By Emil A. Souleimanov & Huseyn Aliyev
October 24, 2017, the CACI Analyst
In late August, Chechnya’s ruler Ramzan Kadyrov issued several statements on his Instagram profile appealing to fellow Muslims to support publicly the case of persecuted Myanmar (Burmese) Muslims, Rohingya, while prompting Russian authorities to take an international stand on their behalf. Shortly thereafter, unapproved mass demonstrations, inspired or organized by Kadyrov, took place in downtown Moscow and Grozny, during which siloviki treated protesters unexpectedly gently. Kadyrov went so far as to make a controversial statement challenging Russia’s international stance on the issue. Kadyrov soon softened his tone, yet his appeals were unprecedented – even by the standards of Chechnya’s strongman. They outraged many in Russia, pointing to Kadyrov’s impunity not only for actions on the domestic and federal scenes, but increasingly also for meddling in Russia’s international affairs.
By Emil Souleimanov
March 24, 2017, the CACI Analyst
At the turn of 2016 and 2017, events took place in parts of Chechnya that again challenged the triumphant statements of local pro-Moscow and federal authorities that the jihadist-inspired insurgency in this North Caucasian republic was eradicated. Aside from illustrating the latent character of armed conflict in the region in general and in Chechnya in particular, the recent upsurge of violence in Chechnya contains particularities that may have far-reaching consequences. Sporadic attacks against the Kadyrov regime will likely recur in the years to come and intensify should the regime’s grip on power weaken.
By Dmitry Shlapentokh
March 3, 2017, the CACI Analyst
Russia’s economic condition remains precarious, mostly due to low oil prices, whereas Western sanctions have created additional problems. There are so far few signs of public discontent and Putin’s approval ratings remain high. Yet the Russian leadership apparently does not exclude the possibility of mass protests similar to those erupting in early 2012, which could spread and create a problem for the regime. In response to this possible scenario, Putin announced the creation of a National Guard in April 2016, a process that should be completed in 2017. The National Guard incorporated Chechen forces loyal to Ramzan Kadyrov, which could be deployed by the regime as a last resort.
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 Aslan Souleimanov
October 6th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
The North Caucasus insurgency has weakened dramatically in recent years. While Chechnya-based jihadist groups now number a few dozen fighters, jamaats operating in Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay have been nearly wrecked. In Ingushetia, a few insurgent groups remain numbering a couple of dozen members. In Dagestan, the epicenter of the regional insurgents, several jamaats have survived and number around a hundred active members. Indicative of the unprecedented weakening of the North Caucasus insurgency is the jihadists’ inability to elect an amir of the Caucasus Emirate: since the liquidation of the last amir Magomed Suleimanov in mid-August 2015, the jihadist resistance has been beheaded as it lacks a formal leadership. Yet has the regional insurgency indeed been defeated?
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.