Cablegate Chronicles: The Rolls Royce and the Kalashnikov

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A wealthy leader from the Caucasus takes precautions.

FROM: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
TO: STATE DEPARTMENT
DATE: AUGUST 6, 2006
CLASSIFICATION: CONFIDENTIAL
SEE FULL CABLE


Gadzhi has cashed in the social capital he made from nationalism, translating it into financial and political capital -- as head of Dagestan's state oil company and as the single-mandate representative for Makhachkala in Russia's State Duma. His dealings in the oil business -- including close cooperation with U.S. firms -- have left him well off enough to afford luxurious houses in Makhachkala, Kaspiysk, Moscow, Paris and San Diego; and a large collection of luxury automobiles, including the Rolls Royce Silver Phantom in which Dalgat fetched Aida from her parents' reception. (Gadzhi gave us a lift in the Rolls once in Moscow, but the legroom was somewhat constricted by the presence of a Kalashnikov carbine at our feet. Gadzhi has survived numerous assassination attempts, as have most of the still-living leaders of Dagestan. In Dagestan he always travels in an armored BMW with one, sometimes two follow cars full of uniformed armed guards.)

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