Russia’s relations with Chechnya are explosive. Hundreds of years of resisting Russian colonial rule and numerous conflicts have seen the two parties fight on multiple occasions with hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties.

To keep the federal republic under Russian control, Vladimir Putin has propped up the Kadyrov family to subdue any resistance by free Chechens. The Kremlin’s power dynamic with Kadyrov will be of much attention to the forefront of geopolitics as Ramzan Kadyrov’s health has come under question.

Putin’s Relationships with the Kadyrov Family

Vladimir Putin, a lifelong KGB officer, realized the Russian doctrine in fighting Chechen independence had failed multiple times. Switching tactics from Boris Yeltsin, the new Russian President declared a total war on Chechnya, including the highly dubious Ryazan Bombing in which the state security service, FSB, was complicit.

Putin helped placate Akhmad Kadyrov, the former Grand Mufti of Ichkeria, which was then under the leadership of Dzhokhar Dudayev. Akhmad was more critical of Wahhabism and wanted to consolidate power after Dudayev’s assassination.

Akhmad would help pinpoint key Chechen strongholds to the Russian military and created a pro-Russian militia, still controlled by the mafia family known as the Kadyrovites. Akhmad was killed in a bombing attack in 2004 and succeeded by his son, Ramzan.

A young Ramzan Kadyrov and Putin in 2004 via EPA

Why Putin Has Favored Ramzan over Most Hardliners