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KARACHAI JAMAAT

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The Caucasus was in the 18thcentury an important part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. When the Russians took over the Caucasus in a series of wars in the 19thcentury, the Turks left behind few Muslim communities and small nations, such as the Chechens, theAzerbaijanis of Azerbaijan, Cherkessk and ethnic Turks named Karachai or Karashay. Generally speaking they suffered from continuous on-going discrimination from the Russian authorities.

The name Karachai  Jamaat can be translated as the Karashay Society. Karachai  Jamaat was formed in the late 1980s, when the Soviet Union collapsed and inspired by the Soviet Union defeat in Afghanistan. The organization was founded by senior member of the Islamic Party of Revival, Muhammad Bijiev, who was famous for his radical plans with regard to the revival of Islam in the regions of the Soviet Union populated by Muslims.

In the mid 1990s, Khizir Salpagarov took over the political leadership of the Karachai  Jamaat. Unlike his predecessor, Khizir Salpagarov established contacts only with the leaders of radical groups in Chechnya, who opposed the President of the Chechen Republic from 1998, Aslan Maskhadov.

Although the Karachai  Jamaat was, at the beginning, a Karashay ethnic based organization, investigative report claims that more than half the members of Karachai  Jamaat terrorist group in Karachayevo-Cherkessia, in the Caucasus and South East Ukraine, were ethnic converted Russians or Ukrainians who immigrated to the regions over the years.

Neither the Slavic nor the non-Slavic members of the Karachai  Jamaat fit the stereotype image of Islamic fundamentalists. Most were well-educated and well-off, enjoing high social and professional status. The ethnic Russian members of the Karachai  Jamaat were inspired by a radical Wahhabism interpretation of the Koran that is banned in Russia on the grounds that it promotes intolerance toward “infidels.”

When the Russiam army invaded Chechnya in late 1999 and the second Chechen war breached out almost all members of the Karachai  Jamaat fought with the resistance in Chechnya, and were tied to Chechen militants via Syrian Arab Akhmed Sambiyev. Many of them went underground and began to organize terror attacks in the heartland of Russia. 

Based on the testimony of three surviving members of the group, Karachai  Jamaat was responsible for three explosions in Krasnodar in August 2003, to the Moscow Metro Bombing in 02/2004 and the Rizhskaya Bombing in 08/2004. The group is also responsible for three explosions at bus stops in Voronezh and with planting bombs on passenger trains in Mineralnye Vody in 2004 and 2005, as a result of which several hundred people were killed or injured.

The Ukrainian Nikolai Kipkeyev, who rose to the rank of Amir (commander), is believed to have been the leader of the Slavic members of the group and, eventually, the military wing commander of the organization. He was killed in the Rizhskaya Bombing.   

— Today (07/2008) Karachai  Jamaat is, in fact, liquidated.

 

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