How Kadyrov Clan has Maintained Power in Chechnya

Kadyrov Family

Ramzan Kadyrov is now the head of the Chechen Republic, a position he has held since 2007. The Russian political and military leader has appointed mostly his family members to maintain Russian occupation of the Chechnya.

Recently, 18-year-old Akhmat Kadyrov, another son of Ramzan Kadyrov, has been appointed to a position in the Chechen government. He became First Deputy Minister of Physical Culture, Sports and Youth Policy.

Ramzan Kadyrov appoints his children (sons and daughters) to administrative positions under the supervision of his associates. He prepares his successors and strengthens his clan. It is also possible to say that Kadyrov plans to eventually provide federal careers for his offspring.

Ramzan Kadyrov’s official biography states that he has 10 children: 4 sons and 6 daughters. But in July 2020, after the US imposed sanctions on the Kadyrov family, he wrote: “Okay, if I were a hundred times a human rights violator, how do you explain the sanctions against my wife and my daughters? By the way, in addition to my two daughters, I have 12 other children! Feel free to include them in the sanctions lists!”

Kadyrov also has grandchildren, brothers, nieces, nephews and numerous other relatives. The Kadyrov clan is one of the most influential and wealthy in Russia. That’s why his son, Adam Kadyrov, has been receiving so many awards lately. This pleases his father and does not bother Putin.

As long as Kadyrov is sitting in Chechnya awarding his children, few people will be interested in the situation in the republic. Everyone understands perfectly well that the main thing is that Putin does not want a third Chechen war.

In Russia, there has long been a situation where Putin says neither “yes” nor “no” in many sensitive cases. So officials themselves, walking through a minefield, decide what is allowed and what is not. The current awards for Adam Kadyrov and positions for his other children are like that, too. Putin is silent, Kadyrov has become more active, and Russian officials are watching.

Thus, Kadyrov creates a basis for a possible transfer of power, and on the other hand, he equips all key positions in the republic with his sons and more distant relatives. Ramzan Kadyrov remembers very well how, sometime after his father’s death, he had to wait for his appointment because his age did not allow him to take the position immediately.

Therefore, it is necessary to change the Chechen constitution within a year or two and prepare the possibility of an instant transfer of power. Of course, reality always makes its own amendments, but Kadyrov, like any dictator, thinks in ideal terms. And, no less important for understanding the processes, Kadyrov knows that Putin will not oppose this.

The second reason is an attempt to make himself indispensable in the event of a power transition. Putin is 71 years old, and a number of Russian politicians have already started to think about the transit of power and their role in this process. Kadyrov has long been trying to become the “chief Muslim” of Russia.

The war makes Kadyrov indispensable in many ways, with a 61% level of trust in him, and Russians consider him the second most important military leader of this war (18%), with only Prigozhin above him with 19% (according to recent polls).

Kadyrov’s task is not to lose this level of trust and to prove to everyone that without his clan, the Caucasus, which is not going to secede anywhere now, may start thinking about separating after Putin’s death.

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