Movsar Barayev PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 11 March 2009 11:22

Movsar Buharovich Barayev

Born: October 26, 1979, Soviet Union

Died: October 26, 2002 Moscow, Russia

Age: 23

Cause of death: Probably fentanyl inhalation.

Notable because: Died on his 23rd birthday, killed by Russian forces while holding hostages in a Moscow theatre in the attempt to demand negotiations with Russia to end the Chechen war. Russian forces pumped Fentanyl (fast acting opiate) into the building killing 170 people. Brought the Chechnyan issue to wider attention than ever before.

Movsar Barayev was a Chechen militia leader during the Second Chechen War, who led the seizure of a Moscow theater that led to the deaths of over 170 people.

Movsar Barayev, born 1979, was the nephew of the notorious Chechen warlord Arbi Barayev who allegedly worked under FSB guidance. After his uncle's death in June 2001 until his own, Movsar was the leader of a Chechen rebel militia known as the Special Purpose Islamic Brigade (SPIR). Barayev junior was said to be a sworn enemy of the Chechen rebel leader and elected president, Aslan Maskhadov. He used the nom-de-guerre of "Yassir".

He was falsely announced by the command of the Russian forces in Chechnya to have been killed on August 21, 2001, and again on October 12, 2002, eleven days prior to the Moscow theater crisis (this report of Barayev's death came from Colonel Boris Podoprigora, deputy commander of Russia's Joint Group Forces). It was also claimed that two months before the hostage-taking, the Russian GRU military intelligence had arrested Barayev and contained him "until his release had provided leads to the hostage taking at the Dubrovka theatre."

At 9 p.m. on the 23rd of October 2002, forty-one Chechen separatists calling themselves the Islamic Suicide Squad took more than 800 Moscow theatergoers hostage. This precipitated a 57-hour crisis that captured the world's attention. The Chechens were armed with small arms and machine guns. They also carried a large amount of explosives, much of which was strapped to their bodies to ward off attempts by Russian authorities to take the theater by force. They sought negotiations with Russian authorities in a quest to meet their demands for an end to the war in Chechnya, withdrawal of Russian forces and Chechen independence. On 26 October, they set a deadline of 12 hours for the Russian government to comply with their demands before they would "start shooting the captives." A second deadline (seven days) demanded "to bring an end to the war…or they would blow up themselves, the hostages and the theater."

But the Russian government was never willing to cooperate or negotiate, as evidenced by the lack of official government negotiators at any point in the process. In the early morning hours of 27 October, the hostage crisis ended when Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) special forces (Spetsnaz) pumped an aerosol version of a potent, fast-acting opiate named fentanyl into the theater and then stormed it by force. The gas prevented the Chechens from mounting any resistance to the assault. The fentanyl, however, had a greater effect than expected. Both hostages and hostage-takers died from the effects of gas inhalation.

The death toll rests at 129 hostages and 41 terrorists, a casualty rate of 21%. All but two of the hostages' deaths were due to fentanyl. 

On October 23, 2002, Barayev and a mysterious man known as "Abu Bakar" led a group of some forty SPIR militants and their family members (who had dubbed themselves "the suicide squad from the 29th Division") to seize the theater in the Russian capital Moscow, demanding negotiations with Russian authorities for an end to the second war in Chechnya, withdrawal of Russian forces and Chechen independence, threatening to execute his hostages.

According to Chechen sources, the group, comprised of Mujahideen gunmen and 20 widows of rebel fighters, describe themselves as a ''suicide death squad'', and they came to Moscow not to survive but to die if their demands are not met by the federal authorities. They have said they will blow up the theatre building if any attempt to storm it is made by the authorities, Udugov said.

Movsar Barayev is also known as Movsar Suleimenov. He is the nephew of the infamous warlord Arbi Barayev, who gained notoriety by establishing a huge slave-trading network throughout Chechnya. Arbi Barayev was slain in summer 2001 in his home village of Alkhan-Kala. After his uncle’s death Movsar took command of most of his uncle’s men. 

Movsar Barayev was killed on the third day of the crisis, when the Russian FSB special forces launched a chemical attack and stormed the theater. The day when he died was his 23rd birthday.

Barayev's bloodied corpse was shown by the Russian TV lying on the ground of the theater amidst broken glass with the intact bottle of cognac near his hand. Later, the Russian authorities said his body was secretly buried in an undisclosed location.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 July 2010 09:07

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