Kadyrov Again Invited Zakaev to Return to Chechnya

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 10 Issue: 9

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has yet again called on Akhmed Zakaev, the London-based prime minister of the separatist Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (ChRI), to return home. Interfax on March 3 quoted Kadyrov as telling reporters that Zakaev no longer represents anyone in London and that “Ichkeria is long gone” and “will never exist again,” and therefore he is offering Zakaev the chance to return home to live “with his relatives and loved ones and contribute to “the common cause of reviving the republic.” Kadyrov added: “Zakaev’s former colleagues say he is a normal, sane person, and I am confident that he should do what he does best and can do best.”

Kadyrov previously invited Zakaev, formerly an actor to return and work in Chechnya’s Ministry of Culture or act in the Grozny Theater. Zakaev has rejected the offer (North Caucasus Weekly, February 12).

Interfax further quoted Kadyrov as saying: “Naturally, any negotiations and discussions of any problems are out of the question. Zakaev should know it and the other people, who call themselves representatives of Ichkeria in Europe, should know it. If Zakaev wants to come back, we will take him back. He is a Chechen, he was born here and grew up here, and I do not want the name of Zakaev to be seen as the name of Russia’s enemy anymore. He has to come back and stand together with those who are rebuilding the republic.”

Kadyrov said that Chechen rebel leader Dokka Umarov should either “kill himself” or “face trial if he considers himself innocent,” Interfax reported. The Chechen president said young people coaxed by Umarov and his allies to join the rebels are subsequently killed or captured, while rebel ideologist Movladi Udugov and “people like him” fled Chechnya at the start of the wars in the republic, “hid their families in secure places” and then called on those remaining in Chechnya to fight. “Those young men died, and the Udugovs did not get a scratch,” Kadyrov said. He also called on Udugov to shut down the Kavkaz-Center, the radical website that Udugov set up.