Kadyrov Sworn In as Chechnya’s President

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 14

Ramzan Kadyrov was officially sworn-in as Chechnya’s president on May 5 in Gudermes. According to Russian news agencies, Kadyrov recited the oath of office in Russian, swearing on copies of the Russian and Chechen constitutions and the Koran. More than 2,000 guests and journalists gathered for the ceremony, including practically all the governors and republic leaders of the Southern Federal District. Foreign guests included ambassadors and other officials from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria and Romania.

Earlier, ITAR-Tass quoted Chechnya’s Minister of National Policy, Press and Information Movsur Ibragimov, a member of the inaugural organizing committee, as saying that the official swearing-in ceremony was to last for two hours, after which an official lunch would follow. He said that more than 1,500 guests and 500 officials had been invited to the ceremony, which would be covered by around 200 Russian and 70 foreign journalists. According to Interfax, among the invited guests were the leaders of the neighboring republics, including the unrecognized breakaway Georgian republic of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, top officials of Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, top officials of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Muslim Spiritual Board, and European and Middle Eastern ambassadors. Members of the inaugural committee said Grozny’s recently re-opened airport would be working at a record pace, with ten passenger planes with guests expected from Moscow alone. It was not certain that former Chechen President Alu Alkhanov would attend the ceremonies given that relations between him and Kadyrov had become very tense in the months before his resignation and replacement by Kadyrov, Vremya novostei reported on April 5.

The newspaper reported that while the final price tag for the scheduled inaugural ceremonies was unknown, it was known that something about 16 million rubles (around $615,000) from the republican budget would be spent on them. According to the inauguration’s organizers, that sum would be enough to feed and house the guests. The rest of the costs would be covered by the Akhmad Kadyrov Foundation.

Newsru.com quoted the head of the Chechen governmental and presidential apparatus, Abdulkakhir Izrailov, as saying that following the inauguration, the members of the Chechen cabinet will tender their resignations and that certain “structural changes” are possible in the new cabinet of ministers. “The formation of the government will be carried out in the shortest possible period,” he said. “We cannot allow ourselves to delay this process when over 1,000 objects are at the stage of being reconstructed, not to mention other complicated tasks, which the government must take up.”

Security measures were tightened in Chechnya ahead of the inauguration, with a special operational headquarters set up for this, headed by the republic’s deputy Interior Minister, Akhmed Yasaev. The republic’s police were deployed in increased numbers around all government buildings and patrols were stepped up, not only in Grozny, but also in other cities in districts across Chechnya, and both Interior Ministry personnel and army servicemen were deployed for this purpose. Reuters reported on April 5 that police had sealed off the center of Grozny and that the road from the airport was lined with armed police on both sides, while armed guards were stationed around Kadyrov’s villa near Gudermes.