Police Said Still To Be Under Federal Control

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 5 Issue: 2

The Russian military will not give up without a fight to counter Akhmad Kadyrov’s push to place all police forces within Chechnya under the control of his own administration. In an interview published on January 9, the ultra-nationalist Moscow journal Zavtra (“Tomorrow”) asked General Valery Baranov, commander of federal forces in Chechnya, to comment on the existence of the “presidential guard” under Kadyrov’s personal command. Baranov replied that “when people talk about the ‘presidential guard,’ what they have in mind is the security service of President Kadyrov, who now has many enemies. But as for the Chechen police, don’t forget that the interior ministry of any Russian province is a federal agency. Chechnya is no exception. As commander of the united group of [federal] forces I have a deputy who is responsible for the police. The interior ministry of Chechnya is subordinate to him and operationally tied to our forces. I have the right to direct, and I in fact direct, the activities of the Chechen police through my deputy. The Chechen police force is part of the federal forces.”

Baranov went on to warn that “since 1991 a new generation has appeared [in Chechnya]…and for the Chechen interior ministry to function normally it is necessary to train its personnel….The servicemen of the interior ministry must acquire theoretical and practical knowledge, their current experience is clearly not sufficient….We have created a center in Chechnya for the training of the ministry’s junior commanders; active duty officers in the Chechen police are sent to advanced training institutions across Russia. The Chechens were living outside the reach of Russian law for so many years that many years of painstaking, intensive labor will be necessary to get the republic’s interior ministry to function normally again.”