Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov on January 30 denounced Yuri Budanov, the former Russian army colonel and tank commander who was recently released from prison after serving eight years of a 10-year sentence for the murder of Elza Kungaeva, an 18-year-old Chechen woman.
In an interview with the Regnum News Agency, Kadyrov called Budanov a “schizophrenic and murderer” and an “avowed enemy of the Chechen people,” adding: “He insulted our people. Every man, woman and child believes that as long as Budanov exists, we will not get rid of our shame. He has abused the honor of all Russian officers. How can one defend him? What judge would release him? He has dozens of human lives on his conscience. I think the federal center will make the correct decision, which is life imprisonment. And that is not enough for him. But a life term will at least ease our suffering a little. We cannot tolerate insults. If a decision is not taken, then the consequences will be bad. I will do everything I can—write, knock on doors—to see he gets what he deserves. And our army, our strong army of a strong state, must also cast off this shame”
In the same interview, Kadyrov said he believed that there are forces aiming to divide society and that the murder last month of Stanislav Markelov, the lawyer who represented Kungaeva’s family, could have been committed by “provocateurs, nationalists or Budanov’s supporters.” Kadyrov added that “there should not be any nationalists in Russia, which is a multi-ethnic state,” and that were he the leader of Russia, he would pass a law in the State Duma designating all nationalists as terrorists. “They are inhuman, worse than terrorists,” Kadyrov said in reference to Russian nationalists.
In the Regnum interview, Kadyrov also said, among other things, that Russia should be wary of Georgia, stating that Georgia is “under the wing” of the United States and warning that groups could be formed in Georgia along its border with Russia and “create problems.” He also said that life “cannot go on” in Georgia as long as Mikheil Saakashvili is its president. In addition, Kadyrov said that while countries of the Arab and Muslim world had previously accused Russia of fighting against Muslims and Islam in Chechnya, Chechnya today has become “the heart of Russian Islam.” Kadyrov added: “We have opened a great mosque and we have an all-Russian Islamic institute. We have opened their eyes. After the construction of the mosque, the Islamic states started to see Russia in a different light. People started to come here. The Palestinian president [Mahmoud Abbas] recently paid a visit and other high-ranking visitors are due to come here.”
Meanwhile, the Moscow Times reported on February 3 that Kadyrov was on hand the previous day for the opening of a Muslim clinic in Grozny where doctors say they will treat those possessed by demons. The English-language newspaper cited the Rosbalt News Agency, which quoted Chechnya’s mufti, Sultan Mirzaev, as saying that the Center of Islamic Medicine will treat up to 80 patients a day by reading them prayers and chapters from the Koran, all free of charge. Kadyrov, for his part, said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony that the center will treat people with methods used in the republic for centuries, the Moscow Times reported.