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Russia issues arrest warrant for Daghestani former MP

16 February 2024
Magomed Gadzhiyev in Russia's State Duma in 2017. Photo: Tass

Russia has issued a warrant for the arrest of Daghestani former MP Magomed Gadzhiyev. Gadzhiyev was in 2023 designated a ‘foreign agent’, but the reasons for his arrest warrant and inclusion on the list have not been made public. 

Russia’s Justice Ministry had reportedly earlier accused Gadzhiyev of ‘expressing his readiness’ to cooperate with foreign governments to gain foreign citizenship while outside of Russia, and of seeking support from Ukrainian authorities. The statement does not note which country’s citizenship Gadzhiyev was seeking. 

A number of outlets have reported that Gadzhiyev was in 2022 actively involved in Russia’s war in Ukraine, supporting Russian-backed separatist groups, and funding a Daghestani battalion. 

An investigation by Romania Breaking News also claimed that Gadzhiyev and his wife had received ‘golden visas’ allowing them long-term residence in Dubai, owned real estate in Miami, and were trying to obtain European or American citizenship. 

Gadzhiyev was expelled from the ruling United Russia party on 28 May 2023, two days after the former MP was included in Russia’s list of foreign agents ‘for actions discrediting the party’. 

At the time, Head of Daghestan Sergei Melikov wrote on his Telegram channel that the decision was ‘reasonable’, calling Gadzhiyev a ‘coward’ and a ‘traitor.’

‘For the sake of a European passport, Gadzhiyev was ready to throw mud at everything that is near and dear to us: our compatriots, friends, the republic, the country and even religion,’ wrote Melikov.

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According to independent Russian outlet Meduza, a source close to the Kremlin said that Gadzhiyev was expelled and added to the list of foreign agents after the presidential administration got access to Gadzhiyev’s Telegram conversations. In those exchanges, Gadzhiyev promised a Western intelligence employee that he would reveal information about the Russian government and wealthy businesspeople in exchange for French or Italian citizenship. 

In April 2023, Gadzhiyev stated in a leaked conversation that he was in the United States, supported Ukraine, and even participated in organising a meeting between the head of the Ukrainian presidential office and the Crown Prince of Dubai.

However, in September 2023, members of Ukraine’s parliament requested that the US sanction Gadzhiyev for his support for Russian separatists in Donetsk. 

‘We are aware that he and his family have and use assets in the United States’, the appeal noted.