Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 7

Writing in the February 14 edition of Moskovsky komsomolets, Vadim Rechkalov speculated that Moscow wants Ramzan Kadyrov out of the way as part of a plan to “buy” peace in Chechnya through the treaty on the delimitation of powers between Moscow and Chechnya, the drafting of which has reportedly been completed. “The project treaty on the delimiting powers between Chechnya and the federal center is already prepared and looks unfeasible,” he wrote. “All rights to land, the subsurface and plant resources are given to the republic for ten years. All taxes and levies are in the republican budget. Inhabitants don’t pay either for electricity or gas. The republic yearly receives a three billion-ruble [more than $100 million] credit. Every Chechen who suffered from Stalin’s repressions (meaning everyone born before 1944) will each be paid 150,000 rubles [around $5,300]. The National Bank [of Chechnya] will get permission to create and register enterprises, including joint ventures with foreigners. It is possible that the project will be redacted before it is signed, but its sense is clear. They want to buy peace in Chechnya…

“Long-suffering Chechnya is worthy of such an approach: in Grozny the sewer system alone will take 50 years to restore under normal financing. The only problem is that the money can be stolen – to the last kopek. Turning Chechnya into a ‘region of intensive economic development’ will only have meaning given strict control over the situation. Absolute transparency and tough, concentrated power. Ramzan Kadyrov, as a source of dual power, does not fit in with this scheme. Therefore they are trying to oust him from the leadership before the signing of the treaty.”

Some observers, however, suggest that the treaty will be provide new opportunities for corrupt Chechen and federal officials to enrich themselves regardless of whether Ramzan Kadyrov is on the scene. “Moscow is prepared to resign itself to the unbridled appetites of Chechen officials and, even more than that, forbid interference by the federal power structures in the republic’s life,” wrote Abdulla Istamulov in an article posted on the Moskovskie novosti website, Mn.ru, on February 11. “In practice, that means granting certain guarantees of immunity to the Chechen elite. There are several reasons for this. Above all, Russian military officials, staff of the Interior Ministry, the FSB, prosecutors – in a word, all of the agencies which have specialists working in Chechnya – are also involved in very specific economic activities in Chechnya. What is more, they already established partial control over deliveries of oil products from the republic even before the administration of [Akhmad] Kadyrov was formed.” According to Istamulov, many experts believe that Akhmad Kadyrov’s assassination might have been the result of a fight between corrupt officials over economic “spheres of influence,” not a separatist attack.

Chechen President Alu Alkhanov said on February 5 that the draft of the treaty on the delimiting powers between Chechnya and the federal center is being worked on by the republican commission and another “ad hoc body” set up under the auspices of President Putin’s enovy to the Southern Federal District, Dmitry Kozak, RIA Novosti reported.