Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 4 Issue: 32

In a surprising announcement, Khusein Dzhabrailov has withdrawn his candidacy for the presidency of Chechnya. The Moscow businessman, who had managed to win such potent endorsements as those of Bislan Gantemirov and Ruslan Khasbulatov, failed to give any substantive explanation for his decision. As reported on September 2 by the website, his office merely announced that he had “come to the conclusion that he can provide significantly greater service to society in his present role.”

Dzhabrailov told the website that he intends to use his financial and other resources to advance “dialogue” within the Chechen nation. One might also see in his words a hint that he did not want to risk the violence of the current election campaign: “The campaign is being conducted under extremely difficult conditions, each day people are disappearing and dying without a trace…”

According to’s sources, Dzhabrailov had a telephone conversation the night before his withdrawal announcement with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s chief of staff, Aleksandr Voloshin. One likely explanation, therefore, though did not specifically suggest it, is that Voloshin told the candidate that he would not be getting the support of the Kremlin (be it active or tacit) for which he had been hoping. Indeed, Voloshin may have actively pressured Dzhabrailov to drop out. In the volatile world of back door Moscow politics, it is entirely possible that the Putin administration earlier encouraged Dzhabrailov to enter the race but then reversed course.

Dzhabrailov’s withdrawal leaves only two major rivals to Akhmad Kadyrov in the presidential race. They are Moscow businessman Malik Saidullaev and Duma deputy Aslambek Aslakhanov. There are an additional eight minor candidates.

According to an August 19 article by Sanobar Shermatova in Moskovskie novosti, Saidullaev and Aslakhanov have made a deal with one another: Whichever of the two gets fewer votes in the first round of voting in October is supposed to throw his support to the one who gets more. Whether that deal will survive the withdrawal of Dzhabrailov remains to be seen.