Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 5

Apparently choosing to ignore the controversy swirling around him, Ramzan Kadyrov on January 25 joined Ksenia Sobchak, the socialite daughter of the late St. Petersburg Mayor Anatoly Sobchak, for the foundation-laying ceremony of a large water park in the Chechen town of Gudermes. The water park will commemorate the late President Ramzan Kadyrov’s other son, Zelimkhan, who died in a car accident only weeks after his father’s passing. Along with water-related attractions, it will include a movie theater, a fitness center, a bowling ally, a stadium and a park.

On January 27, Ramzan Kadyrov returned to the weightier issues of politics and security, complaining during a meeting with district heads in Grozny that certain administration chiefs in the southern Vedeno district pay kickbacks to the rebels, while some policemen in the district collaborate with them. “There are no schools, roads, or communications in the district,” Interfax quoted Kadyrov as saying. “Young men have no choice other than joining illegal armed units.” The Caucasus Times on January 28 quoted Kadyrov as saying “there is absolutely no government” in Vedeno, “neither administration nor police nor FSB nor GRU”; instead, there is “complete anarchy.” He charged that half the district’s police work for the rebels and that practically all local officials and power structure personnel either work for or aid them. “The bandits have their bases directly on the outskirts of villages,” Kadyrov said. “They live in caves, where they have equipped rooms, and nobody bothers them. In the villages, the schools do not operate, and the people don’t have work.”