Chechen security services in Belgorod Oblast; Putin backs PMC legalisation

22 June 2023


This week's main stories:

  • Chechen security service unit deployed to Belgorod Oblast
  • Putin backs legalisation and registration of PMCs
Chechen security service unit deployed to Belgorod Oblast

Chechen Head Ramzan Kadyrov announced on 13 June that the Zapad-Akhmat security service unit, formally subordinate to the Defence Ministry, was being deployed to Belgorod Oblast to prevent Ukrainian subversive activities (1).


According to Kadyrov, the decision followed agreement between State Duma Deputy for Chechnya Adam Delimkhanov, Belgorod Oblast Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov, and representatives of the Defence Ministry. 


Kadyrov later elaborated that coordination between the governor’s office, the Defence Ministry, the Federal Security Service (FSB) Border Department for Belgorod and Voronezh Oblast, and Rosgvardia would be overseen by Delimkhanov and Rustam Aguyev, head of the Chechen Interior Ministry in Kurchaloyevskiy Rayon. Rustam is the brother of Ismail Aguyev, commander of the Zapad-Akhmat unit (2).

Putin backs legalisation and registration of PMCs

Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken in favour of legalising Private Military Companies (PMCs) in Russia, and has also backed a Defence Ministry push to register ‘volunteer’ units fighting in Ukraine (4).


Putin was answering questions during a meeting with “military correspondents” —  a mixture of those working for Russian state media and pro-Kremlin bloggers. The key questions about PMCs came from state TV correspondent Sergey Zenin, who noted that PMCs “are supposedly banned in our country de jure but still exist de facto on the frontline” and asked “What should be done to get rid of this judicial or legal vacuum and return them to the legal field?”


Putin responded that he had asked the State Duma and the Defence Ministry to take steps in this direction, insisting “it is necessary to introduce relevant amendments to the law.”


Putin also supported an order issued by Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu that required ‘volunteer’ units to sign a contract with his ministry. Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the owner of the Wagner PMC, has thus far refused, but one of the Chechen security service units has signed such a contract (see the 15 June edition of Threatologist Eurasia). Putin stated: “This is the only way of providing them with social guarantees because if there is no contract with the state, no contract with the Defence Ministry, there are no legal grounds for receiving social guarantees from the state.”


Having come dangerously close to asking some relevant questions, Zenin then recalled that he’s not actually a proper journalist, and asked a vacuous question about why supposedly good people do bad things — opening the door to some of Putin’s favourite cereal-box philosophy.

Other stories of interest
  • Kadyrov reported that Vakha Khambulatov has been appointed commander of Vostok-Akhmat, replacing Aslanbek Saliyev, who becomes commander of Akhmat-Chechnya (3).
  • Russia’s Southern District Military Court sentenced two Dagestani men to 18 and 23 years for leading an Islamic State (IS) cell in a Kalmykia prison colony. A further five people received sentences of between seven and a half and eight years (5).
  • A Baku court sentenced two men to seven years in prison for fighting in Syria with “The Army of Allah.” The men claimed their group clashed with Jabhat al-Nusrah, which handed him over to Turkish police when they refused to join it (6).
  • A court in Khasavyurt has fined a local resident R20,000 for failing to inform the authorities about an acquaintance’s plans to fight with the Sheykh Mansur Battalion in Ukraine (7).
  • The FSB reported that they had detained two men in Pyatigorsk, Stavropol Kray on suspicion of planning to carry out a terrorist attack on behalf of IS (8).
  • Authorities in Krasnodar Kray detained a 15-year-old boy on suspicion of planning an arson attack on a local education establishment. They classified the plans as terrorism (9).
  • The Southern District Military Court sentenced an activist from Crimean Solidarity to 20 years in prison for membership of Hizb ut-Tahrir (10).
  • An appeals court has confirmed the sentence of a Dagestani resident sentenced to 17 years for preparing an attack on a traffic police post in the republic. The man was first sentenced in May 2022 and claimed evidence against him had been fabricated (11).
  • Iraq has extradited to Russia an Ingushetian native who travelled to Syria in 2016 and joined IS (12).
  • The mayor of Petrozavodsk, Karelia has announced that he plans to fight in Ukraine with Akhmat and has already undergone training with the Russian University of Spetsnaz in Gudermes, Chechnya (13).
  • Dagestan’s Supreme Court confirmed the conviction of a local resident sentenced to one year eight months for membership of At-Takfir wal-Hijra. Prosecutors had sought a tougher sentence (14).
  • Mikhail Khodorkovskiy’s Dosye (Dossier Center) has published a detailed investigation into Wagner activity in the Central African Republic, based on leaked information (15).
Source list

1. Caucasian Knot. 2023, 13 June. Кадыров сообщил о переброске батальона "Запад-Ахмат" в Белгородскую область.

2. Caucasian Knot. 2023, 15 June. Кадыров рассказал о работе Делимханова и Агуева в Белгородской области.

3. Caucasian Knot. 2023, 19 June. В командовании чеченских силовых подразделений произошли изменения.

4. President of Russia. 2023, 13 June. Meeting with war correspondents. 

5. Caucasian Knot. 2023, 14 June. Уроженцы Дагестана осуждены по делу о ячейке ИГ* в калмыцкой колонии.

6. Caucasian Knot. 2023, 15 June. Жители Азербайджана осуждены за причастность к радикальной группировке в Сирии.

7. Caucasian Knot. 2023, 15 June. Житель Дагестана наказан за недоносительство о вербовке в "Батальон Шейха Мансура”.

8. Caucasian Knot. 2023, 16 June. ФСБ заявила о предотвращении теракта в Пятигорске.

9. Kavkaz Realii. 2023, 16 June. В Краснодарском крае подростка подозревают в подготовке теракта.

10. Nastoyashcheye Vremya. 2023, 16 June. Суд в Ростове-на-Дону приговорил многодетного крымскотатарского активиста к 20 годам колонии по делу "Хизб ут‑Тахрир”.

11. Caucasian Knot. 2023, 18 June. Оставлен в силе приговор жителю Дагестана по делу о терроризме.

12. Caucasian Knot. 2023, 18 June. Уроженка Ингушетии экстрадирована из Ирака в Россию.

13. Kavkaz Realii. 2023, 18 June. Мэр Петрозаводска отправится на войну против Украины в составе чеченского батальона "Ахмат”.

14. Kavkaz Realii. 2023, 20 June. В Дагестане прокуратура не смогла добиться ужесточения приговора по делу "Ат-Такфир Валь-Хиджра”.

15. Dosye Center. 2023, 18 June. Убийство журналистов было только началом.

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