Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 4 Issue: 42

An article by Andrei Pilipchuk in the November 12 issue of Krasnaya zvezda (“Red Star”), the Russian military’s newspaper, suggests that relations between the Kadyrov administration and Russia’s security agencies remain tense. In striking contradiction to both Kadyrov’s and Putin’s official lines about “normalization” in Chechnya, Pilipchuk wrote that “in Khankala [the main Russian military base in Chechnya] a conference has taken place in which the leaders of the law enforcement structures summed up the results of their activities in the northern Caucasus over the last ten months. From their analysis of the situation, the participants in the conference reached a disturbing conclusion: By comparison with the previous year, the number of terrorist acts in Chechnya has actually increased.”

Reporting another piece of news sure to be unwelcome to Russia’s “siloviki,” the Krasnaya zvezda article noted that Kadyrov has appointed yet another former rebel guerrilla to a position of trust. Idris Gailov, who according to Pilipchuk was a field commander in the first Chechen war, is now head of the local administration for the Kurchaloi district in eastern Chechnya.

Pilipchuk’s article clearly implies that Russia’s military leaders expect Kadyrov to continue consolidating his control over the Chechen bureaucracy. Describing the first organizational meeting of the Chechen strongman’s newly (but not radically) restructured cabinet, Pilipchuk wrote that Kadyrov “let the bureaucrats understand that they do not have guaranteed tenure in their new appointments. He said that he had appointed some of the ministers only in hopes that the situation in the agencies under their control would be corrected in the very near future. He also laid down a three-month trial period for the new government. Military analysts believe that in the spring, when Kadyrov’s power has been definitively strengthened, he will try to free himself from officials who are inconvenient to him but who for the time being have enjoyed the support of various federal agencies.”