Russia’s most-wanted terrorist, the militant Chechen separatist Doku Umarov, threatened on Wednesday to instigate a series of attacks with “maximum force” to stop the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
Umarov made his announcement via a video on Wednesday afternoon, calling on all Islamic militants in the Caucus area to disrupt the 2014 Olympic Games in any way possible, according to Reuters. He described the games, set to occur next February in the Russian resort town of Sochi, as “Satanic dances” that insult Muslims who were killed fighting Russians near the Black Sea 200 years ago.
The leader of the radical Islamic Caucasus Emirate, Umarov is the most-wanted terrorist in Russia and has earned himself the nickname “Russia’s Osama bin Laden.” The Caucus Emirate seeks to establish its own independent Islamic state within the Russian Caucus mountains.
“They [Russians] plan to hold the Olympics on the bones of our ancestors, on the bones of many, many dead Muslims, buried on the territory of our land on the Black Sea, and we as mujahideen are obliged to not permit that, using any methods allowed us by the almighty Allah,” Umarov said in the video, Reuters reports.
“I call on you, every mujahid, either in Tatarstan, Bashkortostan or on the territory of the Caucasus to use maximum force on the path of Allah to disrupt this Satanic dancing on the bones of our ancestors,” he added.
In the same video, Umarov announced that the Caucus Emirate would once again begin targeting civilians in its attacks, contrary to an 18-month-long order not to harm nongovernment personnel.
State-owned Russian news site RIA Novosti reports that officials in Russia’s National Antiterrorist Committee (NAK) have downplayed the threats, calling Umarov nothing more than a “gang leader” and assuring Russian citizens that ample security measures are already in place to deal with the threats.
“Despite calls by various gang leaders … active in certain regions of the North Caucasus, all of Russia’s state institutions, special services and law enforcement bodies are constantly implementing a set of measures aimed at providing security for Russian citizens,” the NAK told RIA Novosti.
At the same time, Jean-Claude Killy, who serves as head of the International Olympic Committee commission for the Sochi games, says that the threats are not unexpected.
"We get threats before every Olympics," Killy told the Associated Press. "This cannot be taken lightly. I think the Russians are well equipped to face the challenge."
Eric Brown is an IBTimes political reporter who eats far too much pizza. He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and currently resides in Brooklyn.