Publication: Monitor Volume: 7 Issue: 111

Some observers say that the Kremlin’s power in Chechnya has weakened to such a degree that even the few Chechens who oppose the republic’s separatists have started to reject cooperation with Moscow (see the Monitor, June 7). This observation received fresh confirmation yesterday from Akhmad Kadyrov, head of the pro-Moscow administration in Chechnya. “I will not be surprised if all the heads of local administrations hand in their resignations tomorrow,” Kadyrov told journalists in Djohar (Grozny), the Chechen capital, after returning there from Moscow. “The heads of the population centers, police officials, religious officials are being murdered daily, and we have done nothing to protect them.” According to Kadyrov, the situation is becoming more difficult with each passing day.

The Chechen administration chief was sharply critical of the activities of the local village and town police units formed a half a year ago. “The police are protecting only themselves, hiding behind concrete slabs on the outskirts of the villages rather than catching bandits,” Kadyrov claimed. “They are finding only spent cartridges, not criminals and murderers. Everyone who decided to contribute to restoring peace and stability in Chechnya, including myself, has been sentenced to death” (Russian agencies, June 7).

Meanwhile, General Gennady Troshev, commander of the North Caucasus Military District, has commented on the scandal caused by his recent statements, including the call for public executions of Chechen rebels and for rewards to be given to those who provide information leading to the capture of Chechen rebel commanders (see the Monitor, June 7). In an interview aired on NTV television, Troshev essentially confirmed his previous statements, but emphasized that he made the suggestions “simply as a person,” not in his official capacity. It is “necessary to find a way out of this war, which no one needs. Putting up rewards for the ringleaders of the [rebel] bands is one way of ending the war,” the general said, adding that the rebels alone were to blame for the ongoing conflict. As for his suggestion that Chechen rebels be publicly executed, Troshev noted that it is sometimes unclear following a court verdict whether the sentence will be carried out. “Public hanging of terrorists would be graphic for the other bandits,” he said. “I’m not suggesting punishing all of them in a row.” Any means were justified, he said, that might lead to the desired result–ending the war and restoring peace in Chechnya (NTV, June 7).

The fact that Troshev said he was only expressing his private view when he made his controversial suggestions does not change the fact that the Chechen military operation is being led by people who are ready to use any means whatsoever. It should be remembered that both Troshev and Vladimir Shamanov, the former Russian military commander in Chechnya who is now Ulyanov Oblast governor, have publicly defended Yury Budanov, the Russian tank commander accused of murdering a Chechen girl.