On June 24, a mutiny attempt led by the Wagner Group saw the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, rally his forces in defense of Russia. According to reports, 3,000 of the region’s elite forces were sent to defend the capital against the rebellion, led predominantly by non-Chechen volunteers from the Akhmat special forces. Despite tensions and potential for conflict, direct clashes were avoided due to successful negotiations.
- Ramzan Kadyrov, Head of Chechnya, called Prigozhin’s mutiny a “knife in the back” and rallied his forces, including 3,000 of the region’s elite troops, to defend Russia’s capital.
- Despite the Chechen label, the Akhmat special forces, who are on the frontline of Kadyrov’s defense, are composed of 90% non-Chechen volunteers from across Russia.
- Chechen units had been deployed to areas such as Rostov-on-Don and Moscow, but a direct clash with the Wagner Group was avoided due to successful negotiations.
- Chechen forces, particularly the Akhmat special forces, are popularly known as the “Tik-Tok troops” due to their regular online posts about their service.
- Elena Milashina, a journalist from Novaya Gazeta, and Israeli military expert David Sharp suggest that while Chechen forces have sustained losses, their presence and role in the conflict, particularly at the frontlines, is debatable.