Kadyrov Appoints, Decrees and Awards

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 16

On April 12, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov confirmed three deputy prime ministers who were earlier nominated by the republic’s parliament. According to ITAR-Tass, Adam Delimkhanov was named first deputy prime minister, Abdulkakhir Izrailov was named deputy prime minister and head of the presidential and governmental apparatus and Lema Magomadov was named deputy prime minister in charge of the social bloc. Delimkhanov is a close Kadyrov associate who previously held the post of deputy prime minister in charge of the republic’s law-enforcement structures. The reshuffle reduced the number of deputy prime ministers in the republican government from eight to three. Kadyrov appointed his cousin Odes Baisultanov as prime minister (Chechnya Weekly, April 12).

On April 18, Kadyrov signed a decree appointing four ministers who were nominated by the republic’s parliament the previous day, the Regnum news agency reported. Eli Isaev, Khasan Taimaskhanov, Abdulla Magomadov and Olguzur Abdulkarimov were appointed to the posts of finance minister, agriculture minister, economic development minister and industry minister, respectively. Kadyrov also signed a decree naming Khasan Lechkhadzhiev as minister of property and land relations, Lema Dadaev as minister of education and science, Shaid Akhmadov as minister of health and Akhmed Gekhaev as minister of construction. On the same day, Khusein Dhzabrailov resigned as the Chechen president’s special representative and was replaced by Bekkhan Taimaskhanov, who was previously the deputy authorized representative of the Chechen Republic under the Russian president, Interfax reported (Chechnya Weekly, April 12).

On April 15, Kadyrov conferred the republic’s highest award, the Golden Order of Kadyrov, to the head of the Chechen Republic’s traffic police, Shamkhan Delimkhanov, Newsru.com reported. The Chechen president said Delimkhanov had directly participated in special operations to eliminate “bandits and terrorists” in Chechnya’s Starpopromyslovsky district and had shown himself to be a “courageous officer” in operations conducted elsewhere in the republic. At the same time, Kadyrov called on the traffic police to impose order on the republic’s roads. “I recommended Delimkhanov to this post so that he would carry out the necessary reforms and achieve in getting things put in order on the republic’s roads and the streets of the cities and villages,” Kadyrov said. “It must not matter for us who violates the rules of the road – an official, an ordinary citizen or a person who considers himself wealthy and therefore a would-be master of the roads. Each person must bear the responsibility as stipulated by the law. Only then will the inhabitants of the Chechen Republic respect you.” Kadyrov handed over to Delimkhanov the keys to 24 automobiles outfitted with communications gear and other special equipment that he gave to the republic’s traffic police department at the beginning of April.

On April 14, during a meeting with members of his cabinet Kadyrov vowed to eradicate corruption in Chechnya, ITAR-Tass reported. “We must forget the word corruption in our republic,” he said. “We will fight this evil not fiercely but bitterly. We must eradicate this evil at all levels of power in Chechnya as soon as possible.” Prime Minister Odes Baisultanov, First Deputy Prime Minister Adam Delimkhanov, Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov and prosecutor Valery Kuznetsov attended the meeting.

Several leading political observers this week commented on the significance of Kadyrov’s formal accession as Chechnya’s president. A leading Chechen political analyst, Zaindi Choltaev, commented on Kadyrov’s cabinet reshuffle as well as his first decree, which approved a nationalities policy document that includes a call for a variety of economic preferences for the republic (Chechnya Weekly, April 12). “Ramzan Kadyrov’s signing of a decree on the Chechen Republic’s nationalities policy is connected with the desire to demonstrate that Chechnya is fully a part of Russia,” Kavkazky Uzel on April 16 quoted Choltaev as saying. Choltaev said that Chechnya’s demands for material compensation for the Stalin-era deportation of the Chechen people is a quid pro quo for refraining from demanding that Moscow sign a treaty on delimiting powers between Chechnya and the federal center (Chechnya Weekly, March 22).

“I think that these personnel rearrangements further strengthen the Kadyrov team,” Choltaev told Kavkazky Uzel. “There are pluses for him in that, of course. But there are also serious minuses, in the sense that the support of other forces in the republic is constricted. The entourage is becoming more clan-based and consists more and more of closely-connected people.” Choltaev said that Kadyrov is playing a double game by, on the one hand, trying to stress his loyalty to Moscow while, on the other hand, expressing his readiness to become a national leader and protector of the Chechen people. “Well, that’s for local consumption,” he said of Kadyrov’s nationalistic pronouncements.

Asked about the future direction of relations between Moscow and Grozny, Choltaev predicted that 2007 would be a year of relative calm. “In a certain sense, Chechnya is being forgotten,” he said. He added, however, that this is likely to change toward the end of this year when the federal parliamentary and presidential campaigns begin and “the current Chechen authorities will have to look closely at what kind of legacy it will leave the new Putin team.” Choltaev predicted that the “status quo” would also be maintained in the area of human rights in 2007. “It is possible that Ramzan Kadyrov, who has achieved supreme power in Chechnya, will now be more indulgent and tolerant,” Choltaev said. “It is possible that he has a fairly good entourage that will advise him that it is necessary to demonstrate not only the firmness and superiority of his course, but also to ensure that there is an opposition. If there is not one, then smart leaders themselves sometimes invent one.”

For his part, Sergei Markedonov, head of the International Relations department at the Institute for Political and Military Analysis, wrote in an analysis posted by the Apn.ru website on April 16: “Ramzan Kadyrov, today, is not a conventional regional leader. He is today the only public politician among the heads of the Russian regions – and also the only president of a republic – who has his own (albeit pared-down for the time being) foreign policy.”