Dokka Khamadovich Umarov
Dokka Umarov was born on April 13, 1964 in the village of Kharsenoy (Shatoy District) and is a member of the Mulkhoy taip. Umarov graduated from the construction facility of the Oil Institute in the Chechen capital of Grozny. He earned a degree in construction engineering.
Umarov is married and has six children. Two of his brothers have died in combat.
Umarov was in Moscow when the first Russian-Chechen war broke out in December 1994, and has stated that as a patriot he considered it his duty to return to Chechnya to fight. In the course of the war, Umarov was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General and won two prestigious awards for valor.
Umarov initially served as an officer in the Borz (Wolf) Special Forces battalion under the command of Ruslan (Khamzat) Gelayev. In 1996, due to disagreements with Gelayev, he left the unit and joined Akhmad Zakayev’s detachment who had also left Gelayev’s ranks.
He was rewarded for his services by being promoted to brigadier general and being granted Chechnya’s highest distinctions, the K’oman Siy (Honor of the Nation) and K’oman Turpal (Hero of the Nation).
In 1997, Aslan Maskhadov appointed Dokka Umarov as Head of the Security Council of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. He kept this post until 2005, when Abdul-Khalim Sadulayev made him Vice-President and also Director of the National Security Service. Since 2001 Dokku Umarov has commanded the Western Front. He has been wounded several times, including a facial injury caused by a grenade.
Umarov began the Second Russian-Chechen War in September 1999 as a field commander, again working closely with Ruslan Gelayev in Grozny and in Komsomolskoye. Following Gelayev’s death in February 2004, many of his men joined Umarov’s command.
Umarov sustained a serious wound to his face in the winter of 2000, as he was leaving a surrounded Grozny, and was hospitalized in a third country alongside Zakayev.
Back in Chechnya, Umarov replaced Isa Munayev as the commander of the Southwestern Front, the region southwest of Grozny which borders Georgia and Ingushetia. He was seen as being an ally of Vedeno-based Shamil Basayev who, together with him was one of the leaders of a raid into neighboring Ingushetia in the summer of 2004.
In 2003, Umarov led his men in heavy fighting around Shatoy and according to the Russian sources, ordered the bombing of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) republican headquarters in Magas, Ingushetia, as well as the attack on the electrical infrastructure of Kislovodsk in Stavropol Krai. In August 2004, he was one of the commanders of the large-scale raid on Nazran in Ingushetia; several Ingush clans have been reported as having declared a blood vengeance against Umarov.
In January 2005, Umarov was incorrectly reported killed in a gun battle with Russian commandos near the Georgian border. In March 2005, Umarov was reported as having been seriously wounded by a Spetznaz assassination team. In April 2005, Russian Special Forces destroyed a small guerrilla unit in a battle in Grozny after receiving intelligence that Umarov was with them, yet he was not found among the dead.
In May 2005, “unidentified men” reportedly kidnapped Umarov’s wife and his one-year-old son but later released them. On May 5, 2005, his father Khamad was abducted and then in April 2007, he was killed.
Several months prior, Umarov’s brother Ruslan had also been kidnapped by masked men in uniform. Umarov’s sister Natalya Khumaidova was abducted as well in Urus-Martan in August 2005 by “unidentified armed men”. She was released days later after local residents blocked a federal highway protesting for her return. In the past Umarov’s cousin Zaurbek and nephew Roman Atayev were also kidnapped, and nothing has been heard of them since.
In May 2005, Umarov was hurt by an anti-personnel mine; he was originally reported to have lost a leg, but it turned out to be only a mild injury. Umarov soon participated in an attack on Roshni-Chu in August. In September 2005, the Russian Interior Ministry announced that it had found “Umarov’s grave”, and in October he was once again falsely reported dead in the Nalchik attack in Kabardino-Balkaria. In May 2006, puppet Chechen police forces discovered Umarov’s headquarters in a bunker in the centre of the village of Assinovskaya, but he managed to escape in time.
In June 2006, after the death of Abdul-Khalim Sadulayev, he assumed the office of President of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria as the Constitution provides.
On October 31, 2007, Zakayev’s personal news agency Chechenpress reported that Umarov had proclaimed the “Caucasus Emirate” and declared himself its “Emir”, thereby converting the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria into a vilayat (province) of the emirate. In the same statement in which Umarov proclaimed the Caucasus Emirate, he also described the United States, the United Kingdom and Israel as common enemies of Muslims worldwide. Shortly after this, Umarov retracted his statement saying only those who help the Russian military, their government and Israel are enemy’s of Muslims.
The move to establish the Caucus Emirate was quickly condemned by Chechen deputies and Akhmad Zakayev, Umarov’s own Minister of Foreign Affairs. Zakayev, who lives in exile in London, called upon all Ichkeria armed forces and politicians to pledge allegiance directly to the Chechen parliament in an attempt to isolate Umarov from power. Zakayev expressed regret that Umarov had caved in to pressure from “provocateurs” and committed a “crime” that undermines the legitimacy of the ChRI. In a one-day period, two former senior field commanders, Isa Munayev and Sultan Arsayev, issued statements publicly siding with Zakayev and distancing themselves from Umarov. The Chechen Republic of Ichkeria Parliament dismissed Dokka Umarov according to the ChRI Constitution article 69 and started to work on creating a government cabinet according to ChRI Constitution article 88-89 on November 6, 2007.