Abrek Khasukha Magomadov
Chechnya’s last abrek, Khasukha Magomadov, was born in 1905 in the little mountain village of Gatin-Kali in Shatoy Region. When his father died, the 18-year-old Khasukha had to take charge of his family. He was gifted and received instruction from the mullah, learning Arabic and reading the Koran.
Stalin stepped up his repression in 1930. The NKVD persecuted all religious leaders and scholars. Khasukha’s teacher and fellow pupils were arrested. Well-known Chechen writers – S. Raduyev, A. Dudayev, Sh. Aiskhanov and M. Shadiyev – were shot. Sh. Oshayev and A. Makakayev were banished.
In summer 1939 Khasukha had accidentally killed a man. Although he was declared innocent under shariah law and the dead man’s family forgave him, the NKVD took advantage of the situation to imprison him. He was unbearably humiliated in gaol and asked the warden if escape was possible. The warden told him: “Only one man has ever managed it: Abreke Zelimkhan.” – “Then I will be the second!” Khasukha escaped and swore to die rather than ever be caught again.
Khasukha went into the mountains to the lawyers Khazan Israilov and Meirbek Sheripov, who were planning an uprising. Their rebellion was crushed and Israilov and Sheripov were killed.
Khasukha laid a trap for the soldiers of the secret police and killed more than 20 of them. He witnessed the deportation in 1944. He walked through the empty villages and was the first to see Khaibakh, where over 700 inhabitants had been burnt to death in a stable. Khasukha, full of grief and rage, began to seek revenge. He killed the Communist district chairman, the officers and everyone who came after him. He once spent the night in the home of a farmer who stole his clothes and weapons. When Khasukha woke up, it was too late. The house was surrounded. The troops were led by the hated Lieutenant-Colonel Salko. Khasukha found a knife and waited. A burning papakha flew through the window. It was followed by the officer. Khasukha stabbed him and quickly donned the cloak and blue-rimmed hat from his uniform.Before the chekists had registered their mistake, Khasukha had leaped over the fence and plunged down the rugged hillside…
The KGB spread the story that Khasukha had shot two of his friends and thrown them in a cave. This was printed in the newspapers. In fact, one of the abrekes had followed his relative into exile in 1944 and returned with orders to kill Khasukha. But Khasukha sensed the danger. He slipped unnoticed out of his burka (felt cape) and waited. Suddenly his so-called friend stood up and fired two bullets each into Khasukha’s cape and the other man. When he recognised his error it was too late. Khasukha shot him first in the hand and then, after he confessed to working for the KGB, in the heart.
On 28 March 1976 the 71-year-old Khasukha, weary of his homeless existence after a harsh winter, was finally caught. A militia man emptied the barrel of his machine gun into him. Nobody dared approach Khasukha until the evening of the next day, so awestruck were they by the dead abreke, who weighed no more than 36 kilos…