Law enforcement organizations in Chechnya, which were created on the basis of nationality, consist of a total of 30,000 people. These people follow the command of Ramzan Kadyrov, the Head of the Chechen Republic. This was stated in a report entitled “National Security Threats”.
Ilya Yashin, a friend of murdered Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, wrote the report in preparation for the anniversary of Nemtsov’s death. The New Times published a chapter from this report on the 22nd of February. This chapter, entitled “Private army”, investigates the situation within the Chechen law enforcement organizations.
According to Yashin, the regional army established in Chechnya is perhaps the most combat-ready military group in Russia. The number of armed "Kadyrov's men" is close to 30,000 people. Most of them are formal employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and serve in the Internal Military Forces. “However, in reality, these Chechen armed forces do not act on the command of the federal government, they are loyal only the Head of Chechnya,” Yashin said. “It is only in Chechnya that the Kremlin has allowed the establishment of local military units, de facto controlled only by the head of the republic."
Battalions in Chechnya are the only forces among the Russian military units to be staffed on the basis of nationality, which is contrary to Russian law. “The core people of the law enforcement organizations of Chechnya are former separatists, who have been pardoned by Kadyrov. He also gave them the opportunity to once again take up arms, but under his control. This way, fighters who previously fought against the Russian army, are crediting Kadyrov not just with their job and salary, but also with freedom and life," Yashin's report said.
According to Yashin, entire squads of Chechen militants fought against the Ukrainian military during the armed conflict in the Donbas region. Documentary evidence appeared in November of 2014 showing the creation of a separate Chechen battalion named Death, in the Donbas region. This battalion consisted of veterans of Kadyrov's law enforcement. These soldiers took part in the battles for the Donetsk Airport and Ilovaysk.
Yashin’s report also discussed how in recent years, Kadyrov's militants have intensified their activity in Moscow. “In Chechnya, their main task is to protect the regime of their boss. However, they are starting to see the rest of Russia as potential prey,” he said. In addition to the protection of businessmen and politicians who are friendly with Kadyrov, the so-called “Chechen department” of the Federal Security Service (FSB) in Moscow also provides support to criminal “bosses”. In some Russian regions, Chechen bandits have formed criminal groups. Some of the “bosses” of these groups are under the public protection of Kadyrov.
Yashin’s report was presented in Moscow on the 23rd of February. Yashin said that he chose this day out of solidarity with the people of Chechnya, as it marked the 72 year anniversary of the forced deportation of the Chechen and Ingush peoples at the hands of the Soviet regime.