Poll Finds Grozny Residents Fear a New War

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 46

A poll conducted by the Caucasus Times news agency among 400 residents of the Chechen capital Grozny over November 5-11 found that 39 percent of the respondents think a new war in the republic is possible and 18 percent believe it is “quite possible,” the Caucasus Times reported on November 20. Only 12 percent said they were firmly convinced a new war is impossible in Chechnya, while 20 percent said it is “rather unlikely” and 11 percent said they do not know what will happen. “Many of the respondents said they based their pessimism about a new war on the actions of the incumbent head of the republic [Ramzan Kadyrov] whom they criticized for his arbitrary actions, for sacking officials from their posts without stating the reasons and for spreading a cult of personality of Kadyrov in the republic,” the Caucasus Times wrote.

The Caucasus Times said fears about another war in Chechnya may explain why 33 percent of the poll’s respondents said they intend to leave Chechnya and move permanently to another part of Russia or abroad, while 11 percent said they do not rule out the possibility of leaving the republic. Only 12 percent said they would definitely remain in the republic, while 35 percent said they were inclined to remain in the republic. According to the Caucasus Times, most of those who said they were thinking of leaving Chechnya were either young people who wanted to get an education outside the republic or Grozny residents who have not yet received financial compensation from the federal authorities for homes destroyed in fighting.

Almost half of the respondents in the Caucasus Times poll—48 percent—said the situation regarding murders and abductions in Chechnya has not changed during Ramzan Kadyrov’s presidency, while 16 percent said the situation has worsened and 14 percent said it has “rather worsened.” Only 13 percent said the situation regarding murders and abductions has improved under Kadyrov and 9percent said it has “rather improved.” Asked about the overall security situation in the republic, 39 percent of the respondents said it has not changed during Kadyrov’s presidency, 19 percent said it is better, 9 percent said it is “rather better,” 14 percent said it is worse and 7 percent said it is “rather worse.”

Asked about the socio-economic situation in Chechnya thus far during Kadyrov’s tenure, 30 percent said it has improved and 17 percent said it has “rather improved,” while 13 percent said it has worsened, 11 percent said it has “rather worsened” and 18 percent said it is unchanged.

According to the Caucasus Times, the preferences of those polled in Grozny regarding who should be Russia’s next president sharply differed from those expressed in polls taken in the capitals of neighboring republics. Thus while in both in Nazran, Ingushetia, and Nalchik, Kabardino-Balkaria, the most popular choice for Russia’s next president was the incumbent, Vladimir Putin (a plurality of Nazran respondents—39 percent—chose Putin, as did 56 percent of respondents in Nalchik), only 11 percent of those polled in Grozny picked Putin. In the Grozny poll, Putin came in fourth, behind Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov (32 percent), First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov (14 percent) and former Russian Supreme Soviet speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov (13 percent). None of those polled in Grozny said they wanted to see Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov as Russia’s president, the Caucasus Times reported.