Circling the Lion's Den

Kabardian Insurgent Leader Anzor Astemirov killed

On Marh 24, 2010 Anzor Astemirov (aka, Amir Seyfullakh) was killed in a shoot-out with local FSB special troops in Nalchik. Astemirov, was born in 1976, andclaimed descentfrom a family of Kabardian princes. He was one of a group of young men sent in the early 1990s by the Spiritual Board of Muslims of Kabardino-Balkaria to study theology in Saudi Arabia.

On his return to Nalchik, he and Musa Mukozhev established an Islamic Center that gradually espoused radical Islam, an evolution that brought its members into conflict both with the Spiritual Board and the police. In 2001, Astemirov and Mukozhev were both detained by Russian security forces on suspicion of terrorism, but released after three months.

In October 2005, Astemirov gained notoriety as one of the organizers (along with Shamil Basayev) of theabortive multiple attacksby ill-prepared young Muslims on police and security facilities in Nalchik. As the various resistance sub-units began to expand their use of the Internet as a propaganda tool, Astemirov emerged as its first prominent Islamic ideologue,posting numerous homilieson the subject of jihad.

Astemirov is said to have played a key role in persuading then-Chechen Republic-Ichkeria (ChRI) President and resistance commander Dokka Umarov in late 2007 to jettison the cause of Chechen independence in favor of creating an independent Muslim state comprising the entire North Caucasus.

In 2008, Umarov named him head of the Shari'a court of the "North Caucasus Emirate," the third-most-senior position (after Umarov and his deputy Supyan Abdullayev) in the insurgency hierarchy.


  • Radio Free Europe 25.03.2010 "Kabardian Insurgent Leader Killed In Nalchik"
  • AFP 25.03.2010 "Russia says top militant killed in North Caucasus"

    See also:

    Agentura.Ru, April 2011