Putin ally urges Russia’s Chechen Muslims to launch ‘jihad’ attacks in Europe

Russiathe Chechen Muslim population should carry out “a great jihad” against Europe in favor of Russia war in ukraineurged a prominent Kremlin ally.

“Do you remember the rally in Grozny against the cartoons of our beloved Prophet? Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov wrote on social media. “The same forces that insulted the best of people are now fighting against us in Ukraine. … The protesters in Grozny have threatened to go to Europe and deal with the offenders. Where are these heroes?”

Kadyrov, a longtime ally of the Russian president Vladimir Poutine, made the call as Russian troops continue to suffer heavy casualties from a Ukrainian counteroffensive in eastern and southern Ukraine. And his characterization of the war as a “jihad” was part of a broader Russian attempt to frame the war in religious terms, as Putin’s team began to portray the Ukrainian government and its Western supporters as a force “ satanic”.

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“I believe that with the continuation of the special military operation, it becomes more and more urgent to proceed with the de-satanicism of Ukraine,” Deputy Secretary of the Russian Security Council Aleksey Pavlov said on Tuesday.

Kadyrov acknowledged that he was “deeply unhappy with the current situation”, but insisted on his call to arms.

“It’s a big jihad that everyone should take part in,” he said. said.

This call, like the awards and promotions Putin has given Kadyrov and other Chechen officials, underscores how Putin’s relationship with Chechnya has changed over the year. Putin consolidated power in the Kremlin by launching a war in Chechnya, which he justified by blaming Chechen terrorists for a series of now widely publicized apartment bombings. perceived as having been orchestrated by Putin’s associates within the FSB.

Kadyrov would find it difficult to stage a terrorist attack in Western societies, according to a senior Western official. “Even though there are [Chechens] somewhere in Europe, so they are closely watched,” an ambassador to NATO said. Washington Examiner.

The Chechen and Kremlin rhetoric builds on Putin’s assertion that “Western elites…are coming to resemble ‘religion upside down’ – pure Satanism”, an allegation he made just in time. when he was signing documents formalizing his request to annex several partially occupied Ukrainian territories. in the Russian state.

“Unveiling false messiahs, Jesus Christ said in the Sermon on the Mount, ‘By their fruits you will know them,'” Putin said. “These poisonous fruits are already evident to people and not just in our country, but also in all countries, including many people in the West itself.”

Putin has invoked the common religious tradition of Orthodox Christians in Russia and Ukraine for years, but his attempt this year to overthrow Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has drawn strong condemnation from the public. preeminent global Orthodox leader in Istanbul and prompted many Ukrainian churches to sever their ties with the Russian Orthodox Church.

“Over the past few days, the Russian Federation has significantly intensified the execution of acts of terror and genocide against the Ukrainian civilian population, using a vast and extensive arsenal of missile weapons,” the Ukrainian Council said. churches and religious organizations. wrote Last week. “More than two hundred Iranian-made cruise missiles and kamikaze drones struck peaceful Ukrainian towns and villages, which cannot be justified by military necessity.”

This organization, which has called Putin an “insidious and unprincipled enemy”, includes both the Independent Orthodox Church of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – the institution which continues to be under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church.

“All who participate in these brutal attacks on peaceful cities, both the leaders who issue orders and the direct executors, and all who justify acts of inhuman cruelty, must know that they will be answered before the God Almighty and punished for their crimes,” Ukrainian religious leaders also said earlier in October.

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill is a staunch supporter of Putin and the war, but Western leaders hope religious institutions can put pressure on the Kremlin.

“We know well how the Orthodox religion is being manipulated today by those in power in Russia to justify their actions,” French President Emmanuel Macron said. said Last week. “Resistance is needed here.”

The Kremlin, however, seems keen to label the war a joint Orthodox-Muslim war against the West. Pavlov, the head of the Russian Security Council, has invoked Kadyrov and Chechen leaders are calling for the “complete de-chaitanization” of Ukraine. (Shaitan, in some Islamic mythologyis a name for demonic spirits.)

“Each region and Ukraine as a whole is our Russian territory,” Kadyrov said. “I give you my word: we will attack them every day. We will not take these shaitans prisoners. We will burn them. We won’t stop anywhere.

The message, earthy as it is, points to the lack of manpower torment the Russian army as their losses mount.

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“Kadyrov is the most aggressive in the public space, but he also loses his fighters,” the NATO ambassador said. “Kadyrov sends his guys to the front, to Ukraine, and there they are killed in large numbers.”

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