As my colleague Ellen Barry reports, on Wednesday “Doku Umarov, a former Chechen separatist who reinvented himself as a proponent of global jihad, took responsibility for two suicide bombings on Moscow’s subway that killed 39 rush-hour commuters.”
The video claim of responsibility (embedded above) was uploaded to YouTube on Wednesday, but was recorded on Monday, the day of the attacks in Moscow, according to Kavkazcenter.com, which Radio Free Europe calls “an unofficial rebel website.” (Kavkaz is the indigenous name for the Caucasus.)
The New York Times news bureau in Moscow has prepared a translation of the rebel leader’s complete statement of responsibility in the video, which is below.
In the statement, Mr. Umarov said that the suicide bombings were revenge for a recent Russian operation that killed civilians near the border between Chechnya and Ingushetia, in Russia’s North Caucasus region. He also said that the attacks, one of which took place at a subway station near the headquarters of the Federal Security Service, also known as the F.S.B., the successor agency to the Soviet-era K.G.B., were a message to the security service.
Here is a translation of his remarks, which began with an Arabic greeting and continued in Russian:
Praise Allah, our God and prophet, to his family, to his followers and to all those who stand for the name of Allah in this world. I am the emir of the Kavkaz mujahideen, Dokku Umarov. I am making this statement on the 29th of March 2010. As you all already know, on the 29th of March two special operations were carried out in Moscow to destroy kafirs and to send a greeting to the F.S.B.
Both operations were carried out on my orders and they are not the last ones, inshallah, and I would like to stress why they have been carried out. As we all know, On the 11th of February, 2010, officers of the criminal formation known as the F.S.B. carried out an operation to destroy peaceful citizens in the area of the village of Arshty — some of the poorest people who made their living by picking up wild garlic shoots and selling it.
These people were mercilessly destroyed, killed by those bandit groups under the name of the F.S.B. There were stab wounds, signs of degradation of the corpses. I think that today’s operation, carried out on my order, was carried out against not the poorest Russians, because these operations were carried out in Moscow. And today any politician or journalist or any person who will condemn me for those operations, or who will accuse me of terrorism, I am laughing at those people. I can only grin, because I haven’t heard that Putin was accused of terrorism for the murder of civilians who were killed at his order on the 11th of February.
I guarantee you and guarantee all the Russians who send and support all those special services which are sent here which commit all those atrocities — your bandit groups which are on our territory of the Caucasus — this is not the last operation. These operations will continue. They will continue on your territory, inshallah.
As for the operation to revenge for those mujahideen who died on the 11th of February, you will see it soon, and hear it. It will be carried out with use of special measures, inshallah. This is why I state with full responsibility that [as] I promised, you Russians watch the war only on television and on the radio, and this is why you are quiet, you don’t react to the atrocities committed by your bandit groups led by Putin which are sent to the Caucasus. This is why I promise you: the war will come to your streets, inshallah, and that you will feel it on your own lives and on your own skin. Allahu Akbar!
As Ms. Barry explains, Mr. Umarov began his career as a nationalist before announcing, relatively recently, that he was fighting a religious war:
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, he left a career as a construction engineer to fight with Chechen separatists. In 1997, when Russian troops had withdrawn from Grozny, he was appointed the head of the fledgling government’s Security Council. But within 10 years, Russia had crushed the separatist movement and killed its most charismatic leaders. […]
In 2007, Mr. Umarov announced an ideological sea change, declaring himself the emir of the Caucasus Emirate, which aimed to establish a Shariah-based state independent of Russia. With him came many of the former separatist fighters.