By Alexander Yeo and Dr. Emil A. Souleimanov
October 26, 2023
The demise of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Group, in August marks a time of change for the Russian elite. Chechnya’s strongman Ramzan Kadyrov is one of the members of the elite most likely to take advantage of the situation to strengthen his own position. In contrast to Prigozhin’s unpredictability, Kadyrov represents a controllable alternative for Putin given his utter reliance on the Russian President, and thus will be able to provide loyalty and stability through his own private security apparatus. The utilization of this apparatus, however, presents risks for Kadyrov. Therefore, Kadyrov is likely to look to improve his internal political position within Russia in the coming months.
By Emil A. Souleimanov and Huseyn Aliyev
February 25, 2020, the CACI Analyst
In August 2019, Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a 41-year old Georgia-born ethnic-Chechen former insurgent and a supposed enemy of Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, was killed in Berlin. The assassination has raised renewed concerns about the involvement of Russian security services and Chechen loyalists in the systematic liquidation of political opponents and former insurgents outside Russia’s borders. While the involvement of Russian security services in assassinating “traitors” has become a widely-accepted fact following the 2018 Salisbury poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter, less is known about the persecution of dissidents or critics of Kadyrov’s regime outside Chechnya and Russia.
By Huseyn Aliyev
April 26, 2017, the CACI Analyst
A 300-strong battalion of Ingush military police, assembled from among Ingush Special Forces, was dispatched to Syria in February as announced by the head of the Ingush Republic Yunus-bek Yevkurov. According to the Russian Ministry of Defence, Ingush soldiers will replace Chechen military police sent to support pro-Assad forces in and around Aleppo in December 2016. However, in a recent statement, Chechen security officials confirmed that the Chechen units would most likely remain in Aleppo until August 2017. As ceasefire violations between pro-Assad forces and the Syrian opposition become more frequent, reinforcements from Ingushetia may indicate Russia’s intentions to increase its ground troops in Syria.
By Huseyn Aliyev
February 7, 2017, the CACI Analyst
On December 17, 2016, a shootout in central Grozny between members of the terrorist organization known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and local security forces claimed the lives of three militants and one police officer. On December 18, a counter-terrorist operation (CTO) launched in the aftermath resulted in the death of four more insurgents, whereas four remaining members of a militant cell were arrested. Three police officers were killed and one injured.
While the confrontation between militants and police in Grozny was only the fourth conflict-related incident in the republic during 2016, it demonstrates that ISIS still has the capacity to target Chechen security forces.
By Emil Souleimanov
July 23rd, 2016, The CACI Analyst
Recent months have seen increased attacks on journalists and human rights activists in Chechnya. Such attacks have long become characteristic of the Moscow-backed Chechen authorities’ attitude to any form of dissent, both within and outside the North Caucasus republic. While most human rights organizations and journalists were pushed out of Chechnya in the 2000s, the recent wave of violence has been particularly aggressive and threaten to remove the last resort for complaints on human rights violations as well as the only remaining sources of data on such violations in the republic.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.