Chechen Insurgents Likely To Continue Destabilizing Chechnya Over The Next Twelve Months; Highly Likely Ramzan Kadyrov Retains Kremlin's Support Following 2008 Russian Presidential Election

Executive Summary:
Although Russian president Vladimir Putin and pro-Kremlin Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov claim that conditions are improving within the republic of Chechnya, the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria resistance movement remains active in disrupting the stability within Chechnya and increasingly within the North Caucasian region. Therefore, it is likely that the insurgents will continue to destabilize Chechnya, as well as increase operations throughout the other Russian republics in the North Caucasus, over the next twelve months due to the ineffectiveness of the security forces, persistent socio-economic problems, and strengthening of the insurgency’s strategy and command structure under Dokka Umarov. Additionally, despite the upcoming 2008 Russian presidential election in March that will end Putin’s reign as president, it is highly likely that Kadyrov retains the Kremlin’s support due to Putin remaining in a position of power by becoming the leading candidate for the dominant political party, United Russia, upon stepping down from the presidency.

Severity and Effectiveness: Despite the geographic shift westward of the North Caucasus insurgency, Chechnya had an increase in attacks and remains significantly active. During the thirteen month time period, September 2006 through September 2007, Chechnya had 103 individual attacks, resulting in 262 casualties, which is approximately 1.2 casualties per attack. The primary targets were Russian security forces suffering 81 percent, or 214, of the total casualties, however, Chechnya accounted for 53 percent of the 401 total security force casualties across the whole North Caucasian region. While the most prolific type of attack used by the insurgents in Chechnya were shootings, representing 50 percent of the total attacks, and second was bombings with 31 percent. Although Chechnya averaged only 7.9 attacks per month, during September 2006 and September 2007 the highest number of attacks occurred, with 15 and 13 individual attacks respectively. In addition, the city of Grozny registered the highest frequency with 24 total attacks, while the Vedeno District had 13 and the Shalinsky District totaled 12.

  • Insurgency: Dokka Umarov, the current president of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria resistance movement, is currently working towards destabilizing the Russian republics outside of Chechnya, while at the same time maintaining an active and coherent military capacity to attack the pro-Kremlin security forces loyal to Russian president Vladimir Putin. Despite the deaths of prominent Chechen insurgent leaders and foreign Islamic jihadists, it is likely that the Chechen insurgents will expand their operations in Chechnya and the North Caucasus region over the next twelve months due to the decentralization of power within the growing Chechen Republic of Ichkeria network to regional leaders, the increased incorporation of Wahhabi Islam with the traditional Chechen practice of Sunni Islam, and the continued access to the foreign fighters' international resources.

  • Socio-Economic: The rebuilding of the economic infrastructure in Chechnya is a main objective of President Ramzan Kadyrov through the reconstruction of the capital city of Grozny and the transportation routes connecting Chechnya to other North Caucasian republics. Despite these successes by Kadyrov, it is likely that socio-economic problems continue to plague the Chechen society over the next twelve months due to Kadyrov’s failure to acquire autonomous control over Chechnya’s natural resources and the high unemployment rates within the republic.

Russian Capabilities and Effectiveness: 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.

Kadyrov’s Role and Survivability: Despite the upcoming 2008 Russian presidential election in March that will end Vladimir Putin’s reign as president, it is highly likely that Ramzan Kadyrov retains the Kremlin’s support due to Putin remaining in a position of power by becoming the leading candidate for the dominant political party, United Russia. Kadyrov accepted the presidency for the Russian Republic of Chechnya on 5 May 2007, with full support from the Kremlin and Putin. Prior to receiving the presidential nomination, however, Kadyrov aligned his political goals with those of the Kremlin by dismissing a power-sharing treaty between Grozny and Moscow that undermined the concept of Russian statehood.

Additional Comments:


Source Reliability: 7
Analytic Confidence: 8

Christopher Anderson

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