Alliance with infidels against infidels
On October 25, it became known about the attack of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the headquarters of the Chechen military, which was located in the Kherson school. About 30 people died, Kadyrov himself announced 23 dead and 58 wounded. Immediately after that, the head of Chechnya published a 13-minute voice message on his Telegram channel in the middle of the night, in which he stated that Ukrainian cities should be “wiped off the face of the earth”, demanded that Chechens go to the front as volunteers, regardless of age, and declared jihad to Ukrainians, or rather, as he put it, "Satanists."
Declaring jihad, he said that in Ukraine there is not a special operation, but a war "between the Orthodox, Muslims and Satanists." Kadyrov has repeatedly said lately that Ukrainian “Satanists” are the enemy of Russia, he has not yet recorded the Orthodox in this category. Considering this and Vladimir Putin's regular photo shoots in Orthodox churches, we can conclude that Kadyrov is now listing non-believers as allies and immediately declaring jihad on Ukrainians. To unite on the path of Allah, Kadyrov calls not on Muslims, but on "compatriots". This directly contradicts the very definition of a "holy war" and, in general, Islam in general, says The Insider's interlocutor, who worked in the Chechen government.
“Of course, if we look at the issue with the “Satanists” from the point of view of religion, then Islam clearly structures the non-believers. Jews, Christians and Muslims are considered "ideological party members". In the Koran there is even such a thing as "Ahl al-Kitab" - people of the Book. They include peoples who follow the Holy Scriptures. Satanists, as well as polytheists, are considered a great evil. So, in theory, here Kadyrov can explain his actions by some kind of war against Satanists.
However, the word “jihad” appeared here, which Kadyrov announced to the Ukrainians. But the very concept of jihad in the Muslim religion means a holy war of the faithful, as Muslims consider themselves, with the infidels - that is, with Christians. At the same time, jihad is carried out with the aim of spreading the ideas of Islam. Therefore, Kadyrov is trying to replace concepts, to mislead people. And this is not the first time this has happened. Let us recall, for example, how he and his supporters declare so-called blood feuds on their critics because of insults. Moreover, traditionally blood feuds acted not as a measure of punishment, but as a means of deterring murders. In simple words, people understood: if you killed someone, be prepared for the fact that they will kill you or someone close to you. Blood feud is declared in case of murder, that is, when blood is shed. Insults have nothing to do with this sociocultural method of containment.”
Human rights activist Abubakar Yangulbayev, whose family Kadyrov and his right-hand man, State Duma deputy Adam Delimkhanov threatened with blood feud and beheading, also believes that there can be no jihad against Ukrainians, no matter how much Kadyrov calls them Satanists.
“At the everyday level for Muslims, Christians, Jews and atheists are all unbelievers. Some theological scholars in Islam have an interpretation that Christians and Jews are people of the Book, they are not like atheists and pagans, but in general they are still infidels.
Do Kadyrov's manipulations have an effect on the Chechens?
The head of Chechnya is an adherent of the direction of Sufism, which allows you to combine religiosity with an idle life. At the same time, the Kadyrov regime calls the supporters of Salafism dangerous sectarians and declares blood feud on them. Kadyrov also lists Chechen oppositionists as Salafists, which allows him to publicly call on religious fanatics to kill “sectarians” who are objectionable to his government. By the same principle, he chose a convenient “satanic” definition for Ukrainians. Judging by the numerous tick-tocks of Kadyrovites from the front, one might get the impression that his manipulations of religion are successful and they really obey him, imbued with speeches. This is not so, say the interlocutors of The Insider.
“There are many adequate, educated young men in Chechnya who perfectly understand everything that is happening,” says the Chechen official. “However, because of threats, torture, persecution, they cannot and are afraid to speak out against it. At the same time, there are those who blindly follow what they are told. It's more about the uneducated population. Basically, these are children of the war, who, due to hostilities in the republic, could not get access to education. I immediately remember one of the recently published videos in the Adat Telegram channel. There lies a Chechen wounded in Ukraine and shouts: “Allahu Akbar, Akhmat Strength.” I think it's a very revealing video."
According to Abubakar Yangulbaev, the Chechens who go to fight in Kadyrov's regiments are far from driven by his religious speeches:
“Is there any psychological suggestion? Rather mercantile and practical. Chechens go there, but they are a minority, there was even a separate report from Memorial that there were only 3,000 of them there, and Kadyrov confirms this. All these 10 or 70 thousand is a lie, there is no confirmation of his words anywhere. People go there because of money and the possibility of military gain, that is, obtaining military trophies, for example, weapons. Motivation is purely material.
According to a representative of the Chechen human rights association Vayfond, the majority of the population in Chechnya understands that Kadyrov uses religious dogmas as he pleases, because they know the laws of Islam very well. Kadyrov's pseudo-religious speeches do not touch on any patterns of ordinary Chechens, because this war simply has nothing to do with religion, the source says:
“Kadyrov has been trying to push through the idea of jihad since the very beginning of the war, but it is not being pushed through from either side. No matter how many thousands of people he gathers, no matter how the Mufti of Chechnya prays in Arabic with the word “Ukraine”, this idea cannot be pushed through. Jihad could have been pushed through during the First Chechen and Second, when there was a struggle between Muslims against non-believers who encroached on religion, but now he is trying to pull an owl on the globe. One of the reasons for the low support for Kadyrov in Chechnya is that Chechens are very religious - they pray five times a day and spend a lot of time thinking about the afterlife. The idea of jihad is not pushable, because this war is a direct path to hell, because you cannot fight for a Christian ruler, Putin, against another conventionally Christian ruler. The Kadyrovites go to war because Kadyrov can deprive them of everything they didn't have before - money, power and everything else. If Kadyrov loses power, they will be impaled along with Kadyrov by the same Chechens.”
At the same time, Kadyrov has many similarities in behavior with the former leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr Baghdadi, who also skillfully used the symbols of Islam for manipulation and was greedy for money-grubbing, the human rights association says. For example, once during a sermon in a Mosul mosque, a Swiss watch worth several thousand dollars was photographed on Baghdadi's arm. The structure of IS in general has much in common with the Kadyrov regime. In particular, both there and there it is based on total violence, in which all full-fledged militants are involved through a system of mutual responsibility, terror and intimidation of the civilian population.
“Kadyrov and Baghdadi have something in common - they used religion to recruit people for their own selfish goals. They call people shaitans, kill including Muslims. They seem to be different, but if you go by the points, they are almost identical,” says a representative of Vayfond.
Does Kadyrov believe in his speeches
The Insider's interlocutors are sure that Kadyrov is aware of his own manipulations and is not deceived when he deceives others. This is evidenced, for example, by the fact that just a few years ago, Kadyrov, on the contrary, used anti-war rhetoric, because at that moment military operations were unprofitable for him.
“He cannot believe what he says,” says Abubakar Yangulbaev. - When it was about the war for the independence of Chechnya, when it was about the war in Syria, he claimed that his mullahs and combatants said: war is bad, you can’t fight, you need to stay at home and take care of your family, increase the Chechen population, GDP, to be useful to your homeland, and not to go somewhere to die there, and that the people who send you there are sitting quietly at home and everything is fine with them. Here, Kadyrov has a slight schizophrenia, because now he directly contradicts himself. And then, and now he referred to religion, and this is pure manipulation. Now it is beneficial for him to be the mouthpiece of the Kremlin on the escalation of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.”
According to the Chechen official, Kadyrov is perfectly aware of everything, but he has no choice, he needs to help Putin stay in power by any means:
“It seems to me that it is a big mistake to think that Kadyrov has some ideas, values and faith. You need to understand that he made himself a hostage. Now he is in a golden cage, which he built for himself, but its position is very precarious. He is hated by the people, he has hundreds, if not thousands of blood enemies. The FSB despises him and is ready to tear him apart at any opportunity. Kadyrov keeps at the expense of Putin. If he doesn't exist, Kadyrov doesn't exist. Therefore, Ramzan Akhmatovich does everything to help his boss, and uses any methods for this, even contradictory ones. Otherwise, an inevitable end awaits him, and he will be very sad.