Isa Akhyadovich Munayev (Chechen: Мунаев Iиса, Russian: Иса Ахьядович Мунаев; 20 May 1965 – 1 February 2015) was a Chechen military commander who fought for the independence of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria from Russia until being forced into exile in Europe around 2004. He was killed in action while leading a Chechen volunteer unit on the Ukrainian side in the War in Donbass in 2015.
Munayev was a police officer in the Chechen capital of Grozny before the outbreak of hostilities with Russia. At the beginning of the Second Chechen War in 1999, the Chechen leader, Aslan Maskhadov, appointed him as a military commandant of Grozny. During the Battle of Grozny (1999–2000), Munayev organized ambushes, car bombs and mine explosions against the Russian forces. In October 2000, the Russian authorities erroneously reported that he had been killed when a group of rebels tried to blow up a military truck. After the Chechen forces withdrew from the capital to the mountains, Munayev was made a brigadier general and commander of the Southwestern front early in 2001. Having sustained a serious injury during fighting, he was forced to leave Chechnya in 2004 or 2005. He was granted political asylum in Denmark, where he became the organizer of the public political movement "Free Caucasus", which was founded in 2009.
In July 2014, during the War in Donbass, the organization announced the formation of an "international peacekeeping battalion" of volunteers to support Ukraine in fighting against the pro-Russian insurgency. The battalion was named the Dzhokhar Dudayev Battalion after the first President of Chechnya, Dzhokhar Dudayev, and Munayev was appointed as its commander. During the armed conflict the Dudayev battalion operated between Donetsk and Luhansk with approximately 500 volunteers. The battalion was not subject to any political leader in Kiev, or subordinate to any political structure there.
Munayev was killed in the Battle of Debaltseve on 1 February 2015. He was hit by shrapnel from a tank shell in the village of Chernukhino, also known as Chornukhyne, near Debaltseve. He had a large gaping wound and died instantly. He was 49 years old.
After his death, British-educated Chechen national Adam Osmayev was chosen as the new leader of the Dzhokhar Dudayev Battalion, which had the aim to defend Debaltseve. Shortly afterward, Debaltseve was taken by separatist forces and a ceasefire came into effect. It is unclear if the battalion is still active in the conflict.
- Vatchagaev, Mairbek (18 July 2014). "Chechen Experience in Urban Combat Could Be of Vital Use to Ukraine". North Caucasus Weekly. The Jamestown Foundation. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
- Bagrov, Yuri (October 4, 2000). "Kremlin Says Chechen Rebel Commander Killed". The Moscow Times. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
- "Isa Munayev's War - The Final Days Of A Chechen Commander Fighting In Ukraine". The Intercept. 27 February 2015.
- "Погибший генерал Иса Мунаев собирался просить Порошенко об украинском гражданстве - боец". UNIAN. 2 February 2015.
- "Adam Osmayev: Cotswolds public schoolboy turned Ukraine militia commander". The Telegraph. 7 February 2015.