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The Province of Nokhchicho (Chechen: Vilayat Noxçiyçö, Вилаят Нохчийчоь) was the Chechen-based wing of the Caucasus Emirate organisation. It was created in 2007 as one of the Emirate's six vilayats, replacing the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria.

Vilayat Nokhchicho
Participant in the Second Chechen War, Insurgency in the North Caucasus
Flag of Caucasian Emirate.svg
Flag of the Caucasus Emirate
Active31 October 2007 – June 2015
LeadersAslambek Vadalov (Eastern Front - disbanded July 2011)
Tarkhan Gaziyev (South Western Front - disbanded July 2011)
Khuseyn Gakayev  (Eastern Sector)
Aslan Byutukayev (Western Sector)
Area of operationsRussian North Caucasus (Chechnya)
Part ofFlag of Caucasian Emirate.svg Caucasus Emirate
Originated asFlag of Chechen Republic of Ichkeria.svg Chechen Republic of Ichkeria
AlliesVilayat Galgaycho
Vilayat Dagestan
United Vilayat of Kabarda, Balkaria and Karachay
Opponent(s) Russian Federation
 United States of America
Chechen nationalist groups




The Chechen Republic of Ichkeria or CRI was an unrecognized secessionist government established in the Russian region of Chechnya in late 1991 by Dzhokhar Dudayev. After winning de facto independence in 1996 from the Russian Federation in the wake of the First Chechen War, it was invaded by Russia in the Second Chechen War, with direct rule of Chechnya being established in May 2000. After losing territorial control to Russia, the CRI continued to exist in the form of an insurgent group fighting a guerrilla war against the Russian Military, while some Chechen separatists also carried out attacks against civilians in Russia. The CRI was severely weakened by the conflict with the Russians in the years following, suffering many casualties and defections including the deaths of its successive Presidents, Aslan Maskhadov and Abdul Halim Sadulayev. Following the death of Sadulayev in June 2006, Dokka Umarov was elevated as the next leader of the CRI.[1]

Declaration of Caucasus EmirateEdit

On 7 October 2007, Dokka Umarov, President of Ichkeria, declared the establishment of the Caucasus Emirate, which sought to establish an independent Islamic State in the North Caucasus. At the same time, Umarov abolished the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and in its place announced that it was now a province, or vilayat, of the Emirate.[2]

Leadership disputeEdit

In August 2010, a video was posted on the rebel Kavkaz Center website showing Dokku Umarov announcing his resignation as leader of the Caucasus Emirate and announcing Chechen commander Aslanbek Vadalov as his successor. This was followed by another video in the same month showing Umarov retracting the decision. [3] Following these events, several commanders of the Chechen wing of the Caucasus Emirate - Tarkhan Gaziyev, Muhannad, Aslanbek Vadalov and Hussein Gakayev withdrew their oath of loyalty to Umarov. In a video, they also announced Gekayev has been elected the Emir of Chechnya.[4][5][6]

In July 2011, a sharia court ruled in favour of Umarov and the dissident commanders reaffirmed the loyalty to him. Umarov then announced a reorganisation of the Vilayat into two military sectors, with Aslan Byutukayev being appointed as the head of the newly created Western Sector, and Hussein Gakayev being named as head the eastern sector.[7][8][9]

Death of Umarov and defections to ISILEdit

Following the death of Caucasus Emirate leader Dokka Umarov in 2013, Byutukayev reportedly became the new head of Vilayat Nokhchicho.[10] On 15 May 2014 a video was released online showing Byutukayev and the district commanders of the insurgency giving an oath of allegiance to the new head of the Caucasus Emirate, Aliaskhab Kebekov. This was the largest meeting of the Chechen insurgents known to have occurred since the 2011 leadership dispute.[10] Despite this, from late 2014 many Chechen mid-level commanders retracted their oath to Kebekov and pledged loyalty to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.[11] In June 2015, Byutukayev announced that he had also pledged allegiance to al-Baghdadi.[12]


  1. ^ Nick Paton Walsh (19 June 2006). "Chechnya rebels appoint new leader after killing". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 June 2006.
  2. ^ "Two years of Imarat Kavkaz: jihad spreads over Russia's south", Caucasian Knot, 7 October 2009.
  3. ^ "Umarov's U-Turn". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 4 August 2010.
  4. ^ Grozny Attack Underscores Chechen Insurgents' Military Capabilities, RFE/RL, 25 October 2010
  5. ^ Chechen Rebel Field Commanders Renounced Loyalty Oath to Doku Umarov Archived October 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Jamestown Foundation, 8 October 2010 (UNHCR)
  6. ^ Jihadists in Crisis, The Atlantic, 24 November 2010
  7. ^ Mairbek Vatchagaev (24 May 2012). "Videotaped Chechen Rebels' Meeting Indicates Their Numbers Are Underestimated". Jamestown Foundation.
  8. ^ "Some Chechen Commanders Reaffirm Loyalty To Umarov". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 26 July 2011.
  9. ^ "Internal divisions resolved, claims Caucasus Emirate". Long War Journal. 25 July 2011.
  10. ^ a b "Rebels in Chechnya Regroup in Rare Meeting of Field Commanders". Jamestown Foundation. 8 August 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  11. ^ Liz Fuller (2015-01-02). "Six North Caucasus Insurgency Commanders Transfer Allegiance To Islamic State". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Retrieved 2015-06-19.
  12. ^ "What Caused the Demise of the Caucasus Emirate?". Jamestown Foundation. 18 June 2015.

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit