Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 7 Issue: 31

On July 29, Chechnya’s parliament voted to propose constitutional changes that would allow President Vladimir Putin to run for a third term. According to the Associated Press, the Chechen lawmakers voted unanimously for a measure that called on the State Duma to seek the removal of a constitutional restriction limiting the Russian president to two consecutive terms in office and asked legislatures in other regions to support their initiative. On July 19, Interfax reported that Chechen President Alu Alkhanov had sent an official letter to the Chechen parliament asking it to draft a legislative initiative in the State Duma that would lift the two-term restriction on the Russian president. On July 26, Chechen Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov also expressed support for the idea of a third term for Putin, and news agencies reported that the political council of the Chechen branch of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party would introduce an initiative in the State Duma to amend the Russian constitution in order to allow Putin to serve more than two consecutive terms. Kadyrov heads the Chechen branch of United Russia (Chechnya Weekly, July 27).

Kadyrov further elaborated in an interview with Izvestia published on July 31. Commenting on the Chechen parliament’s initiative to extend the Russian president’s term, Kadyrov said, “Whether he [Putin] wants to or not, if the people say ‘it must be,’ he must take into account the will of the people. He will be president and will have nowhere else to go. If our initiative is approved and a referendum is held in the country, then Putin will be obliged to comply.” Kadyrov added that were it were up to him, he would give Putin about ten more years in office. This, Kadyrov said, would benefit everyone. “Look at how when the leaders of foreign countries meet with Putin: they go into his office with their own opinions and come out with the opinion of our president,” Kadyrov said.

Kadyrov visited a summer camp for members of the pro-Kremlin youth group “Nashi” on Lake Seliger in the Tver region on July 28. On July 31, the Moscow Times, quoting Kommersant, reported that when asked by a Nashi activist about a man’s role in life and politics, Kadyrov replied that a man should love a woman and his country. He also said that Putin should serve as the president for about ten more years in order to preserve Russia’s integrity.

Meanwhile, Kadyrov has been made an honorary member of the Chechen Republic’s Academy of Sciences. On July 28, Interfax quoted the head of apparatus of Chechnya’s president and government, Abdulkakhir Israiilov, as saying that the republican Academy of Sciences had made Kadyrov, Chechen President Alu Alkhanov, Chechen People’s Assembly Speaker Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov and Chechen Education and Science Minister Lema Dadaev honorary members. Earlier this year, Kadyrov was made an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (Chechnya Weekly, January 19). In December 2004, President Putin conferred Russia’s highest award, the Hero of the Russian Federation, on Kadyrov (Chechnya Weekly, January 05, 2005).