By Paul Goble
Reports last month that Ramzan Kadyrov was organizing a military force based on the Batal-Haji wird of a Sufi order for use in Ukraine were disturbing enough given that the Chechen leader was doing so on under the terms of Putin’s mobilization order (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2022/11/russian-officials-accuse-influential.html).
But now an Ingush human rights activist suggests something even more disturbing: He says that this new force may never go to Ukraine at all and instead will be used by Kadyrov both against his enemies within the Chechen nation and possibly against Ingushetia and Daghestan against which he has made territorial claims (fortanga.org/2022/12/podgotovka-k-vojne-ili-prikrytie-chto-izvestno-o-sozdanii-v-chechne-batalona-iz-virda-batal-hadzhi/).
There is no confirmation of this report, but it is entirely consistent with Kadyrov’s disregard for the law and his desire to have independent bases of power. It is, however, a worrying sign of just how much power he has arrogated to himself and how unwilling or unable Putin is to do anything about it.
The threat that such a force would pose to Ingushetia is especially great, at least potentially, because a large share of the members of the Batal-Haji wird are Ingush – and many of these are senior officials in Magas. If Kadyrov were to use this force against Ingushetia, he might well expect support within Ingushetia for such a move.
Given that Kadyrov already took ten percent of Ingushetia through a backroom deal in 2018, an act that sparked massive protests there, this report that Kadyrov may be planning to exercise a military option against the republic in the future is certain to raise the political temperature in the republic.