Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 16

“My goal is to return a smile to Chechnya.” — Ramzan Kadyrov, as quoted in Moskovsky komosomolets on April 26.

“The ‘Kadyrov Jr.’ project has been going on for almost a year. Judging by formal indications, it is going as well as possible. The formations of the first deputy premier of the Chechen government are actively fighting against the separatists. Their commander, and not the president of the republic Alu Alkhanov, represents Chechnya as part of the Russian Federation on the federal and international levels. Judging by reports, things are going so well that Ramzan Kadyrov can permit himself not only to fight, but also to visit the most fashionable Moscow clubs. And, of course, the first deputy premier is always a welcome guest in the Kremlin. The crown of the goodwill toward Kadyrov Jr. was the Hero of Russia award conferred on him. Through the glossy photograph of the patriot and order holder, however, there appears another, much less pleasant personage. Today, Ramzan Kadyrov informally controls all of the economic aid that comes into the republic from the center. Under his command are large, well-armed formations accountable only to him. Support from the Kremlin exempts the first deputy premier from any kind of controls or oversight…Today the very idea that Ramzan Kadyrov can hang up his ax, ceding his position to another person, looks quasi-fantastic. Tomorrow it will be even less possible. By allowing Kadyrov everything, the federal authorities are forgetting that the first leader of the separatists, Djokhar Dudaev, received blessings to start his political career from the Russian leadership, which considered the dashing general the best candidate to purge Checheno-Ingushetia’s Communist authorities.” — from a commentary published by the gazeta.ru website on April 21.