chapter  11
16 Pages

Kadyrov’s strategy against extremism in Chechnya

ByJOHN RUSSELL

On 16 April 2009, an offi cial announcement proclaimed the end of Russia’s counter-terrorist operation in Chechnya, thus formally ending the second RussoChechen war – a 10-year campaign against so-called Islamic international terrorists in the North Caucasian republic. In a mood of euphoria reminiscent of then US president George W. Bush’s notorious ‘mission accomplished’ speech about Iraq in 2003, Chechnya’s president Ramzan Kadyrov declared that, henceforth, 16 April would be marked as a day of national celebration. 1 Within days, however, the Itar-Tass news agency was reporting that the local Russian military authorities had reintroduced a state of emergency in several districts of Chechnya to counter an upsurge in rebel activity. 2 Although few Russian, let alone Western, commentators shared Kadyrov’s expressed belief that the struggle was over, there was widespread, albeit begrudging, recognition that the young president’s strategy against Islamic extremists had had remarkable successes. This chapter examines the evolution and execution of this strategy as well as its ramifi cations so far and those that it might be predicted to engender in the near future.