Russian Security Force Ineffectiveness Likely To Continue Over The Next 12 Months

Executive Summary:
The culmination of major combat operations of the second Chechen war left the fighting between Russian security forces and the insurgents to degenerate into smaller, localized battles, instigated either by planned raids by the security forces or ambushes by the insurgents. Despite completion of major combat operations, it is likely that the security forces continue to ineffectively combat the insurgency in Chechnya due to the lack of a clear strategy by Russian president Vladimir Putin for fighting the insurgents, failing to accurately assess the current state of the Russian security forces accomplishments in the country, and the inability to assimilate the known insurgent strategies set forth by Dokka Umarov's network into counterinsurgency tactics.

On 2 August 2006, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree requiring that the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Interior begin planning a staged withdrawal of Russian forces under their command to start in 2007 and conclude at the end of 2008. At this time, Russian security forces numbered 25,000 troops, with 3,000 border guards, and in March 2007, the Interior Ministry announced that it reorganized a total of 6,000 troops. However, this is part of a strategy, consistent during Russia’s operations in Chechnya, of transferring troops from the Ministry of Defense to the Ministry of Interior, as an attempt to show a decrease in overall Russian manpower in Chechnya. While Putin planned the withdrawal of troops from Chechnya, pro-Kremlin Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov ensured that the conscripted Chechens serving in the Russian security forces will remain in Chechnya, instead of shipping out to other areas of Russia, to continue fighting the insurgents for the next two years. This coincides with the 6,000 reorganize
Nikolai Rogozhkin
d troops in March 2007 because the new Chechen conscripted troops entered the 42nd mechanized infantry division and the 46th brigade of the Interior Ministry.

An announcement of the “effectiveness” of the combined Russian and Chechen security forces came on 2 October 2007, when Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov, the speaker of the People’s Assembly of the Chechen Parliament, proclaimed that the “counter-terrorist operation” came to an end in Chechnya, asserting that there were only 30 to 70 active “militants” left in the republic. Abdurakhmanov stated that, "Some generals still want to go on with counter-terrorism, but this is not in our interest," which gives credence to the need for the continuation fo security force intervention in Chechnya to combat the insurgency. Though, on 27 March 2007, General Nikolai Rogozhkin, the commander in chief of Russia’s Interior Ministry Forces stated that 70 to 90 armed groups were active inside Chechnya, and that these groups consisted of approximately 500 to 800 men combined. In addition, on 3 October 2007, Yakov Nedobitko, commander of the Joint Military Group in Chechnya, stated that, "the mission procedures and scope of the group will not fundamentally change" this fall or winter and that no real withdrawal of Russian forces has yet to begin as 2007 comes to an end. However, claiming the completion of counter-terrorist operations follows the Russian tradition in Chechnya of publicly addressing successes and deliberately hiding continued insurgent activities within the country.

The current insurgent strategy, however, issued by Dokka Umarov, the leader of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, is to energize resistance forces throughout the entire North Caucasus region . By appointing Akhmed Yevloev of Ingushetia as the military commander of the entire region for the insurgent forces, a regional chain of command now exists between Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan, North Ossetia, and Kabardino-Balkaria, which allows Umarov to focus his efforts in Chechnya. Through this decentralization of power, Umarov is focusing on setting up bases and stronghold positions in the mountainous regions of southern Chechnya, where the training of new recruits and planning of strategies can take place. With this known strategy stated by Umarov, the security forces currently conduct planned raids on suspected “rebel” bases, resulting in minimal success and often systematic abuses, including mass arrests, torture, executions, and rape of Chechen civilians.

The implementation of these planned raids in September 2007 alone caused Russian security forces to suffer twenty-one casualties in thirteen attacks i
Graph of Insurgent Attacks in Chechnya Between September 2006 Through September 2007
n Chechnya inflicted by the insurgents. Additionally, since September 2006, while there was a decrease in insurgent activity during the winter months, the number of attacks remained relatively the same with only two less attacks on Russian forces. On 5 October 2007, insurgents killed fifteen men from the Oil Regiment, which reports directly to Kadyrov, in the southern Shatoi district. While as late as 8 October 2007, a large scale insurgent attack took place when an Interior Ministry troop convoy came under fire in the southern mountain district of Vedeno, killing four and wounding ten servicemen.

Additional Comments:
The video below is an interview with current insurgent leader Dokka Umarov, which provides evidence of the Russian security forces planned raids and the systematic abuses that the Russians undertake. Despite the success of the particular raid, with the assassination of former ChRI president Aslan Maskhadov, in this video, Kadyrov exaggerates by saying that over 150 insurgents were hiding out at the location prior to the raid.

Source Reliability: 7
Analytic Confidence: 7

Christopher Anderson

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