ISW: Prigozhin and Kadyrov want to shift the responsibility for the failure in Bakhmut to the Russian army

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ISW: Kadyrov may use involvement in Bakhmut operation to improve his reputation
11:29, 07.05.2023

Vagner PMC chief Yevgeny Prigozhin and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov may be seeking to present regular Russian troops and the Russian Defence Ministry in an unfavourable light and set the stage for blaming them in case of failures near Bakhmut.

The AmericanInstitute for War Studies (ISW) said in aMay 6 report.

Prigozhin's decision to hand over responsibility for Bakhmut to "Kadyrov forces" deliberately excludes Russian airborne troops, which are already operating on the northern and southern flanks around Bakhmut. "This decision reflects Prigozhin's continued distrust of the Russian military command, positions him as independent of the Russian military establishment and allows him to 'save face' if Wagner forces fail to capture Bakhmut and avoid a repeat of the Soledar capture, when the Russian Ministry of Defence attributed to itself what Prigozhin said was Wagner's success," the report said.

According to ISW experts, Prigozhin is trying to attribute the battle for Bakhmut only to Wagner's forces, and now to Kadyrov's, in order to capitalise on his own popularity. At the same time, Kadyrov's participation in such a major event could improve his reputation.

If Chechen fighters experience similar difficulties as the Wagner PMC mercenaries and are unable to fully capture Bakhmut, Prigozhin and Kadyrov may accuse the Ministry of Defense of failing to adequately support their efforts, analysts say

However, if the Russian Defence Ministry prevents replacement of Wagner with Akhmat forces, it is possible that the ringleaders will start to argue that if the Russian Defence Ministry supported this initiative, the Chechen forces "would have quickly seized Bakhmut.

At the same time, the Russian Ministry of Defence has not yet commented on the coordination of Prigozhin's and Kadyrov's views on Bakhmut.

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Olena Tkalich

Expert on women's rights, persons with disabilities, motherhood in the modern context, health care reform, education and social welfare.