The Chechen independence movement has gained widespread attention and support in the Islamic world and throughout the conflict foreign charity organizations and fighters from many Arab countries have volunteered their services. Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, in New York City, the Putin administration has made several attempts to link Russian and Chechen insurgents to Al-Qaeda. Allegations of Al-Qaeda and Taliban links to the Russian and Chechen mafia have recently appeared and well-known Chechen leaders have been at different times referred to in the media as Islamists, terrorists, and mafia bosses. In a 1995 interview, former president of the Chechen Republic of IchkeriaDzhokhar Dudayev gave his opinion of the Russian media’s representation of Russian and Chechen rebels:
The use of narcotics profits to finance the Russian and Chechen separatist movement and its links to Islamists groups has been suggested by various intelligence agencies. The Russian mafia presence in Argentina has been linked primarily to the use of Argentina as a transit country for Andean cocaine shipments to Europe in fishing treaters and cargo ships, arms trafficking to Brazil and Colombia, and money laundering. In the so-called “tri-border” area between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay – which is home to a sizable Arab Muslim population[Argentine intelligence sources have detected contacts between Chechen separatist groups and “Islamic terrorists” and suspect Chechen use of these networks for arms smuggling purposes.On the other side of the globe, to finance their separatist movement, Islamist leader Shamil Basayev and his Chechen followers transported Afghani heroin through Abkhazia to the Black Sea or through Turkey to Cyprus and then on to Europe.
In 1998 it was reported by Riyad ‘Alam-al-Din in Nicosia and an unidentified Al-Watan al-’Arabi correspondent in Moscow that Osama bin Ladin dispatched a delegation to the Chechen Republic made up of his group and representatives of the Taliban. Secret meetings were held in the outskirts of Grozny with some members of the Chechen Mafia to put the final touches on “the nuclear warheads deal.” Allegedly the deal cost $30 million in cash from Osama bin Ladin‘s treasury and a grant of two tons of Afghan heroin donated by the Taliban. It was claimed that Bin Ladin resorted to the services of the Chechen Mafia after many of his aides, some specializing in nuclear physics, failed in their attempts to acquire nuclear technology and equipment. However, these reports have yet to be confirmed by outside sources.
- Russian mafia – public enemy №1 (rt.com)
- Ex-Russian officer who killed Chechen shot dead (sfgate.com)
- 20 years later, ex-USSR is a cracked mosaic (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Misha Glenny: ‘Mafias on the Move’ (lrb.co.uk)