Copyright © 2024

The work of Euromaidan Press is supported by the International Renaissance Foundation

When referencing our materials, please include an active hyperlink to the Euromaidan Press material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. To reprint anything longer, written permission must be acquired from [email protected].

Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Ever more Russian governors forming their own military units, not just Kadyrov

Ramzan Kadyrov, the governor of Chechnya, inspecting his 'personal army' assembled at the Grozny stadium, 2015 (Image:
Ramzan Kadyrov, the governor of Chechnya, inspecting his ‘personal army’ assembled at the Grozny stadium, 2015 (Image:
Ever more Russian governors forming their own military units, not just Kadyrov
Edited by: A. N.

Ramzan Kadyrov has gained notoriety for his formation of military units that are more under his control than that of Moscow, but what is often ignored is that other governors, albeit in somewhat less flamboyant fashion, have been forming similar units loyal to themselves alone, according to Ruslan Gorevoy.

And these moves have the potential to destabilize the country given that there are “no fewer than 30” subjects which have territorial claims on other subjects and thus, in the worst case scenario, even threaten the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation as a whole, the Versiya commentator says.

For the last three years, he continues, the Russian State Duma has been trying to rein all this in believing that the interior ministry, controlled by Moscow, can provide all the security governors need. But the latter now consider it a matter of “good tone” to have their “own autonomous army subordinate directly to the governor and not to Moscow.

The simmering conflict between Chechnya and Ingushetia over the border between them is the most prominent of regional disputes, but there are many others, Gorevoy says, including challenges within federal subjects such as Kalmykia and Perm Kray where no less than four parts are competing with each other to leave its borders.

“These very structures now,” Gorevoy continues, “are formed according to a single criterion: the personal taste of each regional leader. The center in turn does not have any relationship to them and this means that it cannot give them orders either to stop fighting and disperse.

But the possession of such forces gives governors something more: “the more powerful the governor’s ‘personal army,’ the greater his chances to remain in place” even as the Kremlin’s Sergey Kiriyenko carries out his “‘purge’ of the heads of regions. And because the governors know this, they have an additional incentive to form such structures.

Moreover, they give governors the opportunity to buy or intimidate friends and to reward the titular nationality in the case of the ethnically non-Russian republics. In Tuva, for example, the governor effectively controls the 55th Motorized Mountain Brigade, which is dominated by the 1047 Tuvins in its ranks.

The Russian State Duma is currently holding hearings on what to do about this situation and how best to rein in the governors and their personal “armies.” But the Versiya commentator suggests that all past efforts to do so have failed. Because of more immediate threats, these forces remain under Moscow’s radar screen.


Edited by: A. N.
You could close this page. Or you could join our community and help us produce more materials like this.  We keep our reporting open and accessible to everyone because we believe in the power of free information. This is why our small, cost-effective team depends on the support of readers like you to bring deliver timely news, quality analysis, and on-the-ground reports about Russia's war against Ukraine and Ukraine's struggle to build a democratic society. A little bit goes a long way: for as little as the cost of one cup of coffee a month, you can help build bridges between Ukraine and the rest of the world, plus become a co-creator and vote for topics we should cover next. Become a patron or see other ways to support. Become a Patron!

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here

You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Please leave your suggestions or corrections here

    Will the West continue to support Ukraine?
    • Know what moves the world.
    • Premium journalism from across Europe.
    • Tailored to your needs, translated into English.
    Special discount
    for Euromaidan Press readers
    Euromaidan Press

    We are an independent media outlet that relies solely on advertising revenue to sustain itself. We do not endorse or promote any products or services for financial gain. Therefore, we kindly ask for your support by disabling your ad blocker. Your assistance helps us continue providing quality content. Thank you!

    Related Posts