Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 12

On March 21, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov met in Moscow with more than 100 leaders of the Chechen community living in other parts of Russia. Kommersant reported on March 22 that the community leaders expressed “full support” for Kadyrov, who promised to complete Chechnya’s reconstruction by the end of 2008 and asked them to participate in that process “actively.” The meeting was attended by, among others, presidential adviser Aslanbek Aslakhanov, Moscow Industrial Bank head Abubakar Arsamakov and other influential businessmen, including Vakha Agaev, Lema Kasaev and Ruslan Baisarov.

According to Kommersant, Kadyrov, during the meeting, took credit for the rebuilding efforts that have been undertaken in Chechnya to date, dismissing the federal role and insisting that when reconstruction was under federal management, “no more than 30 percent of the funds allotted from the budget reached the republic.” He added: “As a result, nothing was seriously reconstructed; huge amounts of money were simply squandered. For that, our republic was called a black hole, even though all that money disappeared not [in Chechnya], but in Moscow.”

Kadyrov told the Moscow meeting’s attendees that he did not intend to beg them for anything and that he was capable of handling Chechnya’s reconstruction himself. “You know, I’m not used to asking for anything,” he said. “I can get what I need independently and without outside help. I will, in any case, rebuild the republic whether you help or not. But my advice to you: be with your nation, help it to regenerate and you will be rewarded.” According to Kommersant, various attendees, including Ruslan Yamadev and Akhmar Zavgaev – both of whom are State Duma deputies representing Chechnya – as well as Federation Council member Musa Umarov and businessmen Vakha Agaev and Ruslan Baisarov, told Kadyrov that they believe in him and will support him in every possible way. According to the newspaper, Chechen People’s Assembly Speaker Dukvakha, who was also present, apparently sought to sway any remaining doubters among those assembled by telling them that “Ramzan is supported by Vladimir Putin and the Chechen people!”