2004 Nazran raid
|Part of Second Chechen War|
|Russian Federation|| Caucasian Front
Chechen Republic of Ichkeria
|Commanders and leaders|
| Abukar Kostoyev †
Zyaudin Kotiyev †
| Shamil Basayev
|Unavailable||50-600 (most probably about 200)|
|Casualties and losses|
|More than 60 killed||Light (at least 2 killed)|
About 25 killed
The Nazran raid was a large-scale raid carried out in the Republic of Ingushetia, Russia, on the night of June 21–22, 2004, by a large number of mostly Chechen and Ingush militants led by the Chechen commander Shamil Basayev. Basayev's main goal, besides capturing a large cache of weapons, was a show of strength.
The overnight attacks targeted 15 government buildings in the former Ingush capital and the largest city, Nazran, and three settlements located on the Baku-Rostov highway that crosses the republic from east to west (Karabulak, Sleptsovskaya and Yandare). The targets of simultaneous attacks included the Interior Ministry (MVD) headquarters with an arms depot, an FSB border guard unit, the municipal police headquarters, barracks of the OMON special police, police stations and checkpoints. The attackers also tried but failed to free 50 prisoners from a temporary jail and dispersed at 3 a.m., before the column of federal army troops managed to reach Nazran just after dawn at 4 a.m. One Russian military convoy was also ambushed en route from North Ossetia and suffered casualties.
Witnesses to the attacks told Russian media that most of the attackers spoke the Ingush language and wore masks and camouflage uniforms similar to those worn by the Russian police. The rebels patrolled Nazran, setting roadblocks and stopping motorists, asking to see their documents. Any law enforcement officials they encountered were then shot and killed, with exception of traffic policemen who were spared. The raid lasted nearly five hours, and the raiders withdrew almost unscathed and with two truckloads with 1,177 seized firearms. The Interior Ministry building and Nazran train station were burned down. Ingush officials said the rebels took some 20 hostages, mostly the traffic police officers.
The day before the attack, Chechen separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov, speaking for RFE/RL, claimed rebels are "going to switch to offensive warfare". In July 2004, Maskhadov publicly accepted responsibility for the attack and promised more similar attacks.
According to the official figures, 92 people were killed in the raid, including at least 47 police officials, a number later revised downward to 98. The final toll included 27 civilians, 26 policemen (24 Ingush and two Chechen), 10 special forces servicemen, nine soldiers (six Russian and three Ingush), eight FSB agents, five employees of the local prosecutor's office, at least two guerrillas and three unidentified people. About 106 people were injured, including 51 members of government forces.
The largest group of the dead were local police and other law enforcement officials, whom the rebels said they killed for collaborating with Russian security services in kidnappings and killings of Ingush civilians suspected of sympathizing with the rebels. The killed officials included the republic's acting Interior Minister Abukar Kostoyev, his deputy Zyaudin Kotiyev, Nazran city prosecutor Mukharbek Buzurtanov and Nazran district prosecutor Bilan Oziyev.
A number of civilians, including the Ingush health minister and a local UN worker, were killed in the crossfire. Only two dead rebels were found in the morning after attack, but the rebel Kavkaz Center website said the attackers lost six men killed. The KC statement also said that over 120 "servants of Russia" were killed in the attack and 30 policemen were captured.
Army General Vyacheslav Tikhomirov, the Russian Deputy Interior Minister and the commander of Russia's Internal Troops (VV), decided to resign after Federal Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev blamed them for the high number of deaths. After Tikhomirov's resignation, the VV remained without a head for a month.
Some 30 suspected rebels, mostly Ingush, were arrested in the next two months over their part in the Nazran raid. Several days after the September 2004 Beslan school hostage crisis, Deputy Prosecutor General of Russia Vladimir Kolesnikov said 10 of the weapons stolen in Nazran were used in the Beslan attack. One of the demands of Beslan terrorists was also the release of the raid suspects. In 2005, 13 of them were convicted and sentenced to 8–25 years in prison.
- Five Years After Nazran, Ingushetia Still Plagued By Militant Violence, RFE/RL, 19.06.2009
- Dozens killed in raid by Chechen rebels on Ingushetia, The Guardian, June 23, 2004
- Rebels storm buildings on Russian border, The Age, June 22, 2004
- 46 killed in attacks on Russia government, China Daily, 2004-06-22
- Planned Attacks Decimate Ingushetia's Interior Ministry, RFE/RL, 22 June 2004 (Globalsecurity.org)
- John B. Dunlop Beslan - Russia's 9/11?
- Richard Sakwa, ed. (2005). "Robert Bruce Ware: Mythology and Political Failure in Chechnya". Chechnya: From Past to Future. Anthem Press. pp. 79–115. ISBN 978-1-84331-164-5.
- Toll rises from Russia attack, CNN, June 23, 2004
- Death toll from Ingushetia rebel attacks revised down to 88, Agence France-Presse, 28 Jun 2004
- Five Years Later, Repercussions Of Nazran Attack Still Reverberate, RFERL, June 19, 2009
- The Internal Corps - The Kremlin's Private Army