Jihad strikes Vladimir Lenin's hometown

A group of extremists established a powerful military and religious organization in the Ulyanovsk region

The Office of the Public Prosecutor of the Ulyanovsk region finished investigating the case of the Islamic organization Jamaat, which involved about 80 members. According to law-enforcement officers, the activity of the illegal organization has been stopped, and eight Wakhabis will go on trial in the region. They maintained the organization attacking long-distance trucks. The money was used to buy weapons and extremist literature, which was later distributed in local mosques. The gunmen killed several competitors from the criminal environment of the region.

”The terrorist community in the Ulyanovsk region was kept secret as much as possible. Law-enforcement agencies learned about it incidentally,” Vasili Zima, senior assistant to the regional prosecutor told the Izvestia. “The group was organized by 33-year-old Abdulhalib Abdulkarimov, who was on the federal wanted list. One has to acknowledge that he is a highly educated and smart person: he knows many languages and is very good at winning people's confidence. He found a rich follower in Ulyanovsk, the 32-year-old director of the company Boyard, Valery Ilmendeev, who later became the spiritual leader of the organization. These people started propagandizing Wakhabism, trying to attract more people to their group. They distributed religious literature and video materials spreading humiliating views against Jews, Christians and those Muslims, who did not follow Wakhabism,” Vasili Zima said.

Members of the extremist group organized something like a mosque in a flat of one of apartment blocks in Ulyanovsk. They conducted religious rituals and held classes there to flame hatred against people of other religions and beliefs. The community managed to win over 80 people in 12 months, including 14-year-old school children.

Thirty-year-old Sergei Sandirkin organized and headed a division of Jamaat to improve the well-being of the community with robberies, kidnappings, assassinations and other crimes. Sandirkin and seven of his accomplices used the religious views of the extremist organization to gain personal profit.

Jamaat's income was basically coming from attacks on long-distance trucks. A spokesman for the Interior Ministry administration in Ulyanovsk said that several police officers helped extremists in their subversive activities on the road. One of the officers would inform criminals of approaching trucks, or he would stop a vehicle and tell the driver to go on a different road, where the truck would be attacked, robbed, or simply hijacked.

Jammat's interests came across the interests of a local criminal group known as Saplya. Wakhabis killed the leader of the gang in the conflict – the police found the Islamite organization because of that murder.

Jamaat's leaders were nabbed in a country house on the outskirts of Ulyanovsk. An ammunition depot was found in the house too: guns, machineguns, bombs, explosives, optic sights, night vision goggles, several sets of police uniform. As it turned out, Jamaat was a powerful military and religious community, which conducted its activities in 12 Russian regions. Ulyanovsk police officers were shocked to find out that the majority of Jamaat members were former Orthodox Russians.

Extremists were trying to win over young people from poor families and criminal youth groups. As a rule, young men became obsessed with the idea of the organization – they were ready to struggle even against their own relatives and friends. “A young man came to the house of his mother, a Christian, and threw all Orthodox icons out of the window. The woman was weeping, begging her son to stop, but he didn't,” a police officer said.

The Ulyanovsk police arrested eight active members of the group: they were charged under ten articles of the Russian penal code, including murder and stirring international hostility. All extremists might spend the rest of their lives in jail.

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Author`s name Olga Savka