Since masterminding the hostage taking in the south Russian town of Budennovsk in the summer of 1995, radical Chechen field commander Shamil Basaev has claimed responsibility for a series of terrorist acts that have claimed hundreds of Russian lives. His ill-fated incursion into Daghestan in August 1999 in the wake of an
unsuccessful attempt to sideline Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov served as the rationale for the Russian leadership to launch its second war against Chechnya in October of that year under the pretext of combating terrorism.
Yet although he is routinely reviled by leading Russian politicians and has been designated an international terrorist by the United States, the Russian military have for five years failed to apprehend him, despite offering a reward of 300 million rubles (over $10 million) for information leading to his capture see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 September 2004). Basaev's seeming immunity has fuelled speculation in the Russian press that he may be acting at the behest of, and/or enjoy the protection of, the Federal Security Service (FSB).
The report goes on to summarize and recapitulate many of the points raised in Basayev's recent Globe & Mail interview.