Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 25

On June 25, Chechnya officially celebrated the conferring of the Hero of Russia award on the republic’s first deputy prime minister, Ramzan Kadyrov, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on June 27. President Vladimir Putin signed a decree conferring the title on Kadyrov last December 30. According to Muslim Khuchiev, press secretary of Chechen President Alu Alkhanov, top officials from most of the republics of the North Caucasus and a delegation of State Duma deputies headed by Chechnya’s representative in the lower chamber of the federal parliament, Akhmar Zavgaev, attended a celebration in the town of Gudermes. The festivities there featured performances by Russian pop stars and a parade by “units of Chechen power structures” timed to the first anniversary of the creation of the Akhmad Kadyrov regiment of the patrol-sentry service. “Soldiers of the regiment passed before Ramzan Kadyrov in a ceremonial march, demonstrating the power of those loyal to him,” Nezavisimaya gazeta reported.

“To all appearances, both the time and place of the celebrations were not accidental,” the newspaper wrote. “Gudermes has long since been considered the patrimony of the brothers Sulim and Ruslan Yamadaev: the very Sulim Yamadaev, once a ‘brigadier general of Ichkeria’ and currently commander of the Vostok battalion of the Russian Federation Defense Ministry’s 42nd Division, who at the start of the second Chechen campaign surrendered Gudermes to the federal forces without a fight and went over to their side. Today there is a bitter conflict between the Yamadaev brothers and Ramzan Kadyrov. The incident of the zachistka in the village of Borozdinovskaya (members of the Vostok battalion are accused of that crime) graphically confirms this. Ramzan demanded that the battalion, which is not under his control, be broken up…It looks as if, with the celebrations in Gudermes, Ramzan Kadyrov decided to demonstrate to his rival who is the real boss in Chechnya.”

It is worth noting that in response to the Borozdinovskaya crisis, Kadyrov said that security operations in Chechnya should only be conducted with the consent of Chechnya’s Interior Ministry. “What is needed above all to prevent tragedies like the one which took place in Borozdinovskaya is for the republic’s security structures to have the full range of powers,” he told Izvestia in an interview published on June 23. “In any Russian Federation component, all special operations are conducted with the consent of the region’s minister of internal affairs. We will seek the same in the Chechen Republic.” Kadyrov also said that there should be “full coordination” of Chechnya’s security structures “with a single center.”

On June 19, Ramzan Kadyrov was given the Akhmad Kadyrov award, which is named after his late father, the republic’s former president, and is for “outstanding service in restoring authority in the region.” Ekho Moskvy radio reported that the award is the republic’s highest decoration and is made of gold and diamonds.