By Valeriy Dzutsev (05/27/2015 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Chechnya’s ruler Ramzan Kadyrov has unexpectedly clashed with Moscow. The Russian government appears increasingly uneasy with Kadyrov’s unquestionable authority in Chechnya. At the same time, while Kadyrov will not easily yield to pressure from Moscow easily, he is evidently the weaker side in this battle. Only if Russia experiences a breakdown of power and its own strongman Vladimir Putin steps down, the Chechen leader will outlive his enemies in Moscow. Acutely aware of Russia’s projected economic downturn and its dampening effect on state capacity, Russian elites may force a regime change in Chechnya to avoid the risk of dealing with a strong regional leader at a time of decline in Moscow’s power.
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.