Russia’s invasion of Ukraine lasted two days. The President of the Chechen Republic of Russia, Ramzan Kadyrov, has announced that Chenen fighters are fighting on behalf of Russian troops in the Ukraine war. In a post on social media, he claimed that Chenen fighters in Ukraine are continuing to fight as well as provide humanitarian assistance. But observers say otherwise.
Al Jazeera reports that this is not the first time Chechen forces have fought for Russia. Moscow sided with them in Georgia in 2006, Ukraine in 2014-15 and Syria. Observers say Chechen forces are not playing a significant role in the ongoing war in Ukraine. On the contrary, the force is being used to propagate the political goals of Ramzan Kadyrov and the Kremlin.
Who is this Ramzan Kadyrov?
Ramzan Kadyrov is former Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov son. khmad was assassinated in 2004. Ramadan became president three years later. Akhmad and Ramadan both fought against Russia in the first Chechen war (1994–1996). However, the father and son supported Russia in the Second Chechen War (1999–2000). Moscow wins the war. Chechnya became a part of Russia.Since coming to energy in 2008, Ramzan Kadyrov has been accused of cracking down on political fighters and violating human rights.Many journalists and human rights activists critical of him have been killed. Due to this, the United States imposed sanctions against Ramadan in 2016. Russian journalist and political adviser Konstantin von Egert thinks Ramzan Kadyrov has a political alliance with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He says Ramadan has been loyal to Putin since he came to power. The Chechen Republic, on the other hand, has benefited greatly from Moscow.
Chechen fighters in Ukraine
Experts see Chechen fighters taking part in the Ukraine war as part of Ramadan’s loyalty to the Kremlin. In a video message on February 26, Ramadan said Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine was correct. In any case, the Republic of Chechnya will abide by his instructions. According to a recent report in the Russian media RT, Chechnya has about 12,000 fighters ready to take to the battlefield in Ukraine. It is unknown right now what he’s going to do after leaving the post. Herald Chambers, a North Caucasus-based think tank, says Chechen fighters are in the Russian fleet heading for the Ukrainian capital, Kiev. They have even been seen in the southern port city of Mariupol. However, some pro-Russian rebel leaders and observers have claimed that Chechen forces are not taking part in the war in Ukraine. On March 15, Igor Girkin, a former commander of the pro-Russian rebel forces in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, claimed on social media that Chechen fighters had not taken part in the fighting in Mariupol. Alexander Khodakovsky, commander of the pro-Russian rebel forces, said the same thing in an interview the next day. Ruslan Leviev, founder of Conflict Intelligence, a research institute working on the activities of the Russian military, said there was no evidence that Chechen fighters had taken part in the war. They are behind the front forces. And made beautiful videos
‘Public relations work in progress’
Gregory Shavedov, editor-in-chief of the Caucasus-based media outlet Kavakazki Ujel, told Al Jazeera about the presence of Chechen forces in Ukraine. Chechen fighters in Ukraine are doing it. He says there has been a decline in violence in the North Caucasus in recent years. In addition, the huge amount of subsidies Chechnya receives from Moscow’s central budget has begun to lose its legitimacy. In such a situation, Ramzan Kadyrov, sent by Chechen fighters to Ukraine, has served as an opportunity to reassert his needs. Russia, meanwhile, is facing sanctions over its attack on Ukraine. The country’s economy is in financial crisis. This could reduce Moscow’s ability to fund Russia’s regional governments. Chechnya may also fall under this category. In such a situation, experts believe that the strategy of showing loyalty to Ramadan by sending troops to Ukraine is working. On 16 March a meeting was held in different parts of Russia on financial assistance. Ramadan was also present there along with others. Putin thanked him at the meeting. Shavedov said Putin’s attitude towards Ramadan suggests that conducting public relations in Ukraine is not just a Chechen initiative, there are high-level instructions to do so. Experts say the Kremlin is not trying to win the information war in Russia and abroad through the public relations of the Chechen forces, but will also choose some political tactics very soon. According to Shavedov, the strugglefare in Ukraine may want to boom repressive social manipulate in Russia. After the war in Ukraine, Chechenism (Russia’s policy towards the Chechens) will only grow in Russian society,” he said. It will not only be used for repression, it will also be used for legitimacy. We can see this in the meantime. But the question is, how long will it last, that remains to be seen. ‘