NEWSWATCH: “Chechnya: Russia’s Islamic State? Troubled republic in secular Russia has been thoroughly ‘Islamized’ by staunch Putin ally” – Wall Street Journal/YAROSLAV TROFIMOV
In theory, Chechnya – though overwhelmingly Muslim – is an integral part of the secular Russian Federation, governed by the same laws as Moscow. In practice, however, this North Caucasus republic of 1.4 million people, ravaged by two wars of secession, lives under very different rules.
Under strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, a former rebel who has become a fervent ally of … Putin , Chechnya underwent a striking Islamization …. Most women [in] Grozny … wear the Islamic hijab, a dress code until recently enforced by drive-by paintball shootings. * * * … his authority near-absolute in Chechnya … Kadyrov has also become a force in Russia’s national politics, in part because of running a largely autonomous security force – several veterans of which are now on trial on charges of killing Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in Moscow in 2015. Critics of Mr. Kadyrov already draw parallels between his mountain fief and Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.