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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russians Await 'Double,' Name Bombing Suspect

Chechens waited with mild curiosity Thursday to see if the leader of their drive for independence would come back from the dead, but a Russian official suggested a Dzhokhar Dudayev double was more likely than the man himself.


The head of Russia's Federal Security Service, Nikolai Kovalyov, told a news conference he did not believe Dudayev would return.


"We have known for a long time that Dudayev 'doubles' are being prepared," he said.


"Several groups have expressed such an intention and we received operative information on this matter. As for his so-called resurrection, I personally do not believe in it."


Chechen leaders said in April that Dudayev was killed by a Russian rocket programmed to home in on his conversation on a satellite telephone.


FSB officials also Thursday named a Chechen guerrilla commander as a suspect in the recent explosions in Moscow trolleybuses. The method used in the Moscow bombings was the same as in other bombings traced to rebel commander Ruslan Khaikhoroyev, said FSB spokesman Mikhail Kirillin.


Kovalyov said his service "is taking active measures to neutralize Khaikhoroyev's terrorists."


"These bandits' record includes the killings of two journalists from St. Petersburg, the American Fred Cuny and the people who accompanied him," Kovalyov said. Two Russian journalists working for a St. Petersburg newspaper disappeared in Chechnya early in 1995, and Cuny disappeared with a Russian translator and two Russian doctors in April 1995 while on a relief mission for the New York-based Soros Foundation.


Khaikhoroyev is also wanted for organizing the July 18 blast on a bus in the Caucasus city of Nalchik, and two attempted train bombings on July 19 and 20 in the same region.


Rumors that Dudayev was alive gained force last month, fuelled by the appearance of rebel commander Salman Raduyev, who had also been given up for dead. He said Dudayev would return.


Local residents in the Chechen capital Grozny said anything was possible in the unpredictable rebel region. "I heard it on television," said newspaper seller Totsita Khamzayeva, asked about the rumor that Dudayev could return Friday. "I believe he's alive, but I don't think he will come back tomorrow."


(Reuters, AP)