CONTROLLING CHECHNYA’S TEMPORARY LEGISLATURE
Like Vladimir Putin, Akhmad Kadyrov believes that the right kind of parliament is one that obeys the executive chief. The recent first session of the newly formed State Council of Chechnya, which will function in effect as the republic’s legislature until parliamentary elections can take place next year, showed that Kadyrov is firmly in control.
The State Council consists of forty-two members, twenty-one of whom are the heads of the republic’s eighteen administrative districts and three largest cities (Grozny, Gudermes and Argun). Thus, Kadyrov’s recent shakeup of the executive branch, in which he fired all the local mayors and administrative heads but then reappointed most of them, immediately guaranteed that he would have the loyalty of half the legislators. With that as his foundation, Kadyrov has more than enough levers for pressuring and cajoling the Council’s remaining twenty-one members to be confident that he will always have a substantial majority.
At its opening session on June 21, the State Council elected as its chair Khusein Isaev, representative of the Itum-Kalinski district and head of the Chechen branch of the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Property. One of Isaev’s first public announcements after assuming his new post was to endorse Kadyrov’s candidacy in the republic’s forthcoming presidential election.