For more than a year, Lortkipanidze said, he was pleased with his “recruiter and informant,“ Chatayev. “But then he turned against us and we arrested him. In August of 2012, a group of radical militants was going to cross [into Russia] from Georgia and Chatayev said he was Muslim, he could not abandon his brothers“ by informing on them, Lortkipanidze said.
In Odessa, the day before we talked, Lortkipanidze had deployed an significant number of security personnel to “prevent any destabilization” there during protests to demand the return of public court hearings. Tires burned and sirens wailed. Dozens of buff young men in body armor lined up along the neoclassical white columns of the city hall. Lortkipanidze said he suspected that there were terrorists carrying illegal weapons in the crowd of protesters. Shows of force are only one of the methods he has learned to use over the years.
On Sept. 8, 2012, the general commanded the Georgian counter-terrorist division that arrested Chatayev. But by then, the Chechen had learned how to game the system.
The alleged mastermind of the Istanbul massacre was a Russian citizen who had applied for refugee status in Austria. There, for several years, Chatayev was a representative in Europe for Doku Umarov, the leader of the Caucasus Emirate terrorist organization, according to the general.
Russia tried for years to extradite Chatayev. In 2010 he was briefly under arrest in Ukraine but neither Ukraine nor Georgia—long hostile to Russia’s secret services—would give him back to his home country.
returning to jihad.