Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 9

“It’s a beautiful girl who should be praised – for her beauty and her figure. As for fear, if you’re a leader, people should fear you. Why? They should not be afraid of being beaten, but they should fear letting down the people who have given them their trust. This is what one should fear. And as for the personality cult, I found out about it just recently. I paid attention to it only after our handsome General Alu [Alkhanov] started talking about it.” —Acting Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, responding to a question about being the object of praise, fear and a personality cult, during an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s North Caucasus Service published on February 27.

“Among those kidnapped…the portion of those who have disappeared without a trace or have been murdered is dropping. From five out of six [in 2001]…to around 40 percent last year…These figures are horrible, but one cannot ignore the decrease. To a great extent, this has occurred as a result of the Chechenization of the conflict. Power – not the governmental power that one usually talks about, but the power to employ unlawful violence – was transferred, to a great degree, from federal structures to local force structures comprised of ethnic Chechens or federal force structures comprised of ethnic Chechens…They are murdering less, fewer people are disappearing. There are more trumped-up criminal cases. More cases [based on testimony extracted through torture] are then taken to court. This is bad, but it’s a different situation. The situation has been changing all the time. From bombardment and shelling in which people are killed, to zachistki, to kidnappings and disappearances. Today, it’s kidnappings, torture, and [rigged] criminal cases. I am not saying that they are always fabricated. There are real terrorists; there is a real terrorist underground that has to be fought. But there is torture, there [are] fabricated cases.” —Aleksandr Cherkasov of Memorial on Ekho Moskvy radio, February 27.