Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 28

Kavkazky Uzel reported on July 13 that there is increasing tension between the federal Interior Ministry and Chechen Interior Ministry special units. “Effectively, neither the regional operational headquarters for the counterterrorist operation in the North Caucasus, nor the Russian Interior Ministry is in command of the special purpose regiments of the Interior Ministry of the Chechen Republic, which have been created on the basis of the defunct security service of the late Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov,” the website wrote. It quoted a high-ranking federal Interior Ministry officer as saying that “former Wahhabis who presumably repented and who first joined Akhmad Kadyrov’s security guard and then moved to the special regiment of the Chechen Republic Interior Ministry discredit the federal authorities by their actions.” He accused members of this unit of involvement in “many illegal abductions” and even extra-judicial killings, but added that while such units should be disbanded, this could cause “an explosion in the republic.” At the same time, he said the issue has to be resolved before the end of this year or ordinary Chechen residents will “revolt.”

An official with the headquarters for Russia’s military operation in the North Caucasus echoed these concerns, telling Kavkazky Uzel that Chechen Interior Ministry special regiments seem not to “obey anyone but Ramzan Kadyrov, while he, in turn, does not obey us. Five thousand gunmen, who have just shaved off their beards, are moving freely in the republic and checking the documents of ordinary people, which is followed by a shot to the head.” Kavazky Uzel noted that the security officers they interviewed about this problem all declined to identify themselves.