Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 7 Issue: 24


Thousands of Chechens rallied in Grozny on June 14 in a demonstration marking the first 100 days of Ramzan Kadyrov’s tenure as Chechnya’s prime minister. “Kadyrov’s bearded face topped with a Che Guevara style beret scowled down on the march from dozens of posters, from Chechen flags, and from the t-shirts of the participants,” Reuters reported. The news agency quoted Saikhan Makhamev, whom it described as the leader of “the Kadyrov fan club,” as saying: “Chechen youth supports the course of Ramzan Kadyrov. Today’s act is another clear example. We will be active helpers in the resurrection of our war-shattered republic.” Reuters noted that the students who took part in the march were bussed in from all over Chechnya. It also quoted a Grozny resident who was observing the rally, Magomed Yedilkhanov, as saying that it was aimed at building support for Kadyrov taking over the republic’s presidency from Alu Alkhanov this autumn, after Kadyrov turns 30 and is thus constitutionally permitted to assume the post. “At first glance, this march shows the unity and determination of the people, but everything is being done to show Russia the power of Ramzan Kadyrov before the elections,” Yedilkhanov told Reuters. “He will be 30 soon, and this is a great advert for his electoral campaign.”


Interfax reported on June 12 that a serviceman of the newly formed Yug (South) battalion of the federal Interior Ministry’s Internal Troops and a policeman had been killed in two separate clashes with rebel gunmen in Chechnya over the preceding 24 hours. Citing “operational information,” the news agency reported that several gunmen were also killed or wounded in the clashes. Interfax reported on June 10 that the commander of an FSB border guard platoon was killed and another serviceman wounded when a bomb detonated in the town Itum-Kala. Earlier that day, another serviceman was wounded by an explosion near the village of Ushkaloi.


A message from Dagestan’s Sharia Jamaat posted on the separatist website on June 14 and attributed to Rappani Khalilov — described in the posting as “Emir Rabbani,” commander of the Dagestani Front — denied claims by Dagestani Interior Minister Aldigerei Magomedtagirov that two Dagestani rebels killed last month in a shootout with security forces in the town of town of Kizilyurt, Ibragim Ibragimov and Abdulmazhid Kabashilaev, had planned to seize a school there (Chechnya Weekly, May 18). “As we wrote earlier and confirm now, we deny such accusations, and also warn the population of Dagestan that the criminal regime of the FSB is purposefully preparing…terrorist acts against the peaceful population (near schools, kindergartens, markets, hospitals) like the terrorist act in Kaspiisk [on May 9, 2002], in order to accuse us, the Islamic jamaat, of carrying them out and that way slander the idea of Jihad in Dagestan.” It should be noted that the authorities blamed the bombing of the Victory Day parade in Kaspiisk on May 9, 2002, which killed 43 people, on Rappani Khalilov (Jamestown Foundation Monitor, May 13, 2002).