Saturday, February 2, 2019

Arrest of Arashukovs May Presage the End of Kadyrov’s Rule, Eidman Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 1 – The arrest of Senator Rauf Arashukov and his father this week, even though some believe Ramzan Kadyrov was behind them given his longstanding conflicts with the Arashukov clan, may in fact reflect a shift in the balance of power between Moscow and Chechnya and presage the ouster of the Chechen leader himself, Igor Eidman says.

            Even though Vladimir Pastukhov has warned the politics of the North Caucasus are more Byzantine and opaque than those of the Kremlin (, numerous Russian commentators are offering a variety of views as to what these legal moves in the Russian capital mean.

            Eidman, a sociologist who offers frequent commentaries on Russian politics, provides one of the most intriguing scenarios, one that suggests that Kadyrov, who has made many enemies in Moscow and even apparently infuriated Putin, may finally be facing his end (

 That some members of the Russian Federation are thieves and even murderers is no surprise to anyone in Russia; and that someone with a sixth-grade education is part of the Russian elite doesn’t either, the commentator says.  Consequently, instead of talking about that, Russians are asking why did this happen?

It is clear, Eidman says, that “the arrest of the clan of the Arashukovs was not accidental or a PR action. [Instead,] this was the result of the sharpening conflict of federal and regional (above all North Caucasian) criminal groups.”

“A war is going on for control over financial flows,” he says, that is, a battle for the chance to seize as much of Russia’s natural resources and budgetary money as possible without being punished. In this clash, “the federals (Putin’s chekists and their partners) are clearly winning. In their hands, everything capable of generating a profit is being concentrated.”

In many parts of Russia, Putin appointees have divided up corrupt business “in their favor, and local thieves in law in the role of governors and mayors have been arrested or otherwise removed.” That pattern is now spreading to the North Caucasus, the last region where this has begun, as can be seen in the case of Daghestan.

Muscovites in the Gazprom empire apparently decided that the Arashukovs were in the way and had to be removed. “There is ever less money in the country and the Muscovites don’t have enough for themselves,” Eidman continues.  But with that clan being shoved out of the way, there “remains “only one powerful regional clan – Kadyrov’s group.”

In one sense, Kadyrov may have been pleased by the moves against the Arashukovs because that leaves him without a strong local competitor, but the Chechen leader now finds himself alone against Moscow, and his “activities and appetites have offended Moscow’s siloviki for a long time.”

Even “Putin himself,” Eidman suggests, “can’t but be angry at the semi-independent existence of the Kadyrov satrapy which collects tribute form the imperial treasury.” And if Putin turns on Kadyrov, Kadyrov is lost. He has survived only because Putin “has viewed him as the guarantor of stability in Chechnya. But now the situation has changed.”

In fact, the commentator suggests, it is the classic case of “the Moor has done his work; the Moor can go.”

According to Eidman, “Kadyrov’s place now can be occupied by any Chechen silovik, who has been recruited by the FSB. The private Kadyrov army will be loyal to anyone who pays it well. These people have become accustomed to money and the good life. They will not go into the mountains.”

And “with a new and less ambitious Chechen representative, the center will find it mch easer to deal” – and what is perhaps even more important, such a Chechen leader will cost the center far less than “the great and horrible Ramzan.”

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