“I think I deserve an unlimited and long vacation… I think my time has come before they kick me out,” Chechen ruler Ramzan Kadyrov said in a pre-recorded video he released over the weekend (we wrote here).
However, few believe that the 45-year-old politician accused of torturing and kidnapping his opponents would really want to quit.
He announced his willingness to leave the post five years ago, when in a television interview, when asked if he was ready to leave, he answered as follows: “You can say it’s my dream.” He also added that he knows of several people who would be ” hundred percent able” to serve the country at the highest level.
At the time, he said about Putin that he was his idol: “I am ready to die for him and fulfill any order.”
On the contrary, Russian experts contacted by the msk1.ru server talk about the fact that Kadyrov can rather get stronger in politics. By promotion, we mean a transfer to a position at the federal level – until now, Kadyrov has only focused on “his” Chechnya. Recently, however, he has also been involved in the war in Ukraine, from which he published several videos. But it is not clear from them where it was filmed and whether Kadyrov really fought against the Ukrainians, as he claims. He was nevertheless active in the recruitment of Chechen fighters who went to Ukraine to fight on the side of Russia.
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Zarema Jangulbayeva, the mother of a human rights lawyer, was taken from her apartment on January 20 by masked men claiming to be Chechen police officers. They dragged her from a Russian city 1,800 km away from the border with Chechnya.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday that Kadyrov remains in charge of Chechnya. So the video posted on the Telegram social network does not appear to be an official resignation.
Jaromír Štětina, a former MEP and expert on Chechnya, is also skeptical of the possible promotion of Kadyrov, who also met him personally: “He didn’t make a big impression on me,” he said in an interview with Seznam Zprávy. “I think the call for rest, as he calls it, is related to the fact that he has fallen out of favor in the Kremlin,” he believes. “Maybe they’re scared for their lives,” he offers another motivation for making the video.
However, the Russians see it differently. According to analyst Yevgeniy Minchenko, Kadyrov can become a special representative of the Kremlin for relations with the Muslim world.
The Chechen leader himself regularly interacts with politicians from Muslim countries, and this July he went on a pilgrimage to Mecca. At the airport in Jeddah, he was welcomed by the director general of the Royal Protocol Office, he had previously met with, for example, the crown prince and de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, Muhammad bin Salman. “Negotiations about it (Kadyrov’s appointment) have been going on for about a year,” Minchenko mentions.
At the time of Western sanctions, good relations with Muslim countries are more important than ever for Putin’s Russia. And it’s not just about Arab or African countries – an official delegation of the Afghan Islamist movement, the Taliban, also appeared in Moscow some time ago.
Dmitry Zhuravlev, director of the Institute for Regional Problems, then believes that Kadyrov’s competence and personal devotion to Putin can take him to the position of governor of the new territories – in other words, territories occupied by Russia in Ukraine. According to Žuravlev, it would be an “interesting and logical option”.
Russian politician Maxim Shevchenko sees Kadyrov’s future in the leadership of the National Guard, where he already holds the rank of lieutenant general. “With his position, powers, experience and relationship with Vladimir Putin, he can only go to a federal position,” he thinks.
Shevchenko points out that the socio-political atmosphere that Kadyrov’s government has established in Chechnya is reminiscent of the conditions in the United Arab Emirates. He therefore does not expect any upheavals to come after Kadyrov’s eventual departure.
“Air defense systems are in demand on Russia’s southern border more than ever,” said Chechen leader and staunch ally of Vladimir Putin Ramzan Kadyrov, adding that he would take “proactive tactical measures.”
Kadyrov thus reacted to the events in his native Chechnya, where, according to several independent sources, resistance to the Russian occupation is being prepared. Russia is getting volunteers in Chechnya for the war in Ukraine by blackmail, threats, threats of torture or kidnapping loved ones, the investigative website The Insider has found.
Jaromír Štětina, who covered the Chechen war as a journalist, does not consider the aforementioned variants to be likely. “Since he no longer has the support of Vladimir Putin, Kadyrov is a write-off. In the world, it is difficult to defend the support of young Kadyrov, he has already fulfilled his role as a traitor,” he alludes to Kadyrov’s leaning towards Russia.
The war in Ukraine is said to have rather harmed him – Szczecin reminds that, in addition to the Kadyrovs, other Chechens who are on the side of the Ukrainians are also fighting in it. Kadyrov’s men themselves have also not achieved any dazzling results – Ukrainians mockingly refer to them as the Tiktok army, referring to the videos they post on the Tiktok network.
Ramzan Kadyrov is the second son of the first president of Chechnya, Akhmat Kadyrov. During the first Chechen war, he took part in the fighting against the federal troops. During the Second Chechen War, however, he switched to the side of Russia. When his father was president, Kadyrov led the secret service, in 2005 he became the Chechen prime minister, and two years later the head of state.