Illustration photo – Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov pictured on February 25, 2022.
Moscow – Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov plans to start his own mercenary formation similar to the Wagner group (translated from Russian Vagnerov) after leaving the civil service, which is run by Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin. He stated this today on the Telegram social network. The announcement comes amid speculation about the declining influence of Prigozhin and his group.
According to Kadyrov, Prigozhin's mercenary Wagner group achieved “impressive results” in carrying out the most difficult tasks in the fighting in Ukraine. “Such professional formations are undoubtedly needed and necessary. Therefore, when I finish my work in the civil service, I seriously plan to create competition with our dear brother Yevgeny Prigozhin and start a private military company,” wrote Kadyrov.
The rise of Wagner and other mercenary groups outside of Russia's traditional military command structures has raised concerns that the groups could one day pose a threat to stability in Russia, reports Reuters.
Both Kadyrov and Prigozhin head forces in Ukraine that are largely independent of the Russian military command, but at the same time they are staunch allies of President Vladimir Putin. However, the pair, in a tacit alliance, have repeatedly criticized the way Russian military leaders are leading Russian forces in Ukraine and called for a more decisive war.
More and more evidence suggests that the Kremlin is now trying to curb Prigozhin's excessive political influence and has ordered him to stop publicly criticizing the Ministry of Defense. He advised the state media to stop mentioning Prigozhin or the Wagner group. Social media channels linked to Prigozhin have complained in recent days that Wagner's group is not getting enough ammunition from military stockpiles.
The US Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in its latest primer on the fighting in Ukraine that Prigozhin he does not stop criticizing the Russian army command and unsuccessfully tries to win over Kadyrov for his information campaign. In recent days, he confirmed that Chechen units fighting on the side of Russia are subject to Russian military command, while Prigozhin said that Wagner's group “has nothing to do” with the Russian army. According to American analysts, Kadyrov apparently assessed that for him good relations with the Kremlin are more beneficial than a political alliance with Prigozhin.