I always thought that one can obtain a rank of officer in any army in the world only after graduating from military college or at least a couple of courses, and promotion to the next rank occurs after the active service on a particular position. I admit that I was wrong. This procedure is followed in all the armed forces around the globe, except Russia.
I recently read on the Delfi website that Russian President Vladimir Putin had conferred a rank of Major General on Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. Kadyrov reported about the conferral in social media. The first news that Kadyrov became a Major General came in July. At first, I thought it was a joke, knowing what education Kadyrov received (formally). So, I started researching and did not find a word on the official website of the Chechen government that Kadyrov had graduated from any military institutions or even courses. Moreover, there was no information that Kadyrov was in active military service, of course, aside from the leader’s post.
The Kremlin gave the following comments: Putin’s spokesperson said that Kadyrov coordinated the work of law enforcement agencies, including the National Guard, and counterterrorism forces, if necessary. Kadyrov has done that many times and very effectively.
Does this mean that Russia’s system of subordination is so loose that anyone can be a commander? Absolutely anyone? You should admit that this sounds like a complete mess initiated by the highest command. Are the people in the Russian security forces so illiterate that they act under command lacking any military or any higher education? Some observers may disagree, saying Kadyrov has combat experience. Yes, and it was acquired during the fighting in the Russian army. Does it mean that an experienced butcher, who can cut meat, can be a surgeon and do the same with people?
Retired FSB [Russian Federal Security Service] General Alexandr Mikhailov put it this way: “Nothing unexpected. The re-certification took place because Kadyrov already had the rank of police general.”
As a result, Kadyrov went from the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ command to the command of the National Guard. Mikhailov said that military ranks meant a great honor in the Caucasus, adding that the only thing Kadyrov would receive from the promotion is honour. This clarifies everything. First, I did not know that Kadyrov was serving in the Interior Ministry and that he already had a military rank. Second, military ranks are conferred in the Russian Federation without the need to be in a relevant position or, as I said, to have the appropriate education. This increasingly resembles a military junta.
Friend of Putin
Interestingly, Putin already awarded Kadyrov the title of Hero of the Russian Federation. As the president explained later, Kadyrov deserved it because he was running a high risk in everyday life and also took part in various armed hostilities. Did the circus arrive? According to the Kremlin’s head, the leader of the Chechen Republic Kadyrov takes part in armed hostilities! Am I the only one who thinks that something must be wrong with the system if the leader has to take part in hostilities? In addition, if the title of Hero of the Russian Federation is awarded to people who run a risk in everyday life, then Russia has plenty of such heroes. And if the criteria for getting the award include running a risk and participating in hostilities, it would not be a surprise if Putin also awarded the title to Osama bin Laden.
If we look at the reason for awarding the title, then law No. 2553-I of 20 March 1992 “On Awarding Title of Hero of the Russian Federation and Golden Star Medal” stipulates that the title is given to individuals “for service to the Russian state and people usually associated with a heroic feat.” Putin’s justification for awarding Kadyrov the title is actually illegal.
What do Russian laws say about military ranks? Service in the National Guard is regarded as military service, and this procedure is set out in the Presidential Decree No. 1237 of 16 September 1999 “Procedure for Military Service.” The decree stipulates that a service person of the active service is transferred to a new army. Title and position require this. There are also certain periods during which a person should work in an appropriate position to get a promotion. Thus, Putin violated the decree in all possible and impossible ways. Russian legislation prohibits people, who are not in active military service, from receiving promotions.
What does Kadyrov say about all of these things? “I have always said it and will say it again: I am the most trusted infantryman of our president, I am ready to execute his most difficult orders on any continent of the world.” We can agree on one thing: Kadyrov is just a mere infantryman. So, what does he do among presidents and officers?
Zintis Znotiņš, independent journalist
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the editorial staff