Shamil Basayev is a politician and self-proclaimed terrorist fighting for Chechnya's independence from Russia. Chechnya is a small Muslim republic in southern Russia. Basayev has ties to Al Qaeda, the Mujahideen, and many other terrorist networks.
He was active in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict, where his Abkhaz Battalion helped to fight off the Georgian Army. This Abkhaz Battalion was then brought back to defend Chechnya's capitol city of Grozny. Shamil held off Russia's invading force (which went in under Yeltsin) for awhile but he eventually had to flee.
In June 1995, when things weren't looking good for the Chechen separatists, Shamil led an attack on a hospital in Budyonnovsk and took 1800 people hostage. The hostage-taking eventually resulted in a Russian withdrawal from Chechnya, and Shamil became a national hero. A few months later, Shamil would lead an assault of Grozny and he succeeded in taking the capital back from the Russians. Due mostly to Shamil, the Russians lost the First Chechen War.
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