New Chechen security service units; Akhmat-Spetsnaz agreement with Russian Defence Ministry

15 June 2023


This week's main stories:

  • Kadyrov announces creation of new security service units
  • Chechen ‘volunteer’ units sign contracts with the Russian Defence Ministry
Kadyrov announces creation of new security service units

Chechen Head Ramzan Kadyrov has announced the creation of two new regiments under the auspices of the Russian Ministry of Defence. The units will comprise “experienced fighters” — meaning existing security service personnel, rather than new recruits (3).


Kadyrov made the announcement on 10 June, using his Telegram channel. The two new units will be called Akhmat-Rossiya and Akhmat-Chechnya — adding to the unfortunate proliferation of units carrying the Akhmat name. 


The combined strength of the two units will be 2,400 people. Where the personnel to staff the unit have been transferred from is unclear. According to Kadyrov, the units will soon be deployed to Ukraine.


As Caucasian Knot notes, numerous Chechen units have already participated in the war in Ukraine: The 141st Special Motorised Regiment Sever, commanded first by Magomed Tushayev and then Ibragim Ismailov (Tushayev was instead appointed head of the 96th Rosgvardia regiment); the Yug Battalion, commanded by Khuseyn Mezhidov; the Akhmat-Groznyy OMON detachment, commanded by Azor Bisayev; the Sever-Akhmat regiment, commanded by Zayndi Zingiyev; three Yug-Akhmat battalions, commanded by Musa Borziyev; Vostok-Akhmat; and Zapad-Akhmat, commanded by Ismail Aguyev (2).


Kadyrov also offered information on other Chechen security service units. He said that the Akhmat spetsnaz comprises three divisions, or “seven-eight-nine regiments, seven-eight-nine battalions.” Which is suitably imprecise (3).

Chechen ‘volunteer’ units sign contracts with the Russian Defence Ministry

In another development linked to the Chechen security services, the Russian Defence Ministry announced that it had signed a contract with the Akhmat ‘volunteer’ detachment operating in Ukraine —which, among the sea of Akhmats, apparently refers to Akmat-Spetsnaz (6). The contract is the first to define the role of volunteer detachments in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and comes after Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu signed an order requiring all such units to sign a contract with his ministry (7).


The statement on the Defence Ministry’s website described the contract as “determining the legal regulation and activities of the volunteer unit Akhmat in the zone in which the special military operation is being conducted, and also extending to volunteers and members of their family the measures of social defence and support established by the state.”


The contract was signed by Aleksey Kim, deputy chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, and Adam Dashayev, recently appointed director of the Russian University of Spetsnaz. Also in attendance at the signing ceremony was Adam Delimkhanov, Kadyrov’s close ally and State Duma deputy for Chechnya, and Apty Alaudinov, commander of Akhmat-Spetsnaz.


Kim characterised the contract as an effort to increase the effectiveness and coordination of all forces deployed to Ukraine. He expressed his hope that other volunteer units would sign similar contracts.


Akhmat-Spetsnaz’s classification as a ‘volunteer’ battalion certainly requires significant caveats. Some of its participants may, of course, have volunteered; others may have been strongly ‘incentivised’ by the repressive regime in Chechnya. The unit itself, however, is firmly under the control of the Chechen authorities — as Delimkhanov’s presence at the ceremony clearly indicates. Even Alaudinov noted Kadyrov’s role in the creation of the unit. 


It is therefore somewhat ironic to attempt to establish a firm legal basis for the activities of a group that, in Russian law, has quite a weak one. It forms part of the curious legalism that characterises authoritarian regimes like Russia’s. Alaudinov commented that, although the unit receive funding from the Akhmat Kadyrov Foundation, “the entire main resources we receive from the Defence Ministry. Naturally, it was correct to take a decision to legalise the receipt by us of these resources, arms and provisions” — a tacit acknowledgement that the transfer of resources preceded the legal foundation for doing so.

Other stories of interest
  • Three prisoners — two originally from Kabardino-Balkaria and one from Rostov Oblast —are being investigated on suspicion of creating a terrorist cell by the name of Jama’at prior to 2011. The suspects reject the charges (1).
  • The Southern District Military Court has sentenced two Dagestani women to four and a half and five years in prison for planning to join the Islamic State (IS) (4).
  • A resident of Dagestan has been sentenced to three years two months for membership of the banned extremist group At-Takfir wal-Hijra until 2015 (5).
  • Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) announced that it had detained a Stavropol Kray resident on suspicion of participating in the 1999 invasion of Dagestan led by Shamil Basayev and Emir Khattab (8).
  • Human rights organisation Memorial claims that a British national from Chechnya is currently being held and tortured in an illegal prison in Chechnya. He is suspected of involvement in a suicide bombing in Urus-Martan in 2009 (9).
Source list

1. Caucasian Knot. 2023, 7 June. Заключенные из Кабардино-Балкарии и Ростовской области обвинены в терроризме.

2. Caucasian Knot. 2023, 7 June. Кадыров заявил о трех дивизиях спецназа "Ахмат”.

3. Caucasian Knot. 2023, 7 June. Глава Чечни рапортовал о двух сформированных полках.

4. Caucasian Knot. 2023, 8 June. Двух жительниц Дагестана осудили за участие в "Исламском государстве”.

5. Kavkaz Realii. 2023, 9 June. Житель Каспийска получил три года колонии за членство в "Ат-Такфир Валь-Хиджра”.

6. Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation. 2023, 12 June. В рамках реализации приказа Министра обороны Российской Федерации об определении порядка организации служебной деятельности добровольческих организаций, состоялось подписание контракта между Минобороны России и добровольческим отрядом «Ахмат».

7. Novaya Gazeta. 2023, 12 June. Russia’s Defence Ministry signs contract with Akhmat volunteer detachment.

8. Caucasian Knot. 2023, 13 June. Житель Ставрополья задержан по делу об атаке Басаева на Дагестан.

9. OC Media. 2023, 12 June. Chechen–British man ‘detained and tortured’ in Chechnya.

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