Bashkortostan’s FSB have detained four suspected members of Hizb ut-Tahrir in an operation in Ufa on 27 August. The four men – identified as Yevgeniy Kulagin, Rasim Satayev, Aleksey Khamadeyev, and Aidar Garifyanov – are accused of “preparing to forcibly take power” in order to advance the organisation’s goal of establishing a “Worldwide Islamic Caliphate.” (RIA Novosti, 29 August 2013).
According to investigators, Kulagin and the other three started work in 2011 and divided the republic into four parts, with each person responsible for spreading Hizb ut-Tahrir material in their area. Throughout 2011 and 2012, the four men allegedly organized various protests and conferences. They now face charges under Article 30.1 (relating to Preparations for a Crime, and Attempted Crimes) and Article 278 (Forcible Seizure of Power or Forcible Retention of Power) (Lenta.ru, 29 August 2013)
Interestingly, Bashkortostan’s FSB claimed that Hizb ut-Tahrir’s activities in the republic have become “more rigorous and proactive” since 2010 (RIA Novosti, 29 August 2013), something that contrasts with recent claims that its activities have declined over the last year in neighbouring Tatarstan (see Newsru.com, 22 August 2013). Of course, the differences between the claims could lie less in the activities of Hizb ut-Tahrir throughout the Volga region and more in the budgetary concerns of the local FSB.
Meanwhile, the official website of Hizb ut-Tahrir Russia reacted angrily to the arrests, calling the accusations “ridiculous” and labelling the arrests “the latest manifestation of Russia’s struggle with Islam.” According to Hizb ut-Tahrir’s statement, the searches were conducted in eight homes on 26 August. In addition to the four arrested, it said that the rest were being investigated on suspicion of being involved with the organisation. It is unclear from their statement how many people were involved in total (presumably one per house), and Russian media made no mention of any other suspects in the case.