One of Russia’s main concerns in Syria has always been that the anti-Assad rebels would eventually draw in and radicalize Russia’s own Chechen and Dagestani separatists, creating headaches down the road for Moscow. And though Vladimir Putin certainly seems to have gotten the upper hand in Syria—Assad continues to press his advantage on the battlefield unmolested by Western air strikes—this success has not made him any less paranoid. The WSJ reports that Putin’s main man in Grozny is doing some strategic purging:
The top immigration official in the predominantly Muslim southern Russian republic of Chechnya was fired after it was disclosed that his daughter had joined Syrian rebels trying to overthrow Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, officials confirmed Friday.Kremlin-backed Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov announced the firing on his Instagram account Thursday night, saying, “It’s no longer possible to trust” Asu Dudarkayev as the head of Chechnya’s regional migration service.
Russian officials may boast in private about what a pushover Obama was over Assad’s use of chemical weapons, but their real concern is over the southern belt of impoverished republics along the Caucasus and its many potential terrorists—especially with the Sochi Olympics mere months away.