Staunton, Nov 14 – There are five compelling reasons why Chechnya and its leader Ramzan Kadyrov have “a unique authority” that gives them incomparably more freedom of action than any other region or republic in the Russian Federation, according to Ruslan Gorevoy, a commentator for Novaya Versiya.
The most frequently noted of these, he says, is the deal Moscow made with Grozny at the end of the second post-Soviet Chechen war: The Russian side would provide massive funding for the North Caucasian republic as long as its leaders ensured that there would not be any future military challenge to Russia from that quarter (versia.ru/kak-rukovodstvo-chechni-zarabotalo-svoj-unikalnyj-avtoritet).
But the four other reasons, Gorevoy argues, are equally or even more important. First, “Chechnya is a closed national world” in which there are very few Russians and to which very few of the Russians who fled earlier have any interest in returning. That deprives Moscow of leverage it has elsewhere.
Second, Chechnya is prepared to fight for Russia in Ukraine and to train Russians as well as Chechens to do so. The units Grozny has been preparing for the latest war are officered mostly by Chechens, but the soldiers in them are primarily ethnic Russians from other parts of the Russian Federation.
Third, Ramzan Kadyrov plays a critical foreign policy role for Moscow. According to Gorevoy, he “has done more to build bridges between Russia and the Arab world than the entire Russian foreign ministry taken together.” The Kremlin is not disposed to lose that skill set and thus won’t challenge Kadyrov on many other issues
And fourth, while Chechnya continues to get heavy subsidies from Moscow, Grozny has been increasingly able to attract investments from that Arab world – and those investments are so large that they too give Kadyrov and his republic the kind of independence that few other regions or republics of the country can aspire to.