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RFE/RL: Who is Doku Umarov?

April 1, 2010


Liz Fuller of Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty profiles veteran Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov, who has claimed responsibility for the March 29 suicide attacks on Moscow metro system in a video address.

Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov has claimed responsibility for the March 29 twin suicide bombings on the Moscow metro system that killed at least 39 people.

Umarov is one of just a couple of veteran rebel commanders who have fought since the very start of the first post-Soviet Chechen war in the fall of 1994.

Since then, Umarov has risen from a rank-and-file fighter to command a network of insurgent groups across the North Caucasus. He has jettisoned the cause of Chechen independence in favor of an independent Islamic state comprising swaths of the North Caucasus, southern Russia, and the Volga region. He has also abandoned his previous repudiation of terrorism, affirming in his most recent statements that it is a legitimate weapon in light of what he calls the Russian population's indifference to the systematic reprisals inflicted on the Chechen population by Russian military and security forces.

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