KADYROV’S PRIVATE ARMY
An officer of the FSB serving in Chechnya has confirmed the claims of various independent observers regarding the Kadyrov administration’s use of pardons and amnesties to build up a force of “bodyguards” that is subordinate only to Kadyrov himself. Major Oleg Sobolev emphasized that he was voicing only his personal views, not speaking officially on behalf of the FSB.
Vadim Rechkalov of Izvestia reported in that newspaper’s May 20 issue that Sobolev, who serves in the Gudermes section of the FSB, told him that “in Chechnya there is a security service for the head of the administration–the so-called ‘Kadyrovtsy.’ The majority of them are former rebel guerrillas, who came over to our side under Kadyrov’s personal guarantee. They trust him, he himself fought against the federals and recruited them into jihad. Kadyrov now has 4,000 armed men; formally they are all enrolled either in the militia or in infantry units, but in fact they are the personal guard of Kadyrov–an armed unit for which there is no provision in federal law. It is impossible to predict how this unit may behave in the future.”