Dagestan expects return of militants from Syria after anti-corruption cleanup

Dagestan expects return of militants from Syria after anti-corruption cleanup

In recent years, 129 former members of international terrorist organizations who returned from Syria have been detained in Dagestan. This number may grow.

The authorities of Dagestan expect the return of the militants of the Islamic State (banned in Russia) and other terrorist organizations, who fought in Syria, to the Republic, Kommersant reports. The Head of the Republic, Vladimir Vasilyev, at a meeting of the Anti-Terrorist Commission in Makhachkala in early December, stated that more than 1.5 thousand natives of Dagestan, who had had been part of terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, have been established. Most of them are between 25 and 30 years old, the Head of the Republic noted.

In recent years, 129 people have been identified who returned from Syria after participating in hostilities on the side of terrorists, said the interim Interior Minister of the Republic Dmitry Gutyrya at the same meeting. According to him, nine of them were detained in 2018. All of them are held criminally liable.

Gutyrya also said about the initiation of criminal cases against 84 people who only planned to join the militants in Syria. In 2018, 11 people were targeted in criminal cases.

According to the Minister of the Interior, the terrorists created autonomous groups on the ground - the so-called sleeping units, whose activities are controlled from abroad. In 2018, the Minister said, seven such groups were discovered in Dagestan. Fourteen of their members were detained, another 15 were eliminated during armed resistance.

In 2018, Dagestan carried out the largest purge among high-ranking officials in a long time. The former Prime Minister of the Republic, Abdusamad Hamidov, his Deputies Rayudin Yusufov and Shamil Isayev, as well as former Education Minister Shakhabas Shakhov were rounded up. Law enforcement agencies uncovered crime in the work of Makhachkala Mayor Musa Musayev and the chief architect of the city Magomedrasul Gitinov. The detention of officials is associated with the work of the special group sent to Dagestan by the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation.

In March, Kubasay (Kurban) Kubasayev, Head of the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service department in Dagestan, was arrested. According to the investigation, for a bribe from the director of the state public institution Directorate of the unified state customer-developer Shamil Kadiyev, he promised not to hinder the institution’s auctions for the right to conclude state contracts. The Prosecutor General’s Office achieved the court decision to change the territorial jurisdiction of Kubasayev’s case and pass it from Dagestan to Moscow.

In May, law enforcement agencies suspected the former Minister of Construction, Architecture and Housing and Communal Services of Dagestan, Ibragim Kazibekov, as well as his son and daughter-in-law of embezzling about 38 million rubles ($547.5 thousand)

from the budget allocated for the construction of the historical park Russia - My Story in Makhachkala. The scheme for the withdrawal of money allegedly involved a company associated with the former chief architect of the capital of Dagestan, Magomedrasul Gitinov. Kazibekov and Shamil Kadiyev, according to law enforcement officers, are hiding in Ukraine.

In June, head of the investigative division of the Internal Affairs department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Dagestan Colonel Magomed Khizriev was detained. He was suspected of an attempt of giving a $2 million bribe through a chain of intermediaries for the appointment to the office of a head of the Republic’s MIA. 

By early July, the number of Dagestani officials convicted of a criminal offence exceeded 200 persons. However, not all of them faced a criminal prosecution. Some of them were fired due to the conflict of interests, others resigned. 

By late July, deputy mayor of Makhachkala Kurban Kurbanov was detained. He was convicted of incitement of a former mayor Musa Musaev to commit another crime. Kurbanov allegedly convinced Musaev into illegally signing a decree on providing a land property to his father’s company at an understated price. The damage from his actions amounted to more than 44 million rubles ($634 thousand). 

In August, head of the Federal Compulsory Medical Insurance Fund in Dagestan Megomed Suleymanov was detained. He was suspected of building a criminal community with abuse of official powers and swindling on an especially large scale. According to the investigation, since 2010, more than 210 million rubles ($3 million) were stolen from the Fund by transferring the money for alleged medical services with forged documents. 

In September, head of the branch of the Federal Road Bureau Kaspy Megomedrasul Omarov was detained. He was suspected of swindling. 

Brother of the Republic’s former head Rajab Abdulatipov was convicted of participation in a criminal community. Deputy head of the Republic’s administration Ismail Efendiev and first deputy head of government in Dagestan Ramazan Aliev were convicted of  abuse of official powers. Nephew of a former head of Dagestan and CEO of GKU Avtokhozyaystvo Askhabali Abdulatipov was also arrested. 

A few days ago, CEO of Gazprom Mezhregiongaz Makhachkala Vladimir Anastasov was detained in St. Petersburg. Anastasov became a defendant in a criminal case related to theft of natural gas on an especially large scale. 

Head of Dagestan Vladimir Vasilyev noted the anti-corruption work in the Republic was ongoing. With that, he promised he would back those who would come out of the shadow and “return what had been robbed.” “Dagestan authorities are ready to support the corrupt officials, in case they agree to cooperate with the investigation, as well as take steps to minimize the damages to the Republic and society,” Vasilyev stated.

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