Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 9 Issue: 4

– Chechens Unhappy Street Renamed for Russian Paratroopers

According to Prague Watchdog, many residents of Chechnya are less than happy about the Grozny administration’s recent decision to change the name of Ninth Line Street in the Chechen capital’s Staropromyslovsky district to “84 Pskov Paratroopers Street,” in memory of the 84 Russian paratroopers killed in a battle with Chechen rebel fighters in the republic’s mountainous Shatoi district in February 2000. “In 1994 the Russian army came to us to ‘restore constitutional order’ and left two years later, having killed and maimed tens of thousands of people,” one Chechnya resident, Kharon Dikaev, told the website. “In 1999 they returned and carried out another massacre here, killing, maiming and abducting far more people than in the ‘first war.’ It’s no secret that the forces who handed out the most brutal treatment to the population were precisely the soldiers of the special divisions—the paratroopers, spetsnaz, OMON riot police and so on. And now the naming one of the streets of our capital city in their honor is, I believe, a genuine blasphemy and mockery of our people. This is a most shameful step by the city authorities.”

– Kadyrov Praises Putin and his Taste in Successor

In an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio on January 30, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, who was one of the most ardent backers of President Vladimir Putin remaining in office and even said he should be made president-for-life, praised Putin’s presumptive heir, First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. “He is one of the people closest to Putin,” Kadyrov said. “He worked with him, they know one another, they speak the same language.” Stating that Putin picked the “right person” to continue his policy, Kadyrov predicted that Putin in his new role as prime minister will complete what he set out to do “and we will have the most prosperous nation in the world and, as he said, we will be among the top ten or five or three of the best, and will be leading among nations in all respects.” Kadyrov concluded: “This is my conviction; I am sure that if he said it, it will be achieved.”