Chechnya’s Role in Russia’s Military Strategy and Foreign Policy

The Russian Special Forces University in Gudermes, Chechnya (Credits: Google Maps)

Kavkaz Files ISSN 2975-0474 Volume 22 Issue 2
Author: Giuliano Bifolchi

Dmitry Medvedev’s recent visit to Grozny and meeting with Ramzan Kadyrov and local military officials confirmed the role that Chechnya is plying in supporting Russia in the Ukraine conflict and the North Caucasian republic’s increasing role in regional and state’s dynamics and foreign policy.

Chechnya’s growing role in Russia’s domestic and foreign policy and in the Kremlin’s military strategy finds connection with the presence of North Caucasian volunteer fighters in Ukraine and their aim to destabilise the Russian Federation and promote the fragmentation of the country in favour of ethnonationalism and local independence.

This report, which relies on Public Available Information (PAI), initially outlines Chechnya’s growing significance in Russian military and foreign policy. It subsequently assesses prospective scenarios and potential risks in the North Caucasus region, considering the escalating influence of Grozny and the involvement of North Caucasian ethnonationalist movements and foreign battalions associated with Ukraine.

Background Information

On February 19th, 2024, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedev, conducted a meeting in Gudermes with key commanders of security forces from the Chechen Republic and members of the Northern Caucasus Military District. This working trip aimed at assessing the developments in the region over the past five years.

During his visit, Medvedev engaged with the Russian Special Forces University in Gudermes, interacting with volunteers and conducting meetings with military unit commanders and regional heads in the North Caucasus Federal District.

The Chairman of the Chechen Republic’s Parliament, Magomed Daudov, presented a comprehensive report highlighting the significant contribution of the Chechen Republic to Russia’s military strength. Daudov mentioned the active participation of approximately 38 thousand fighters, including over 16 thousand volunteers, in Russian so-called “Special Military Operation” in Ukraine. Notably, the region formed 4 regiments and 5 battalions from the Ministry of Defence and the National Guard, showcasing commitment to bolstering national security.

Dmitry Medvedev praised the Chechen Republic for their proactive efforts in training volunteers and recruiting contract soldiers. He acknowledged the Russian University of Special Forces, named after President V.V. Putin, for training over 16 thousand volunteers.

 The plenipotentiary representative of the President in the North Caucasus Federal District, Yury Chaika, also attended the meeting. Chechen Republic Head, Ramzan Kadyrov, expressed gratitude for the visit, highlighting the significance of such interactions in fostering unity and merging the strength and power of the nation.

Read more | Ukraine conflict, kadyrovtsy and Chechnya

Why Does It Matters?

Since the onset of the Ukraine conflict, the Russian military landscape has witnessed the emergence of two distinct forces within its ranks: the Chechen kadyrovtsy and soldiers affiliated with Private Military Companies (PMCs), notably those associated with Wagner. This dynamic has garnered increased support and interest among the Russian population.

However, recent events, including Prigozhin’s death after Wagner’s mutiny in June 2023, have cast shadows on the reputation of PMCs. In contrast, Chechnya, under the leadership of Ramzan Kadyrov, has experienced a steady rise in both notoriety and popularity within Russian power circles and among the general population.

In this context, Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Grozny assumes significance, with his positive remarks regarding Chechnya’s contributions to Moscow in the Ukraine conflict further affirming the positive trajectory of the North Caucasian republic.

Chechnya’s sustained efforts have positioned it favourably in Russian domestic politics and military strategy. As reported previously, Chechnya’s role extends beyond the Ukraine conflict, as it has played a crucial part in supporting Moscow’s foreign policy in the Arab-Muslim world, particularly with the Gulf Arab monarchies.

The military training centre in Gudermes and the involvement of Chechen soldiers in the ranks of the Russian armed forces have solidified Grozny’s importance not only in the North Caucasus but also in the broader context of Russian geopolitical considerations.

The increasing prominence of Chechen soldiers in Ukraine requires a comprehensive analysis, considering the notable presence of North Caucasian volunteer fighters within the International Legion and the Ukrainian armed forces.

Since the conflict’s inception, Ukraine has been a magnet for volunteer fighters from the post-Soviet space, particularly the North Caucasus. These fighters have formed various battalions with the primary goal of supporting Kyiv in its struggle against Moscow, while also having future aspirations to advocate for the independence of ethnic republics within the Russian Federation.

A thorough examination of publicly available information (PAI) distributed across various Telegram channels reveals Chechnya has emerged as a focal point. Numerous Chechen volunteer fighters among the ranks of the Ukrainian forces have actively advocated for the reinstatement of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, denouncing the current Republic of Chechnya under Kadyrov’s leadership as a ‘puppet regime promoted by Moscow.’

The discussions within these channels shed light on the sentiments and aspirations of Chechen fighters engaged in the conflict, providing valuable insights into their motivations and objectives.

Medvedev’s commendation of Kadyrov and the Chechen military forces involved in Ukraine underscores Grozny’s importance in both foreign and military strategies. The acknowledgment from the Russian leadership emphasises the integral role played by Chechen forces, showing a strategic alliance and coordinated efforts in the ongoing conflict. This recognition heightens the importance of monitoring developments related to Chechen involvement, as it could have broader implications for the geopolitical landscape in the region.

Read more | Volunteer Battalions/Foreign Figthers in Ukraine

Conclusion/Risk Scenarios

The formation of regiments and battalions in Chechnya, as highlighted by the Chairman of the Chechen Republic’s Parliament, Magomed Daudov, signifies the region’s unwavering commitment to bolstering national security. While this exhibits a proactive approach in addressing security concerns, the increasing militarisation in Chechnya poses a local risk situation.

The potential transformation into a more militarised society raises concerns about its implications for internal security and governance. The increased presence of military forces could potentially lead to social unrest and disrupt the delicate balance within the region.

On a regional scale, the consolidation of power in Chechnya, coupled with its expanding role beyond the immediate area, raises apprehensions among neighbouring states and regional actors. The potential for conflicts to spread and the involvement of Chechen forces in regional geopolitics may lead to increased tensions and security issues in the wider North Caucasus region.

In conclusion, while Chechnya’s commitment to national security is evident in its formation of military units, the associated risks of local militarisation and the broader regional implications require careful consideration.

Striking a balance between strengthening security measures and avoiding potential unrest is essential for the North Caucasian republic’s internal dynamics. Simultaneously, regional stakeholders must remain vigilant to mitigate the risk of increased tensions and security challenges stemming from Chechnya’s developing role in Moscow’s geopolitical strategies.

For those with an interest in acquiring comprehensive insights into the geopolitical dynamics of the North Caucasus and Russia, we encourage you to reach out to our team by emailing We are ready to help you assess the opportunity to obtain a meticulously crafted and specialised report tailored to your intelligence needs.

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