Chechen Officials Threaten Kasparov

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 37 reported on September 25 that the Chechen parliament had filed a lawsuit against Garry Kasparov, the former chess champion and leader of the opposition United Civil Front, for putatively inflicting “moral damage” on Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov – in particular for “slander” and “insult.” The website reported that while answering questions from participants in “primaries” held by the Other Russia opposition coalition on September 23, Kasparov referred to Kadyrov as a “bandit.” Kommersant reported on September 26 that during the September 23 event, Kasparov recalled that the late Akhmad Kadyrov, the current Chechen president’s father who also served as the Chechnya’s president, was not only a Hero of Russia, but that Aslan Maskhadov, then-president of the separatist Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (ChRI), had earlier awarded the elder Kadyrov an “Honor of the Nation,” the ChRI’s highest decoration. In addition, Kasparov said he supported the idea floated by Andrei Dmitriev, leader of the National Bolshevik Party’s chapter in St. Petersburg, to hold a march against Ramzan Kadyrov in Grozny. Kasparov also called the president of Ingushetia, Murat Zyazikov, “an absolute nobody.”

The Chechen parliament’s decision to sue Kasparov came during a special session that it held on September 25. quoted Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov, the speaker of the parliament’s lower house, the People’s Assembly, as saying that parliamentary deputies and “the entire Chechen population” are “indignant at the escapades of Kasparov, who permitted himself to insult the president of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov.” “While Kasparov played chess and formulated his plans to make Russia ‘other,’ [to make] Russia for the West and not for Russia, Kadyrov was fighting for this Russia,” Abdurakhmanov said. “He proved on the battlefield that he is a true son of the Fatherland, a patriot of Russia. It is thanks to him and his father Akhmad Kadyrov that coffins have stopped arriving with the bodies of servicemen from all of the country’s regions. Thanks to him, what should have taken 15-20 years has been done in less than a year: Chechnya has been raised from the ruins. And Kasparov permitted himself to call this person a ‘bandit’.”

Abdurakhmanov accused Kasparov of trying to earn points in Russia’s presidential campaign – the Other Russia has picked Kasparov as its candidate for next year’s presidential election – and said that Kasparov’s campaign is based on “lies and slander.” Abdurakhmanov added: “He was born and grew up in the Caucasus and therefore should understand that in the Caucasus you have to answer for your words. I think that we will find legal methods to force Kasparov to do that.” on September 26 quoted Abdurakhmanov as saying: “Garry Kasparov should be imprisoned. If we do not achieve the consequences we want [for Kasparov] through federal law, we will resort to other measures. The Caucasus allows this, the Caucasus has its laws, and Kasparov will be punished for such liberties. He should be imprisoned, and, if not, we will punish him all the same.” The website quoted Nurdi Nukhazhiev, Chechnya’s human right ombudsman, as saying that besides legal measures, Kasparov could be punished by “other measures that are permitted in the Caucasus.” reported that Kasparov believes the comments of the Chechen officials amount to death threats. “I ask you to examine the given statements for corpus delicti, to give them a legal treatment and take measures of prosecutorial response,” Kasparov said in an official statement to the Prosecutor General’s Office. “I also ask that you provide me with … protection against threats by officials of the Chechen Republic.”

Kommersant, on September 26, quoted Kasparov as saying he refused to back down from his comments. “I am ready to repeat it once again: a person who is proud that he started killing ‘federals’ at age 15 is a bandit, and he remains one even if President Putin pins a hero’s star on him,” the former chess champion and opposition leader said.