Kavkazky Uzel reported on May 31 that a number of observers in the North Caucasus believe that Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov’s call during his meeting with Kabardino-Balkaria Republic (KBR) President Arsen Kanokov earlier this month for the leaders of all the North Caucasian regions to meet monthly “to discuss the path forward” (Chechnya Weekly, May 17) is evidence that he is indeed seeking to become leader of the entire region. The website quoted Chechen political analyst Zaindi Choltaev as saying: “Yes, Kadyrov can be viewed as a transnational figure. He can easily explain his actions by the fact that events in Chechnya are connected to events in Dagestan and in the KBR.” Choltaev said that Kadyrov could present himself as “the most experienced person from the point of view of carrying out anti-terrorist measures in the northern Caucasus,” and that under the flag of fighting terrorism in the region, he can take the lead in resolving other economic and political threats. “Very often, anti-terrorist measures become an impulse for dealing with other completely unrelated political occurrences,” Choltaev said. “Remember that the events in Belsan led to the establishment of a completely different layout for Russia’s political system. Elections for the heads of the federation subjects were abolished…And the events in Beslan provided the basic impulse for such a decision.”
Moskovskie komsomolets wrote on May 21 that the Chechen authorities, backed by Moscow, are poised to impose a political merger on Ingushetia, with Kadyrov placing allies in key posts inside Ingushetia’s Interior Ministry and the two republics eventually merging into “a single Checheno-Ingush republic under Ramzan Kadyrov’s control.” Both Kadyrov and Ingush President Murat Zyazikov have denied such reports (Chechnya Weekly, May 24).