Keeping up with the battle in Ukraine? Then you must know of a man named Ramzan Kadyrov. No? Well, that's because he's the Instagram dictator staying in the background, behind the curtain, asking people to pay no mind to the Chechen military fighters he might be ordering over to fight for Russia.
Ramzan Kadyrov is the president of Chechnya, a Russian republic situated in the North Caucasus region. Multiple reports from Russia, Chechnya and Ukraine suggest that there is Chechen military involvement in the eastern part of Ukraine, fighting on the pro-Russia side. While the number of Chechens in Ukraine is hard to gauge and their existence difficult to prove, even a small number could have a deep significance.
To understand why this is important, one must first understand how Russia (and many of its supporters) plays ball. In a word? Subversively.
"What's going on with Ukraine is a classic covert operation," says OZY contributor and former deputy director of the CIA John McLaughlin. "The Russians probably won't have to go in militarily with special forces because they are gradually stirring it up, co-opting it." Multiple Russian experts assume that what we see on television from Ukraine has been influenced by Vladimir Putin's intervention.
The secret players in the Russia-Ukraine game