Although most analysts and commentators (myself included) continue to fret about the implications about a reemerging Russia it would seem that it continues to face significant internal challenges. This week saw issues in Chechnya return to the front page of many media outlets as schisms have erupted between some of the warlords running security inside the region. According to a Reuters article one of the Chechen commanders involved in the fighting has leveled accusations against the supposed pro-Kremlin Ramzan Kadyrov of preparing for open rebellion against Russian rule.
Since most of the security in Chechnya has been bought by paying bribes to local commanders such as Kadyrov it would seem that Russia has very little influence in the region. Most of the Russian soldiers in the region remain in their bases and all of local security is handled by private militia forces. The Chechen commander mentioned in the article claims that Kadyrov has simply been biding his time and is now in a position to openly rebel at any moment. He sites the increased clashes between security forces as evidence that conflict is about to erupt in the region. According to the reporter of the article most of the Chechen forces also enjoy privileged access to Russia's newest weapons as part of the bargain that keeps things quiet in Chechnya.
Little has been heard from the Kremlin on this issue. This should come as little surprise , however, as they would hate to give Kadyrov and his forces any reason to attempt a break away. This is especially true considering the fact that Russia has finally reemerged as a world player and a devastating internal conflict would certainly ruin these aspirations.
Maybe the US can learn a lesson from Russia's troubles. Apparently buying off a bunch of local warlords is not an effective means of governing a region in the long run. Current efforts in Iraq would suggest that the US has experienced great success with the 90,000 Iraqi volunteers that are funded by the US. But the Russian example would suggest that bribing and arming some locals will only work so long. It would seem that this strategy is about to fail big time in Chechnya.