Translated by Leo V.
Ramzan Kadyrov Forms a New Regiment
National units are a long tradition of the Russian Army.
Article by Sergei Kozlov, a military historian and Soviet-Afghan War Veteran.
In relation to the Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine, President of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov demonstrates a solid patriotic position. And he personally oversees the activities of the national Chechen units of the Russian National Guard (Rosgvardiya) operating in Ukraine.
These units, which are often called special forces, perform the corresponding tasks: cleaning occupied territories, protecting the rear and communication between the Russian Army and the People’s Militias of the DPR and LPR.
They Showed Themselves in Battle
These units include: OMON “Akhmat-Grozny”, the 249th Separate Special Motorized Battalion “South”, the 46th Separate Brigade of Operational Purpose of the Rosgvardiya, the 141st Special Motorized Regiment of the Rosgvardiya named after Akhmat-Khadzhi Kadyrov (formerly known as “North” Battalion) and the SOBR “Akhmat”.
OMON “Akhmat-Grozny” is by far the oldest structure that operated during the first and second Chechen campaigns. In total, there are about 30 thousand people in the units.
Since these are not army units, but units of the Russian National Guard, all of them (except for the 141st Special Motorized unit) are armed only with small arms and light equipment. The 141st Regiment has combat equipment on staff.
Participating in Mariupol and Volnovakha, in the battles for Severodonetsk and Lisichansk, Chechen armed formations demonstrated a high level of discipline, field training and the will to win, achieving significant results.
Special Upbringing of Men
Information about the fighting of Chechen units regularly reaches the residents of Chechnya and causes pride among young people. At the same time, attention should be paid to the upbringing of Chechen youth, which explains the patriotic impulse among conscripts. The boy is initially brought up there as a warrior, as a man.
I remember how in 1985, a batch of young recruits arrived in our detachment in Kandahar, and among them four guys from Chechnya. Many officers were wary of them. But I selected two of the newcomers to my group and never regretted it.
One was a gunner-operator in my vehicle, and the second was a squad commander, he later became my deputy.
Of course, there are national peculiarities that need to be taken into account in communication. These people will never respect the boss just because of the position they hold. You need to prove that you really deserve respect – and then you will not find more reliable and loyal subordinates! I succeeded. The newcomers did not study in the training regiment for Spetsnaz in Pechora, but were trained in ordinary infantry training schools. But in spirit they were special forces, and they fought excellently and fearlessly.
And this is not an exception, but rather the rule. Which was later confirmed by the soldiers of the Zapad (West) Battalion, which was formed in 2003 by the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff (the 305th Separate Spetsnaz Detachment) and supervised by him. The battalion was commanded by Said-Magomed Kakiyev, Hero of Russia. A man of boundless courage and devotion. And the soldiers were a match for the commander. There was not a single former militant in the squad. Everyone fought against Dudayev’s regime from the very beginning.
A little later, the Vostok (East) Battalion was created under the command of Sulim Yamadayev. But in 2008, it was disbanded and the “North” and “South” Battalions were created. They became the basis for modern formations of the Rosgvardiya.
In August of the same 2008, Chechen units distinguished themselves during the operation to force Georgia to peace.
The Russian Army has a wealth of experience in creating national, or, as previously said, native formations.
So, on August 23, 1914, at the beginning of the First World War, the Caucasian Native Cavalry Division was created. It was staffed by 90% Muslims – natives of the North Caucasus and Transcaucasia. According to the laws of the Russian Empire, these people were not subject to military service. But being volunteers, they enlisted in the ranks of national formations.
The division fought bravely on the Southwestern Front since November 1914, its merits are great. In 1916 alone, the division conducted 16 mounted attacks. In general, the entire division accounts for the number of prisoners, four times its composition.
There is an important nuance that should be paid attention to now. As the witnesses of those events write, there was a special moral and psychological atmosphere in the division, which largely determined the relationship between its officers and riders. An important feature of the highlander rider was a sense of self-esteem and a complete absence of servility and sycophancy. Above all, it was not ranks and titles that were valued, but personal bravery and loyalty. This is confirmed by my personal observations.
And one more interesting fact. At first, the Muslims of the division were awarded St. George’s Crosses for distinction in battle, where instead of St. George, the coat of arms of the Russian Empire was depicted so as not to infringe on the feelings of the faithful. But after a while, the mountaineers demanded to be given the same awards as Christians. After all, there was a picture of dzhigit George on a horse, and not a “chicken”, as they called the coat of arms.
Following the Traditions of the Ancestors
Thus, it can be argued that the Russian Army has a long tradition of creating national units in the North Caucasus. The competent national policy pursued by the Supreme Commander-in-Chief makes it possible to use this force more widely and effectively. After all, in mid-March 2022, according to Kadyrov, a thousand volunteers went to Ukraine. At the beginning of April, another thousand, in May 600 more volunteers left for the war.
The Spetsnaz training center established in Gudermes has been training not only special forces fighters, but also has been training volunteers for months. Moreover, volunteers who specially come from all over Russia to get trained and go to war. And they are fighting as part of national units.
So don’t be surprised when you see a soldier of absolutely Slavic appearance who proudly shouts: “Akhmat – power!”
Now the formation of new battalions is beginning in Chechnya. But not from volunteers from all over the country and not on the basis of the Russian National Guard, but exclusively from citizens of the republic and as part of the Ministry of Defense. In total, it is planned to create four battalions under the general name “Akhmat”. According to the staffing size, we can say that the Motorized Rifle Regiment “Akhmat” is being formed, which will include the battalions: “North-Akhmat”, “South-Akhmat”, “West-Akhmat” and “East-Akhmat”.
The composition of a modern motorized rifle battalion, depending on the state, may include management and headquarters, three motorized rifle companies on either BMPs or BTRs, a tank company, one or two artillery batteries, a mortar battery, an anti-air defense platoon, an anti-tank platoon, communications platoons, reconnaissance platoons, an engineering platoon and a logistics platoon.
In order for the units to become a real force, careful training of both individual soldiers and units as a whole is needed. According to Ramzan Kadyrov, the places of formation, smoothing and training of two battalions on the territory of the republic have already been determined, bases will be deployed in Khankala for two more.
“Together with the Chairman of the Parliament of the Chechen Republic, Magomed Daudov, I visited the inner-city village of Khankala to inspect a potential building that is to be converted to the needs of two battalions being formed. An approximate location has already been chosen for the first two groups,” Kadyrov said.
The Head of the republic instructed the members of the government to prepare design and estimate documentation, to bring the necessary communications and to asphalt the roadway leading to the territory of the facility.
For the education and training of the military, all amenities are provided, starting with comfortable living and staff quarters and ending with football, volleyball, tennis and sports grounds. There will be a parade ground and a shooting range, the entire surrounding area will be equipped.
Selection of Officers
An important success factor is the competent selection of officers.
It is assumed that for the new battalions they will try to select Chechen officers who are already serving in the ranks of the Russian Army. But they may also be officers of other nationalities. Just as many officers of the Cossack army served in the Native Division at the beginning of the last century.
Special work will be required with candidates for command positions. They are obliged to study the national characteristics of the Chechen people in order to understand their subordinates. To earn their trust and respect, an officer must show that he is better, more professional, stronger and braver than his subordinates. Only then will they follow him into fire and water. At the same time, the officer must know and respect national customs.
For example, mountain customs were strong in the regiments of the [First World War] Native Division: respect for elders, hospitality, etc. This left its mark on life and service in the division.
The guests in the units of the division were welcomed as at home in the Caucasus. The young officer showed respect to his older riders – especially at a rest area, during their break. Contrary to the charter, but according to mountain customs.
It seems to me that it is appropriate to send candidates for the positions of commanders to Chechnya, where they, communicating with the residents, would study local traditions. And as commanders, they could subsequently correctly apply their power to subordinates.
For example, in the Native Division of the 1914 model, newly accepted volunteers made a solemn promise to serve throughout the war. For misconduct, a volunteer could be dismissed from the service. In this case, he lost his shoulder straps in front of the formation, his offense was reported to his native village, benefits were collected from him, weapons and uniforms were taken away. Those dismissed in this way were permanently deprived of the right to hold any elected positions.
In a combat situation, the Native Division proved to be strong, distinguished by high discipline and did not have a single case of desertion before the February Revolution.
The use of such educational techniques will help to form and prepare a new combat-ready unit in a short time. Which is what I sincerely desire for their command, and personally to Ramzan Kadyrov.