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Ramzan Kadyrov

The Chechnya Republic is one of 85 constituent components of the Russian Federation. Russian combat losses in the first two Chechen wars equalled Soviet combat losses in Afghanistan. Stability in Chenya is probably essential to political stability in Russia. By 2007 Rosneft spent Rs 800-900 million per year in Chechnya to produce oil it sold for Rs 30 billion.

Ramzan Akhmatovich Kadyrov became president of the Chechen Republic in 2011. Ramzan Kadyrov is the son of Akhmat Kadyrov, the first president of the Chechen Republic within the Russian Federation, and had led the Republic since his father's assassination in 2004. During the First Chechen War, he took part in fighting against federal forces with his father. During the second Chechen war, the two of them sided with the federal government. Since 2009, he had the title of major general of militia.

Ramzan Kadyrov, who celebrated his 38th birthday on 05 October 2015, may not yet be the second-most-powerful political figure in the Russian Federation. But that is not for want of self-promotion. He is already certainly the most colorful/flamboyant, arguably the most quoted (after his surrogate father and political patron, Russian President Vladimir Putin), and probably the most feared, not only across the North Caucasus but by those elsewhere in Russia who are already asking themselves what will happen if Putin leaves office, and who might succeed him.

In an article published in December 2014 in the weekly Versiya, Ruslan Gorevoy quoted analyst Andrei Okara as saying Kadyrov and Putin are "the only two real politicians in Russia today," the remainder being "either bureaucrats, or propagandists, or clowns."

Kadyrov sees himself both as defender and definer of the faith, in his case a bizarre synthesis of traditional Sunni Islam and selected elements of Chechen Sufism that one insurgent scornfully dismissed as "a hodge-podge of Sufi fairy-tales and local adats [traditional precepts]."

Kadyrov had established himself as the unofficial political leader of Russia's estimated 20 million Muslims by presiding over the building of mosques (including the largest mosque in Europe, named after his father), five schools for hafizes, and a clinic for the practice of Islamic medicine. (Never mind that he is seemingly unable to quote a single sura from the Koran).

Ramzan Kadyrov, president of Chechnya, is unusually repressive even by the standards of the Russian Federation. He was independently named by Reporters Without Borders, along with Vladimir Putin, as one of the world’s worst “predators of the press.” The murders of two prominent critics of the Chechen regime, Anna Politkovskaya in 2006 and Natalya Estemirova, remain unsolved, and Estemirova’s murder provoked the closure of the Chechen office of the human rights group Memorial. Kadyrov has fostered a personality cult, posting his photo everywhere and starting petting newspapers using subsidies from the Russian government.

Putin ascribes the success of his Chechnya policies to his unlimited backing of Kadyrov. Putin allows, supports and finances Kadyrov's power and scope of activity in Chechnya, and agrees to abide by the guarantees of immunity and impunity Kadyrov has given his 10,000-15,000 fighters, mostly former rebels like Kadyrov himself. In return, Kadyrov is personally loyal to Putin and ensures that his fighters turn their guns on separatists, Islamists and other enemies of the Russian state.

Kadyrov established a regime of personal power in the republic. Chechnya is a unique region; there is none other like it in Russia. It is a region where Russian laws are essentially not in force, where an autonomous political regime has been created. Kadyrov in large part copies the style of Putin with the addition of a certain religious and national features.

The Kremlin placates Kadyrov. Kadyrov recognizes the power and authority of just one person in Russia — Putin — and will do so as long as it is to his advantage. Therefore, inside the Kremlin they are wary of Kadyrov. In the FSB (Federal Security Service) they are afraid of Kadyrov, in the Investigative Committee they are afraid of crossing Kadyrov. Behind Kadyrov is an army of many thousand fighters, armed to the teeth, who only yesterday fought against Russian soldiers, and know well the taste of blood. Today, they are legalized in the Russian power structures, but are subordinated and personally loyal to Kadyrov. Thus, fearing Kadyrov, the federal authorities cajole and try not to provoke him, endlessly award him, and cede spheres of influence to him.

Ethnic Russians, tired of the cronyism and rigidity of their public institutions, watch with jealousy how much money the North Caucasian “aliens” keep getting from the federal budget.

Kadyrov has become a fairly major political figure which nobody can manage or control. The absence of any control or countermeasures gives Kadyrov a feeling of absolute license and impunity. He has large financial resources; standing behind him are thousands of well-trained and well-armed fighters who are loyal to him personally, not to Russia's laws or constitution.

Ramzan Kadyrov was born October 5, 1976 in the Chechen village Tsentaroy, a son of Akhmad Kadyrov. Prior to 2000, Kadyrov was known primarily his sporting career: participated in many competitions in boxing, is a master of sports. Since 1996, Ramzan Kadyrov was the assistant and bodyguard of his father - Mufti Akhmad Kadyrov. By 2000 he headed the security service of his father - Kadyrov Akhmad Kadyrov, who became at that time the head of the Russian military authorities in Chechnya.

In 2000-2002, Ramzan Kadyrov served as the inspector of communications and special equipment Staff Militia separate company at the Internal Affairs Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation for the Chechen Republic. In the years 2002-2004 he was the commander of a platoon of a separate company on the protection of the police, state security buildings of the Chechen Republic Internal Affairs Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Chechen Republic.

A report by the Russian opposition on Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov accuses him of amassing a 30,000-strong "private army" that constitutes a threat to national security. The report, titled Kadyrov: National Security Threat was released by the Republican Party of Russia-People's Freedom Party's (Parnas) Ilya Yashin on 23 February 2016, was the latest barrage in an escalating war of words between the Chechen strongman and the beleaguered Russian opposition, whom Kadyrov has labeled "enemies of the people" and "traitors." Yashin described Kadyrov's forces as "possibly the most battle-capable military group in modern Russia."

Kadyrov's 30,000 troops are fiercely loyal to the Kremlin-backed Chechen leader, as he pardoned many of them in return for laying down their weapons and abandoning their separatist fight against Moscow. Kadyrov is investing heavily in training for future generations of loyal fighters.

Kadyrov sent Chechen forces to eastern Ukraine in 2014 to fight alongside other Kremlin-backed troops against Kyiv. Kadyrov's men were involved in criminal activities across Russia, pointing to interviews with police disgruntled by the perceived impunity of his forces. "In recent years, Kadyrov's fighters have become active in Moscow," Yashin wrote. "But while they see their main task as defending their boss's regime in Chechnya, they are beginning to see the rest of Russia as potential loot."

Kremlin-backed Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said he was ready to resign. In an interview with the Kremlin-allied NTV television, Kadyrov said "my time has passed." Kadyrov's current term of office is due to end in early April 2016. "There are lots of successors on our team. We've got very good specialists," Kadyrov added in the interview that aired on 27 February 2016, first in Russia's Far East. The announcement came on the one-year anniversary of the killing of Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov. Many in the opposition accused Kadyrov of playing a role in Nemtsov’s murder.

Putin on 25 March 2016 nominated Chechnya's regional leader for another term in office, shrugging off demands for his dismissal over an alleged role in the killing of a Russian opposition leader. But in an apparent bid to rein in the unruly strongman, Putin warned Ramzan Kadyrov of the need to more closely follow the federal law.

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Page last modified: 26-03-2016 21:10:03 ZULU