These assignments, according to numerous reports, often involve racketeering and killing Kadyrov’s rivals and critics. For example, Chechen oppositional figure Ibragim Yangulbaev claims
that Delimkhanov personally killed Salman Tepsurkaev, a 19-year-old boy who was abducted and tortured for publicly criticizing Kadyrov in 2020.
It is universally believed that Delimkhanov was also involved in the assassination of the leader of the independent Chechen military unit Gorets
(“mountaineer”) Movladi Baisarov, who had refused to pledge loyalty to Ramzan Kadyrov even though he had served his father. Baisarov, an FSB colonel who was honored by Putin personally with a visit to him in the hospital after he was wounded in 2002 while guarding Akhmad Kadyrov, was assassinated in Moscow during a special operation allegedly orchestrated
by Delimkhanov in 2006.
Delimkhanov is universally believed to have been involved in the killings of the Yamadayev brothers, who were potential rivals of Kadyrov. Recall that Duma Deputy Ruslan Yamadayev was gunned down in the center of Moscow, while his younger brother Sulim, who fled the country out of fear for his life, was subsequently killed in Dubai. Local police directly accused Delimkhanov of involvement in these crimes
This record makes Delimkhanov not only a proven criminal but also a plausible candidate to replace Kadyrov. Despite his limited political activity while in the Duma, he has demonstrated a willingness to carry out extrajudicial “orders” and thus can be easily controlled by the Kremlin through blackmailing. His brothers and close relatives, who command various military units within Kadyrov’s forces, further strengthen his candidacy.
The second likely candidate is Magomed Daudov, known by the nickname
“Lord.” His biography mirrors that of Delimkhanov, as Daudov also switched allegiances at the start of the Second Chechen War, which, according to one version, earned him his moniker. Though Daudov’s government career has not gone beyond the borders of Chechnya, within the region he has been a most intimidating figure. Currently serving as the speaker of Chechnya’s regional parliament, Daudov is responsible for controlling Chechen social media, both domestically and internationally.
Daudov played a role in the brutal persecution
of LGBTQ individuals in Chechnya and was rumored to be involved in the assassination of Kadyrov’s opponents in Europe. Like Delimkhanov, he holds the title of Hero of Russia (one of the highest awards in Russia) and is under EU and US sanctions. However, he has neither a military unit under his direct control nor close relatives in command of military units to support him in the event of an internal conflict or a palace coup. While the team
around him is substantial, its loyalty has limits, and it is doubtful that he could count on unwavering support.
The final candidate on this list is Abuzayed Vismuradov, known in the region by his nom de guerre
“Patriot.” In terms of character and behavior, out of the three candidates he most closely resembles Ramzan Kadyrov. In fact, Vismuradov and Ramzan were classmates and friends, and there is no evidence to suggest that “Patriot” ever betrayed him.
Unlike the other candidates, Vismuradov is not a “Hero of Russia.” Neither does he carry the baggage of fighting for the separatist side in the First Chechen War. He was and has remained aligned with the Kadyrovs. His primary responsibility is Ramzan’s security
– commanding a capable military unit that Ramzan can trust and rely on. Out of the three candidates, Vismuradov is the least outspoken and likely the most ruthless. Though he rarely makes public threats, which Delimkhanov and Daudov are notorious for, it is widely known that he has been behind
many cases of abduction and torture in Chechnya.
None of the discussed candidates are direct relatives of Kadyrov, but all of them possess the characteristics required to replace him: cruelty, unwavering loyalty to Putin and a resolve to hold on to power. Still, it is Putin who will have the final say.No talk of succession in Chechnya
In Chechnya, there is a conspicuous lack of open discussion regarding Kadyrov’s health or candidates to replace him.