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Chechen Clans Put Dispute to Rest

Isa Yamadayev, pictured here, had accused Chechen President Kadyrov of being behind the shootings of his brothers Sulim and Ruslan, as well as ordering an attempt on his own life last summer. A. Makhonin

A prominent Chechen commander was pronounced dead by his brother on Monday — less than a day after the brother announced a truce with Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, whom he had earlier accused of masterminding attempts on his brothers' lives as well as his own.

Sulim Yamadayev was taken off life support Monday at the request of his family, his brother Isa told Ren-TV.

A source close to the Yamadayev family told Interfax on Monday evening that "the official ceremony to receive condolences in connection with Sulim Yamadayev's death" would begin Tuesday in the family's Chechen hometown of Gudermes. 
"The matter of reburying Yamadayev [in Chechnya] is not currently on the table," the source said.

Earlier in the day, Isa Yamadayev had said his brother would be buried in Chechnya on Tuesday.

The truce and the family's acknowledgement of Sulim Yamadayev's death avert a potentially devastating blood feud between the Yamadayev and Kadyrov clans, analysts said.

"Without the agreement, the Yamadayevs would have to declare a blood feud on the Kadyrovs," said Maxim Agarkov, an analyst with the SK-Strategia think tank. "This could have been dire for members of both families, including future generations."

Sulim Yamadayev was gunned down on March 28, 2009, in a Dubai luxury housing compound. His family has long maintained that he survived the shooting.

In April, Isa Yamadayev told Moskovsky Komsomolets that his brother was recovering in the hospital and that he regularly speaks to him. The newspaper also published a photograph of a man it said was Sulim, lying in a bed and making a victory sign.

On Monday, however, Isa said his brother had been in a coma.

Dubai police have long denied that Sulim Yamadayev was alive. Last month, the Prosecutor General’s Office said Dubai authorities had confirmed Sulim's killing and burial.

Isa Yamadayev, one of three surviving brothers of an initial six, has accused Kadyrov of being behind the shootings of his brothers Sulim and Ruslan, as well as ordering an attempt on his own life last summer.

Khavazhi Yusupov, a former bodyguard for the Yamadayevs, said earlier this year that Kadyrov had personally ordered the killings of Ruslan and Sulim and offered $1 million to kill Isa. Yusupov has been sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison for the attempt on Isa's life last summer.

Dubai police have issued an Interpol arrest warrant for State Duma Deputy Adam Delimkhanov, a cousin of Kadyrov, in connection with Sulim Yamadayev's murder. In April, a Dubai court convicted two people of participating in the killing, including Iranian citizen Mahdi Larnia, a caretaker for Kadyrov's racehorses in the United Arab Emirates.

Among six other arrest warrants issued by Dubai is one for Elim-Pasha Khatsuyev, who is currently on trial at the Moscow City Court on charges of chauffeuring the gunman who killed Ruslan Yamadayev in downtown Moscow in 2008.

Speaking at the court last month, Isa Yamadayev suggested that the Chechen president was behind the killings. "We have no enemies and no blood feud except the conflict with Kadyrov. I suspect that this could have only been done by Kadyrov or someone who just wants to make us enemies," he said.

But on Sunday, Yamadayev said he and Kadyrov had made peace. "We met, talked over all the issues and reached an agreement about all of them," he was quoted as saying by Interfax.

Speaking at his family's home in the Chechen town of Gudermes, Yamadayev said Kadyrov had agreed to meet with him after being asked by elders and "respected relatives."

Kadyrov confirmed the meeting. "We reached the conclusion that there is no cause for keeping any tensions in our relations," he was quoted as saying by Interfax.

The Yamadayevs, a powerful clan based in the eastern town of Gudermes, were rewarded for loyalty to Moscow by getting their own battalion, Vosotok, which formally reported to the Defense Ministry in Moscow.

They had a falling out with Kadyrov after an incident in April 2008 when vehicles in a Vostok convoy failed to give way to cars from Kadyrov's motorcade.

The ensuing conflict not only saw the attempts on the lives of the Yamadayev brothers but also the razing last September of Gudermes' Dzhabrail-Khadzhi mosque, built by the Yamadayevs.

The reconciliation between Kadyrov and Yamadayev is a positive sign, suggesting that the Chechen leader has realized that his totalitarian style of rule does not fit with the republic's consensus-building traditions, Alexei Malashenko, an analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center, told Kommersant.

But, he said, the truce may not last.
"The Yamadayev brothers have made peace with the Kadyrovs so often, and then they were all killed — Sulim, Ruslan and others, so for now there's no reason to talk about a long-term reconciliation," he said.

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