Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 9

During the course of an interview with the newspaper Novaya Gazeta (no. 20, 21 March), Akhmad Kadyrov, head of the pro-Moscow Chechen administration, complained that recent harsh repressive actions by the Russian power structures in Chechnya were de facto serving to replenish the ranks of the separatists. “We talked about this at the [February 27] meeting of the [Russian] Security Council,” he confided. “When people disappear from their families and no one will say where they are located, and then their relatives find their bodies, this gives birth to a minimum of ten new rebels. For this reason, the number of the rebels is not diminishing…. I said to him [Putin]: Why does not a single [Russian] general answer for what is being done during the ‘mopping up operations’? The president demanded that [such operations] cease!… I have no rights with regard to the military. I asked the president to give me such rights. Kazantsev greatly disliked that, and he said approximately this: What power does Kadyrov want in Chechnya? Sole rule?” To which Kadyrov responded in the interview: “A dictator is needed [in Chechnya] in the direct sense of the word…. If I were the dictator in Chechnya, I would not conduct any ‘mopping up operations.'”