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Russian anti-corruption leader says a murderous family is plundering Karachay-Cherkessia

A handful of powerful families control virtually all the resources allocated to Russia’s Karachay-Cherkess Republic, according to a report from Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK). The organization’s new research focuses on the Kaitov family, who Navalny says wield the same level of influence as the Arashukovs. (In late January, Senator Rauf Arashukov was arrested for his alleged role in two homicides. His father and nephew — top executives at Gazprom Mezhregiongaz — were later charged with large-scale fraud.)

“Bentleys, Mansions, and Murders: How the North Caucasus Works”
Alexey Navalny

FBK says Aliy Kaitov helped organize the murder of seven people in 2004. Twenty-seven years old at the time, Aliy was the director of the company Kavkaz Cement and the son-in-law of Mustafa Batdyyev, then Karachay-Cherkessia’s president. Aliy Kaitov was convicted and sentenced to 17 years in prison, but he went free after only nine years and immediately took over a company that manages electric power distribution in the city of Cherkessk.

Aliy's uncle, Magomed Kaitov, spent years as the head of the Caucasian Energy Management Company, gaining a reputation in the media as the “king of the North Caucasus power grid.” Navalny points out that Vladimir Putin publicly mentioned Magomed Kaitov’s name in a 2011 speech about corruption in the electric power industry. In 2013, police arrested Magomed on charges of embezzling 4 billion rubles, but he was freed just two years later.

Several other members of the Kaitov family hold prominent positions in the Karachay-Cherkess government. Akhmat Kaitov (Aliy’s brother) heads the region’s roads department, and his father-in-law is the chief of police. Aliy’s father, Zaur Kaitov, served as Karachay-Cherkessia’s top forestry officer. According to FBK, the republic’s current leader, Rashid Temrezov, also has ties to Aliy Kaitov, having held senior positions at his energy companies, before entering politics.

The Kaitovs aren’t hiding their wealth, either. On social media, family members have shared photographs of mansions, yachts, expensive cars, and other evidence of a luxurious lifestyle.

They’re not just unashamed cheats, but outright criminals — killers and bandits. They seize entire regions, where they can do whatever they want. Of course, it’s all coordinated closely with Moscow. Do you really think the Kremlin doesn’t know about this, or isn’t involved? Well, do the math: Just 465,000 people live in Karachay-Cherkessia — fewer than the population of Tula. These clans have managed to squeeze tens of billions of rubles from this tiny federal subject. They have literally robbed everyone there.

Alexey Navalny