Achemez Gochiyayev

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Achemez Gochiyayev (born in 1970, in the town of Karachaevsk) is a Russian citizen who was accused of organizing Russian apartment bombings, a series of terrorist acts in 1999 that killed 293 people and led the country into the Second Chechen War.[1] The five bombings took place during two weeks between September 4 and September 16, 1999, in Moscow, and south towns of Buynaksk and Volgodonsk.[2] Gochiyaev has not been arrested or convicted and remains a fugitive.[3]


Gochyiaev is an ethnic Karachai (rather than a Chechen), born in the city of Karachaevsk at North Caucasus. After finishing high school, he served in Russian Strategic Rocket Forces. He ran a small food-distribution company since 1997 in Moscow and got married in 1996.

His involvement in bombings[edit]

Gochyayev rented premises on four locations in Moscow where bombs were found. He, Tatyana Koroleva and Alexander Karmishin were founders of the company that received shipments of the explosives, RDX, used in the bombings.[4] When two first bombs run off claiming more than 200 lives, he called to police to warn about two remaining bombs (at Borisovskie Prudy and Kapotnya). The remaining bombs were found on the addresses he indicated and deactivated, which helped to prevent a large number of further casualties.[5][6] Gochiyaev claimed that he was framed by his old acquaintance, an FSB officer[7] who asked him to rent basements "as storage facilities" at four locations where bombs were later found[8]

FSB investigation[edit]

According to FSB, Gochiyayev received $500,000 from warlord Ibn Al-Khattab to carry out the attacks.[6] FSB released a picture showing the two together, claiming that it proved that the two had close links.[6] Both Russia and USA accuse Al-Khattab of having direct links with Al-Qaida.[6][9]

Gochiyaev's group was trained at Chechen rebel bases in the towns of Serzhen-Yurt and Urus-Martan, where the explosives were prepared. The group's "technical instructors" were two Arab field commanders, Abu Umar and Abu Djafar, and the bombings' brainchild was another Arab field commander, Ibn Al-Khattab.[10]

An attempt of independent investigation[edit]

According to former FSB officer Mikhail Trepashkin, the person who actually rented the premises was FSB officer Vladimir Romanovich. Trepashkin says he was unable to present his evidence to the court, since he was arrested on charges of illegal arms possession a week before the trial.[11] He was convicted by a military closed court for illegal arms possession and for divulging state secrets to four years in prison.[12] Romanovich was subsequently killed in a hit and run accident in Cyprus. Gochiyev escaped to Georgia and later probably to Turkey, according to news reports.

The owner of a Guryanov St. basement warehouse in Moscow, Mark Blumenfeld, said the composite sketch of the man who rented his basement was later replaced with a different sketch. Mr. Blumenfeld pointed out that the inquest pressured him at Lefortovo to testify against Gochiyaev, the man identified by the latter sketch.[13]