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Russian MP proposes creating children’s branch of Chechen military unit

2 February 2024
Fighters from the Akhmat special military unit. Photo: Sergei Bobylev/TASS

A member of Russia’s lower house of parliament has suggested creating a national children’s association led by the Chechen Akhmat military unit. 

Dmitry Kuznetsov, a member of Russia’s State Duma Committee on International Affairs, made the suggestion on Wednesday on his Telegram channel. 

‘I don’t know a more inspiring modern example of friendship between peoples for young people than the Akhmat special forces. When there is no show and officialdom, but brotherhood’,  Kuznetsov wrote in his Telegram channel. 

He added that the unit was made up of 20% Chechens, while ‘the rest are representatives of the most diverse indigenous peoples of our country’.

Kuznetsov also shared a video of his son, Stepan Kuznetsov, speaking in favour of the proposition.

‘It would be such a gift to create a military-patriotic formation for children and youth under the name Akhmat for the joint education of young boys and girls of all nationalities. We want to learn together to defend our homeland like Akhmat’, said Kuznetsov’s son.

Kuznetsov claimed that the proposition was ‘about the friendship of peoples and education’, and unrelated to war. He gave the example of boys playing ‘war games’, and suggested that Russian fathers could ‘take an example from the education of young men in the Caucasus’. 

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‘On my own behalf, I will add that the participation of worthy Chechen (and other North Caucasian) men in the education of the younger generation of the entire country, our common children, is very important and necessary. Because it “takes a whole village” to raise one child’, said the Russian MP.

According to RFE/RL, Kuznetsov’s statement may be related to a similar initiative put forward by the conservative ‘Union of Fathers of Russia’ association in late December, in a meeting with writer and former MP Zakhar Prilepin. 

At the meeting, members of the group reportedly suggested that ‘the children of military volunteers and concerned citizens’ create a group for children and young people under the title of the ‘Akhmat Academy’. 

Daily Storm, a Russian pro-government Telegram channel, published a video from the meeting, in which Stepan Kuznetsov addresses Prilepin. 

‘We want to learn how to protect and develop our motherland together. We want to create a future for our country in which there will be peace and prosperity. We ask you to convey our dream to the Supreme Commander-in-Chief [Vladimir Putin]’, the child tells the writer at the meeting.

According to Dmitry Kuznetsov, Apti Alaudinov, commander of the Akhmat Special Forces unit, expressed his support for the proposition, stating that after taking part in the youth wing of Akhmat, even if young men work in housing and communal services, ‘they will be real statesmen’. 

Alaudinov is reported to have been involved in the torture of Ruslan Kutayev, a Chechen human rights activist, the execution of dozens of detainees in the republic, and the beating of the relatives of detained young people. In 2014, Alaudinov was added to the US’s Magnitsky sanctions list of individuals involved in human rights abuses or significant corruption.

Members of the Akhmat unit have also been accused of torturing activists within Chechnya.

Read in Georgian on On.ge.