The 21st Century Phenomenon


Movsar Buharovich Suleimanov was born on 10/26/1979 in the village of Alkhan-Kala, Chechnya. He was the nephew of the famous Chechen Warlord Arbi Barayev and changed his name to Barayev in order to honor his uncle Arbi Barayev after he was killed by the Russian forces in 06/2001.

After his admired uncle Arbi Barayev was killed, Movsar  Barayev formed a group of his own, manned by many of his uncle’s men. He called the group “Chechen Special Purpose Islamic Regiment” (SPIR).  Before Movsar  Barayev “took over the family business,” as one analyst referred to the SPIR, Movsar  Barayev engaged in various disputes to retain control of the organization.  Following Arbi Barayev’s death, Movsar  Barayev executed fellow compatriots, including fellow warlord Rivzan Akhmadov, who competed with him for control over the group and foreign funding connections.

Not as Arbi Barayev, who was mainly a crime gang commander, infamous in organizing a huge slave-trading network throughout Chechnya, Movsar  Barayev gave to his group an ideological Islamic and anti Russian direction. Movsar  Barayev was strongly influenced by Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, whom he referred to as his spiritual leader.

Movsar Barayev operated in coordination with Shamil Basayev. He was also a close friend of Ruslan Khuchbarov, nick name “The Colonel”, who led the Beslan Horror on 09/01/2004.

Movsar  Barayev was declared dead by the Russians twice. The first time on 08/21/2001 and the second time on 10/12/2002, just 11 days before he led, with a mysterious man known as Abu Bakar, the group of some forty SPIR militants, many of them his own family members, to commit the Moscow Theater hostages Crisis, on 10/23/2002.

There were claims that two months before the Moscow Theater, on 08/2002, the Russian Military intelligence, the GRU, had arrested Movsar  Barayev and held him for a short time, probably in an attempt to recruit Movsar  Barayev as an Informant and it is most likely that he agreed in order to be released.  

In interviews Movsar  Barayev gave to the Russian press, during the siege, he expressed several time his whish do die as an Islamic martyr “Shahid” – not typical to an ordinary crime gang leader. 

Movsar  Barayev was killed by the Russian soldiers in the showdown of the Moscow Theater hostage crisis on 10/26/2002.  

* Related topics – 

    • DAGESTAN’S 1999  WAR  



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