Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 4 Issue: 21


Police officials from the Kadyrov administration took an emergency trip to the town of Kislovodsk in southern Russia this week to try to extricate a colleague from scandal. Zelikhman Kadyrov, the 29-year-old son of administration head Akhmad Kadyrov, was arrested during the night of June 4-5 by the local Kislovodsk police for allegedly trying to rape a woman in a local hotel and then starting a gunfight. The young Kadyrov is himself a senior police official, at least on paper: He works in his father’s personal bodyguard, which is headed by his brother Ramzan and is widely seen as the administration head’s “personal army.” According to the website Gzt.ru, the Kislovodsk authorities have formally opened a criminal case against Zelikhman.

Strikingly, the pro-Kremlin website Utro.ru covered the story by citing an article from the dissident newspaper Novaya gazeta–yet another sign of the strong anti-Kadyrov feeling within some circles in the Russian government. According to the Utro article, the clash with the Kislovodsk police is not the young Kadyrov’s first such episode: Last autumn he was able to use his family connections to smooth over an arrest in the town of Argun in central Chechnya. Utro suggested that these connections might now prove effective even outside Chechnya.

Nevertheless, according to the Novaya gazeta report, as of June 8 attempts by the Chechen administration to win Zelikhman Kadyrov’s release had not succeeded. This was despite the fact that the administration’s deputy minister of the interior, together with four colleagues from Chechnya’s security organs, had personally visited Kislovodsk for that purpose. Novaya gazeta referred to an episode earlier this spring, when the young Kadyrov drew his pistol and opened fire during a wedding celebration in a Moscow restaurant–“but the police in the capital turned out to be more pliant than those of Kislovodsk to his celebrated father.”

The website Gzt.ru reported on June 10 that, according to documents found by the Kislovodsk police on the persons of the young Kadyrov and his companions from Chechnya, they were in town for a four-week business trip. The documents did not specify the goals of this trip. But according to the Gzt.ru account: “The arrested men themselves explained that they had come merely in order to take a rest and improve their health. True, they began their rest-cure with a round of the local bars and restaurants…”

According to Novaya gazeta, the Kislovodsk police found narcotics in Zelikhman Kadyrov’s hotel room. Chechnya’s deputy minister of the interior told the Russian television network TVS that the young Kadyrov had become the target of a “political provocation.” The website Grani.ru commented that the attempts of the Chechen authorities to remove Zelikhman from the normal legal process in Kislovodsk were manifestly illegal, based on the assumption that the young Kadyrov must automatically be treated as above suspicion and exempt from legal responsibility.