasus, and the Chechen fighters marked such important dates with bloody acts.
However, there are also other reasons for the increased activities of the terrorists. The numerous terrorist acts, sabotage, murders, and abductions they carried out in 1998–2004 did not lead to any politically significant results. This could not but evoke serious complaints against the leaders of the bandit groups on the part of the foreign sponsors financing their activities. To prove their professional suitability, Basaev and Aslan Maskhadov had to carry out a series of particularly major terrorist acts.
In Moscow on February 6, 2004, there was a powerful explosion on a subway train car between the Paveletskaya and Avtozavodskaya stations, in which 39 people were killed and about 350 passengers were wounded, of whom 122 were hospitalized. According to the initial findings of the investigation, the terrorist act was carried out by a suicide bomber.
On May 9, 2004, during a holiday concert at Dynamo Stadium in Grozny, an explosive device was detonated. It was later learned that the device had been placed during construction and repair work at the stadium. Seven people were killed in this terrorist act, including Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov and Chechen State Council Chairman Khusein Isaev. Colonel-General Valery