Chechnya security forces ‘behind attack on dissident blogger’ last year | Chechnya

A secret European intelligence report has concluded that the Chechen security services were most likely behind the 2020 attempted murder in Sweden of a dissident Chechen blogger.

Tumso Abdurakhmanov, an exiled critic of Chechnya’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov, barely survived a hammerhead attack last year in a bizarre assassination attempt that investigators said they traced back to Russia.

The intelligence report, obtained by the Swedish broadcaster SVT like as part of its investigation into the attackjoins growing evidence that Russia ordered a series of assassinations in Europe that targeted dissidents and other perceived enemies of Russia’s leadership and Kadyrov.

At least a dozen people were targeted, including Sergei Skripal, a former military spy agency GRU, in an attack with the novichok nerve agent, in Salisbury, England, in 2018. The opposition leader Russian, Alexei Navalny, was also targeted in a similar assassination attempt while traveling in the Russian city of Tomsk.

“In conclusion, we find that Russia today has the same capacity as the Soviet Union once did to carry out state-sanctioned assassinations,” the report said, which SVT said to have been produced by one of the European intelligence agencies. “Several signs point in the same direction. And the conclusion is that the instigators, organizers, coordinators and agents of extrajudicial executions are most likely in the special units of the National Guard of Russia, in particular, in SOBR Terek. [a spetsnaz unit based in Chechnya].”

Sweden’s security service, known as SAPO, told the broadcaster the assassination was planned during a meeting in Moscow in 2019 and the country was looking for a suspect linked to the Chechen government who had helped organize the attempted murder. Interpol has issued an international arrest warrant for him.

Bellingcat, the online investigative collective, shared travel records which showed the man, Imran Khaskanov, left Sweden and traveled to Moscow and then Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, soon after the attack. In its investigation, SVT said Khaskanov had ties to one of Kadyrov’s top enforcers. His current whereabouts are unknown and he could not be reached for comment.

Abdurakhmanov survived by turning the tables on his attacker, broadcasting live on Instagram from his bloodied bedroom in eastern Sweden as he interrogated his attacker. “Who sent you?” He repeated.

Two people were sentenced to prison for this attack. Ruslan Mamaev, the attacker, was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Elmira Chapiaeva, an accomplice, was sentenced to 1.5 years in prison.

In the report, which was shared in advance with the Guardian, Abdurakhmanov was filmed seeking political asylum in Sweden more than six years after fleeing Chechnya.