April 6th 2009 · Prague Watchdog / Dzhambulat Are · PRINTER FRIENDLY FORMAT · E-MAIL THIS · ALSO AVAILABLE IN: RUSSIAN 

The “golden gun” of Adam Delimkhanov (weekly review)

By Dzhambulat Are, special to Prague Watchdog

GROZNY, Chechnya – When Dubai’s chief of police called the killing of Sulim Yamadayev "a Chechen dirty score-settling operation", it was probably not his intention to stigmatize the organizers of the assassination as unscrupulous men. More likely he was simply resorting to professional jargon. The assassins and their organizers did not bother to conceal their traces and, left a large amount of evidence behind – in other words, they acted more or less openly. It is the "rhetoric" of the evidence that makes the operation a "dirty" one.

Indeed, the apparent amateurism of the mastermind who ordered the killing is unprecedented. A deputy of the Russian State Duma meets with the killers in person, and his bodyguard hands them not just any gun, but a specific gold-plated Makarov pistol, without even troubling to remove the serial number. The police are assuming that Adam Delimkhanov used his diplomatic immunity to personally import the weapon into Dubai.

The material that has fallen into the hands of the Dubai Police is quite clearly providing an opportunity to trace the entire course of events directly from the moment it was ordered right up to and including the murder itself. If this were not so it is unlikely that the police would have been allowed to disclose the name of the alleged mastermind. In Yamadayev’s assassination the criminal aspects of the case are closely linked to the political ones. For the UAE it is a matter of international relations, which are not supposed to be ruined on trivial pretexts. All the more so since Russia – an old and stable partner – is involved.

It may be assumed that the UAE authorities have tried to avoid a diplomatic scandal and are ready to seize even the slightest chance of turning a blind eye to the circumstances of the crime.

The UAE authorities have made repeated statements to the effect that they are deeply offended by the fact that someone dared to make their territory the scene of a “dirty” criminal showdown that is profoundly alien to the spirit and letter of the local law and contradicts the country’s social fabric and way of life. But perhaps the most shocking aspect of this story is the audacity and cynicism of the assassination’s organizers, who were absolutely certain of their impunity and did not consider it necessary – even for form’s sake – to destroy the traces of their involvement in the case.

The open, demonstrational nature of reprisals against the enemies of Ramzan Kadyrov is becoming a feature of crimes with a "Chechen trace." One has the feeling that the masterminds of such reprisals are intentionally leaving their authorial signature under every bloody atrocity, as though taking pride in the sweeping scope of their manhunts.

What was Yamadayev’s corpse needed for? Was it a gift to Kadyrov from his nearest and dearest for the second anniversary of his ascension to the Chechen throne, or did the anniversary boy himself want to settle his own personal account? Those are all details. What matters is that the Chechen authorities now adopt the principle of extraterritoriality where the right to use violence is concerned. The question is whether this move has somehow been agreed with the Russian special services, which the Russian state gives an official license to kill.

If the ugly handwriting both of the deed’s organizers and of its executors is anything to go by, those who took part in Yamadayev’s slaying were not professionals. The “golden gun” is vivid testimony to the amateurism and arrogance of criminals who could not resist the desire to give the murder a particular tinge, to furnish it with “Caucasian brazenness".

At any rate, whether they acted on their own (the most likely version), or were given permission to carry out the shooting – there is also the important matter of the interests of the state. And they have been ignored.

Is Russia prepared to cover up audacious crimes to the detriment of the country's reputation, is it ready for the inevitable worsening of relations with states whose partnership it values? These questions have long remained unanswered.

Meanwhile the Chechnya’s "Tonton Macoute” are feeling increasingly cramped within the confines of their own territory, and Russia in general. Soon the whole world will seem to them too small.

Photo: TOP

Previous weekly reviews can be read at

(Translation by DM)


 · Licence to kill (PW, 22.1.2009)
 · The "mop-up"* of Europe - interview with Magomed Ocherhadji (PW, 6.3.2009)



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