One of Chechnya's most powerful clans has been accused of plotting to kill Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov.
Isa Yamadayev, a politician and a member of one of Chechnya's most influential families, has been accused of masterminding the killing, Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported on Monday.
Three men — Aziz Alvi, Beslan Zakaraev, and Shamhan Magomadov — allegedly told Chechen police about their role in the plan on Jan. 23.
They accused Yamadayev of conspiring to assassinate Kadyrov using grenade launchers, automatic firearms and explosives.
Isa and his brother Badrudi reportedly blame Kadyrov for the death of their two brothers, former army commander Sulim Yamadayev and politician Ruslan Yamadayev. Sulim was killed in Dubai in March 2009, while Ruslan was gunned down in the center of Moscow in September 2008.
Kadyrov’s relative, top aide, and Duma Deputy Adam Delimkhanov, was initially wanted by law enforcement in Dubai in connection with Sulim Yamadayev’s murder, but the charges were later dropped.
Many believe the Yamadayevs wish to settle their brothers' deaths in a violent a blood feud, a tradition which still permeates Chechen society.
Reports of the attempt on Kadyrov's life began to surface in May 2016, when local media outlets unearthed information on mass arrests taking place throughout the republic.
A Chechen journalist also quizzed Kadyrov about a rumored assassination attempt in a staged televised interview with journalists the night before his re-election.
“There were moments [of danger], but the security services were working throughout this time and these criminals were not able to carry out their plans,” Kadyrov replied. “But these weren't serious threats. Don't pay any special attention to them.”
Chechen security services investigating the plot found that a cousin of Kadyrov's nephew, Walid Yakhikhanov, had given Kadyrov's private number to the Yamadayev brothers.
Walid was arrested and interrogated by police, Novaya Gazeta reported. His testimony reportedly led Chechen special forces to uncover a stash of guns, grenade launchers and explosives in the village of Benoy, where Kadyrov’s family residence is located.
Isa Yamadayev reportedly fled Chechnya last spring and is now in Dubai. Now that a criminal case has been formally opened, authorities in Dubai could open an official inquiry or add the Yamadayev brothers to an official wanted list.
Isa Yamadayev himself was targeted by a failed assassination plot in 2009, shortly after his brothers' deaths. In a transcript which appears in public court documents related to the case, the man who attempted to kill Yamadayev, Khavazh Yusupov, told a friend that he had been ordered to carry out the killing on Kadyrov's direct orders.
“So, [Kadyrov] said to kill Isa and then come back?”, Yusupov's friend asked.
“Yes,” Yusupov replied. “He told me: 'Come back afterwards and live a normal life.'"
The evidence was later dropped from the case by lead prosecutor Nikolai Tutevich. Yusupov was still ultimately jailed for the assassination attempt.
Tutevich is now leading the investigation into the death of murdered opposition politician Boris Nemtsov. The politician's family also claims that Kadyrov is linked to the case.
Ramzan Kadyrov, the son of Chechnya's previous president, Akhmad Kadyrov, has ruled Chechnya since 2007. The president was re-elected with 98 percent of the vote in the region's most recent elections in September 2016.