Kadyrov’s gain from the Makhachkala Pogrom

People searching for Israeli citizens at Makhachkala Airport
People searching for Israeli citizens at Makhachkala Airport

We all watched the crowd storming the Makhachkala airport "in search of Jews" and the stunning reaction of the Russian security forces, who simply gave way and "went about their business" among the attackers.

Moreover, the riots began around 19:00, and the first detentions at the airport took place after 22:00. This is in a region that is oversaturated with security forces. It was only after 10:50 p.m. that a convoy of vehicles moved from Khasavyurt toward Makhachkala.

The Russian media, of course, found the culprits – informational and psychological operations (IPSO) by Ukrainian intelligence agencies. They apparently even "coordinated the unrest" through several telegram channels. But if we believe this version, uncomfortable questions arise.

1. If it is IPSO, then such an operation could be successful when there is already a social base to accept it, and when its organizers know the region and the moods very well. However, the Russian authorities do not have this information.

2. If it is IPSO, then it turns out that the Russian special services slept through the creation, expansion, and operation of an underground network in an explosive region.

3. If this is an organized action, the reaction of the security forces in the first hours of the riots looks rather strange. After all, no one prevented the crowd from inspecting the cars, and the Rosgvardia barrier simply moved away when the crowd began to break down the fence to the airfield.

Putin needs a controlled "watchdog for the Caucasus

At first glance, we get a picture of destabilization in the Caucasus and problems for the Russian authorities. Given the specifics (and geography) of the region, it would be logical to hear a comment from Ramzan Kadyrov amid the unrest – he does not miss less critical events. But there is information about an alleged post by his son Adam calling on Jews to leave the Caucasus. Dad is silent.

Here, it is appropriate to mention two more news items:

1. The information about the transfer of heavy weapons to Kadyrov's forces (mostly Rosgvardia).

2. The creation of two new battalions named after Sheikh Mansur and Baysangur of Benoy. Both were leaders of the struggle of the Caucasian peoples (not only Chechnya but also a large part of Dagestan) against Russia.

Kadyrov is getting stronger. He is doing so by playing on the moods of the region's residents. He is trying to enter the field of regional patriotism.

If you put these two news streams together, the unrest in Makhachkala is beneficial to this particular character. Putin needs a controlled "watchdog for the Caucasus." Kadyrov fits the bill.

Since 2022, Kadyrov has been eager to strengthen his position. Let's recall his synchronized criticism of the Russian military leadership with Prigozhin. However, he failed to become a "military commander," and he was unable to enter one of the Kremlin's towers as an equal participant. He is still merely a regional "envoy." The status of "watcher of the Caucasus" is a new one, but it is significant.

Finally, there is the quiet work of Viktor Zolotov, the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian National Guard, to strengthen his influence. This character became sharply "non-public" when Russia faced problems at the front. But even against the backdrop of the flight of Russian units, he did not forget to promote some "heroic OMON and RG units." Allegedly, the troops were fleeing, and his units were "standing to the last."

Kadyrov, in addition to being directly subordinate to Putin, is dependent on Zolotov. Strengthening Kadyrov means strengthening the position of the Rosgvardia commander. Heavy weapons for Kadyrov means heavy weapons for the Rosgvardia.

Three lines of interest have converged.

That's why I won't be too surprised if, over the next few weeks, Ramzan Kadyrov starts talking a lot about how the Caucasus is a complex but patriotic region and that he and only he can ensure order there.

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