Baurzhan Kultanov

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Baurzhan Kultanov
Baurzhan Kultanov provided this photo of him, in Syria, in 2014.
Baurzhan Kultanov provided this photo of him, in Syria, in 2014.
Born Astrakhan, Russia
Nationality Russia
Occupation soldier
Known for volunteered to fight in both Daesh occupied Syria and Russian occupied Ukraine

Baurzhan Kultanov is a Russian fighter.

In an interview with Lilia Yapparova Kultanov described how he had first traveled to wartorn Syria to fight as a foreign volunteer for Daesh, otherwise known as ISIS, ISIL or the "Islamic State".[1] He travelled there in 2004. He described quickly becoming disenchanted with the totalitarian aspects of ISIS, and making two failed attempts to defect, finally succeeding in making his way to Turkey.

He sought asylum in Turkey, without divulging that he had volunteered to fight for Daesh.[1] However, by 2015, Turkish authorities had realized he had fought for Daesh, and started the process of deporting him back to Russia.

Kultanov described beating, and threats of torture or summary execution from Russian officials.[1] Photos he had posted to social media, from Syria, before he became disenchanted, could be used as evidence against him, if he were to be given a trial. He was told he could expect to serve 20 years. However, if he agreed to plead guilty, and serve as an informant, he would be given a shorter sentence.

Kultanov said he serve four years.[1] He said that, during this time, he was regularly shown photos, many of which were photos of strangers, and was expected to denounce them as other foreign volunteers for Daesh.

After his 2019 release one of the FSB agents he had answered to, during the previous four years, Alexander Gushchin, informed him that his parole was going to be waived, as he was going to be sent to Ukraine, where they wanted him to be a mole in a Ukrainian militia unit of Crimean Tartars, lead by Isa Akayev.[1]

Some of his briefings came from Vadim Stetsenko, a Ukrainian renegade, who had worked for Ukrainian intelligence services, before defecting to Russia, and joining to FSB.[1]

Pravda (Ukraine) reported, in 2022, that Kultanov's new FSB handler, Vladislav Voronin, reassigned him to Turkey.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Lilia Yapparova, Vera Mironova (2023-05-22). "‘You really are a terrorist’ How Russia’s FSB recruits former ISIS fighters — and tries to plant them in Ukrainian battalions". Meduza. Retrieved 2023-07-02. "'I started to disappear, to skip [military operations],' Baurzhan said. 'I went to help Muslims, but I ultimately realized that the chaos had been created by ISIS itself. And that I needed to get out of there.'" 
  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named pravdaU2023-05-16