One-Man Rule in Chechnya Fully Consolidated

Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 6 Issue: 183

President of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov

Chechnya yesterday (October 5) marked two holidays simultaneously: the birthday of President Ramzan Kadyrov, who turned 33, and Grozny City Day. In 2008, Grozny City Day was moved to coincide with the Chechen leader’s birthday. As the Kavkazsky Uzel website pointed out, Chechen officials explained the move at that time by saying that they wanted to express gratitude to Kadyrov for the “huge personal contribution” he had made to the rebuilding of the war-shattered Chechen capital.

Kadyrov’s press service reported yesterday that he had received birthday greetings from both President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who wished him “health, happiness, well-being, success in the reconstruction of Chechnya, and also stability and prosperity for the Chechen people.”

A “theoretical and practical” conference entitled “The Role of Ramzan Kadyrov in the Formation of Chechen Statehood” was held in Grozny yesterday. The highlight of the conference was a speech by Chechnya’s human rights ombudsman, Nurdi Nukhazhiev, who declared: “Ramzan Kadyrov together with the first president of the Chechnya Republic Akhmat-Khadhi Kadyrov represents a new type of Chechen statesman.” During the conference, the president of the Chechen Republic’s Academy of Sciences called Kadyrov “a striking ethno-national leader” whose goal is “the preservation and exaltation of his people by all possible means.”

A deputy in the Chechen parliament, Sultan Denilkhanov, delivered a paper entitled, “The Role of Ramzan Kadyrov in the Development of Islam in the Chechen Republic.” The parliamentarian discussed the Chechen president’s contribution to the revival of Muslim values in the republic, stating that Kadyrov’s activities were on such a large scale that they had not gone unnoticed by the international Islamic community: he noted that the Muslim Committee for Human Rights in Central Asia and the Union of Muslims of Kazakhstan had conferred the title “best Muslim statesman of 2009” on the Chechen president.

Kadyrov’s birthday was also marked by the opening of several new sites in the republic, including a large shopping mall in Grozny’s Leninsky district and a children’s hospital and another hospital, both in the Chechen capital. In addition, four new mosques were opened in Chechnya: one named after Sufi Sheikh Kunta-Haji Kishiev in the village of Kurchaloi, another in Tsentoroi (Kadyrov’s native village), a third on the territory of the Chechen presidential residence in the town of Gudermes and the fourth in the Berkat central market in Grozny.

A soccer match was also held yesterday on the territory of the Chechen branch of Russia’s state pension fund between teams comprised of Chechen governmental officials. According to Kavkazsky Uzel, all the participants received prizes in the form of sporting equipment.

The holiday culminated with fireworks in Grozny and Gudermes.

As Kavkazsky Uzel noted, Ramzan Kadyrov is not only Chechnya’s president, but also holds the titles of honorary member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences and veteran of physical education. He has received all the top honors of Chechnya and Russia (including the prestigious Hero of Russia award), is president of the Terek soccer club, president of the Chechen KVN (Club of the Happy and Inventive) League, chairman of the Akhmat Kadyrov regional foundation and head of the local branch of the United Russia party.

The website quoted a local observer –who understandably wished to remain anonymous– as saying that Kadyrov has established a one-man regime in Chechnya. All of the key posts in the republic are held by his relatives and close friends or people from his native village of Tsentoroi. With the disbanding of the Zapad and Vostok special units of the Russian General Staff’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), which were the sole remaining security structures not directly subordinated to Kadyrov, he now has total control of all security bodies in the republic.

The observer noted that all such security structures today are under the command of Kadyrov’s relatives or Tsentoroi natives. Chechen Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov is a Tsentoroi native, while the Chechen interior ministry’s so-called “oil regiment” and the Sever special forces battalion of the Russian interior ministry’s internal troops are headed by the Delimkhanov brothers, who are cousins of the Chechen president. Kadyrov recently announced that he has chosen Adam Delimkhanov to be his successor. Delimkhanov, who is a State Duma deputy, has been accused by the United Arab Emirates authorities of having organized the murder in Dubai of the former Vostok battalion commander Sulim Yamadaev.

Kavkazsky Uzel reported that even Chechens who on the whole give Kadyrov credit for rebuilding the republic nonetheless do not find his methods of rule acceptable, holding him responsible for large scale corruption and human rights abuses in the republic (, October 5).

Human rights activists have blamed Kadyrov for the murders of Memorial human rights group activist Natalya Estemirova in July and the head of the Chechen NGO “Save the Generation” Zarema Sadullaeva along with her husband Alik Dzhabrailov in August. Kadyrov has sued Memorial head Oleg Orlov for saying that he was responsible for Estemirova’s killing.