1st Commander of the Chechen Dudayev Battalion Died Fighting on Behalf of Ukraine Nine Years Ago Today.
I'm leaving this morning, but I thought this was an important anniversary.
It reminds us Ukraine is not alone. Some of Ukraine's best friends are those who share the collective trauma of Russian colonialism. It is also a reminder -- not all Chechens support Kadyrov & Russia. Their stories need to be told time & time again.
Isa Munaev was a veteran of both Chechen Wars. During the 2nd Chechen War he commanded the Battle of Grozny. For his courage and strength Munaev was soon elevated to the rank of brigadier general but Isa was gravely injured; he was smuggled out of Russia through Georgia ~ 2004/2005. Munaev made his way to Denmark where he received treatment and would eventually become a citizen.
Together with the Chechen government in exile, & other Chechen émigrés in 2009, he would form the Free Caucasus Organization (FCO). The FCO would act as a civil society group pushing for Chechen rights against Kadyrov and Putin. However, when Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, the FCO would ultimately call for an international peacekeeping force to fight Russia in Ukraine.
Isa Munaev formed the battalion with fellow veteran Muslim Cheberloevsky. The Battalion named after Dzhokhar Dudayev was christened so to honor Ichkeria's 1st president, who was assassinated by Russia in 1996 during the first Chechen War.
They traveled to Ukraine to recruit for the battalion urging Chechens and others of conscious to join them. Originally, Munaev had to convince some in the government & press they were serious about fighting Russia & would be remain loyal to Ukraine. "They took everything from us (Chechens)." In multiple interviews, Isa spoke passionately about the obligation to support Ukraine as a brother in its fight for freedom against the agreesor. True Chechens, he exclaimed, suffered the same history as Ukraine & it was their duty to defend Ukraine. Additionally, "Chechens repay their debts", Munayev said: Ukrainians had come to defend Ichkeria during both Chechen wars.
Of course, it was also the aim of the Ichkerians to weaken Russia in Ukraine so they could one day free their own people from the Russian yoke.
At the time, Ukraine's military was not the formidable force it is today, & the Chechen battalion was a popular choice for volunteers; they fought with the enemy successfully in the past (1st Chechen War) & knew their tactics. It was believed by some only the Chechens could stand the best chance of victory.
Isa was famous amongst Chechens before he came to Ukraine due to his time in the Chechen army. Munaev was known among his compatriots for his fearlessness and professionalism. These were qualities the men & women of his new battalion regardless their background (Ichkerian, Georgian, Tatar, Ukrainian), would come to rely on, as well.
He was killed on this day in 2015 during intense fighting as he led new troops into battle in the city of Debaltseve.
Ukraine would ultimately bestow posthumously on Munaev several awards including "Hero of Ukraine" ; a street in Dnipro was also renamed in his honor. Today Adam Osmaev is the commander of the battalion. The battalion has grown & now has a special recon and demolition operations unit called "ADAM." There are at least 3 other Chechen battalions operating on the side of Ukraine today.
I hesitated to post this before since the guy who wrote this wrote songs for Kadyrov. Though those maybe forced.