The most wanted man in Russia, Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, has been killed today by the country's special forces. While the precise circumstances of his death have yet to be publicized, one can only hope that his final breaths on planet Earth were marked by an intolerable level of pain.
Basayev was among the most notorious leaders of the Chechen separatist movement. The initiation of his murderous campaign against innocents coincided with the Russian invasion of Chechnya in 1994, when he became one of the leading commanders of the Chechen guerrillas. Basayev's meteoric rise to prominence in the terrorist ranks was facilitated by his sheer barbarity on the battlefield, where he made perfectly clear that no one was immune from punishment — not women and especially not children.
Basayev's extensive resume of terrorist activities is second only to Osama bin Laden. Still, Basayev will be most remembered for his role in the Beslan school attack in 2004.
The three-day standoff began on September first at School Number One in the Russian town of Beslan in North Ossetia. Over 1200 school children and adults were taken hostage by armed Islamist terrorists, who were demanding a full withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya. The three-day standoff came to an end on September third, when shooting broke out between the terrorist captors and Russia's special forces. Of the 344 innocent civilians that were killed over the course of the hostage crisis, the majority of them were children.
Days later, Russia's Federal Security Service announced a $10 million reward for information that would lead to the "neutralization" of Basayev and Aslan Maskhadov, who jointly masterminded the hostage attack.
It is not yet clear whether the circumstances of Basayev's death warrant payment on the bounty. Of course, it's not for money that Russians are celebrating today.
"This is retaliation he deserves for killing our children in Beslan, Budennovsk, all the terrorist acts his bandits perpetrated in Moscow and other regions of Russia, including Ingushetia and the Chechen Republic," FSB chief Nikolai Patrushev Patrushev said.