Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 4 Issue: 28

The noted Moscow political commentator Andrei Piontkovsky offered a gloomy forecast in a July 25 round-table discussion hosted by the website “After the [Chechen] elections, events in Chechnya will develop in about the same way as they have already been developing over the last four years. One new factor will be the sharp increase in the role of Kadyrov’s military force…At any moment he may bare his teeth at Moscow; just when and in what form is still unknowable…”

Piontkovsky predicted that the Putin administration will be unable to repeat the scenario of Russia’s last presidential elections, which the then-unknown Putin won by sharpening the conflict with Chechnya. “The Russian public is no less tired of this war now than is the Chechen public, so Putin will instead play on the illusion of peace; that is why he is so desperately placing his stake on Kadyrov.” He suggested that the Russians and the Chechens have both dug themselves into a ditch of mutual hatred and bloodshed such that Chechnya cannot and will not be a normal part of the Russian Federation. Therefore, he said, “the situation that we are now observing will continue for decades to come even though it does not satisfy anyone.”