By Emil A. Souleimanov and Huseyn Aliyev
October 23, 2018, the CACI Analyst
On August 20, a series of attacks by teenagers against policemen took place in Chechnya’s cities of Grozny and Shali. The country’s strongman Ramzan Kadyrov quickly blamed “external actors” seeking to pitch local security enforcement, siloviki, against teenagers, while decrying the inability of the attackers’ parents to oversee their sons. Yet realities on the ground appears to be different. In fact, large part of the Chechen population hold enormous grievances caused by the impunity of local siloviki, particularly kadyrovtsy, and the republican authorities in general. The threat of punishment against the relatives of insurgents and their (prospective) supporters has since the early 2000s stemmed the local insurgency. Yet from time to time, grievances condensed in the Chechen population explode in spontaneous acts of nearly-suicidal violence against republican law enforcement.
By Huseyn Aliyev
May 23, 2018, the CACI Analyst
Since December 2017, following the military defeat of the terrorist organization known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), several hundred Russian citizens, mostly from the North Caucasian republics of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, have been brought back to Russia from Syria and Iraq. The returnees are families of ISIS fighters from the North Caucasus. So far, authorities have detained and prosecuted many returnees upon their return to the North Caucasus. The Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has masterminded the return of North Caucasus nationals from the Middle East, using the opportunity to boost his image as a regional leader.
By Huseyn Aliyev
February 6, 2018, the CACI Analyst
On December 20, 2017, the Head of Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov was placed on the list of individuals sanctioned under the Magnitsky Act. The sanctions were introduced amid growing repression of dissent and the rapid replacement of top government officials with members of Kadyrov’s clan and family. Kadyrov’s own recent statement about his desire to retire suggests that the Chechen leader seeks to strengthen the influence of his family and clan in the republic’s government, enabling him to take a less formal (albeit similarly powerful) role should such a necessity arise in the future. The revival of the home-grown insurgency this year poses a new threat to the stability of Kadyrov’s regime, which will likely be met with increased repression.
By Huseyn Aliyev
December 11, 2017, the CACI Analyst
The recent assassination of anti-Moscow Chechen activist Amina Okueva in Kyiv is yet another link in the chain of targeted killings of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov’s opponents across the former Soviet Union and beyond. A former member of “Djokhar Dudayev” battalion, which fought against pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine, Okueva has been a target of pro-Kadyrov Chechens since her engagement in armed conflict in Ukraine. The event demonstrates Kadyrov’s capacity to persistently hunt down his enemies well outside the borders of Russian Federation. The inability and unwillingness of Ukrainian security services to protect Chechen volunteers, who participated in the campaign against Russian aggression in Donbas, leaves them vulnerable to persecution by Kadyrov’s associates.
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.
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.