Chechen President and Moscow proxy Razman Kadyrov gave an interview to Kommersant. Here are a few of his choice statements.
Putin as President-for-life:
“Why can Kazakhstan have a president-for-life? Or Turkmenistan? Why can’t Russia have one too?”
“Putin gave the Chechen people a second life! Allah appointed him to his place.”
“I am not the ‘s or the Main Intelligence Department’s man, I am Putin’s man. His policies, his word, for me is law. We are traveling his road. Putin saved our people, he is a hero. He not only saved us, he saved Russia. How can we not bow down before him as a person? I never liked to say pretty words in front of anyone, but Putin is God’s gift, he gave us freedom.
On Putin’s successor:
“A successor is a successor, but Putin is a personality.”
Kadyrov on Kadyrov:
“A cult of personality? Maybe in the good sense of the word. If I am carrying out the policy of the center, and 94-95 percent of the populace supports that policy and they hang some pictures somewhere, that doesn’t mean that it is a cult of personality. It means the right policy. If they burned the portraits and tore them up, that would be bad. But you see that, even if they hang the portrait of Putin or Kadyrov in the forest, no one will touch it. “
“I, Ramzan Akhmadovich Kadyrov, am the way I am. I cannot be any different.”
On the Opposition and Criticism:
“No, I don’t see one. If there is, I welcome it. Opposition. What is that?”
“Well… I was among the people not long ago, and a woman said to me, “I used to hate you, but now I see your actions and I welcome you.”
Kadyrov in third person:
“[Malik Saidullaev] didn’t know Kadyrov’s real policy.”
“It was a historically important step when Kadyrov united the people.”
“Anyone will tell you that Kadyrov has authority, that he is respected, that he is a leader.”
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By Sean — 11 years ago
Exact Russian military casualties in the Chechen War have been hard to pin down. The problem is that the Defense Ministry is known to keep such figures guarded from public scrutiny. According to Mosnews, the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces claims that 3,826 troops were killed, 17,892 were wounded, and 1,906 were missing in action in the first Chechen War, 1994-1996. For the second war, 1999-present, casualty figures are “unclear and often contradictory.” The only official figure given was by Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov in December of 2002. He reported that total losses of federal forces were 4,572 killed and 15,549 wounded. No official update has since been given.
But even the above figures have been met with scrutiny. The human rights groups Prague Watchdog and the Union Committee of Soldiers Mothers of Russia have both raised skepticism about the reliability of the Kremlin’s figures.
Compounded with the Russian’s lack of transparency in casualty figures, is the fact that more than one Russian and Chechen security forces operate in the region. In addition to the standard military, police, FSB, and Ministry of the Interior (MVD) troops as well as Kadyrov’s squads also engage in what is now called “anti-terrorist activities.”
According to a short article by Vladimir Mukhin in Nezavisimaya Gazeta, the chaotic and deadly situation in Chechnya continues. Nothing says this more than the high casualty rate Russian MVD forces are still sustaining in the region. Based on Russian Defense Ministry figures published last week, Mukhin writes,
In July of this year six servicemen were killed in the course of fulfilling their service duties in Chechnya. And it is noted that all of them fell in battle. These were members of the elite spetsnaz (special-purpose forces) group that was fired on at almost point-blank range on the highway near the settlement of Avtury on 4 July. A further 15 soldiers and offices were wounded during that battle. According to ‘s sources in the military department, a subunit of troop unit No. 54607 from near Tambov fell into an ambush. It is not ruled out that the emergency visit by Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov to Chechnya on 11 July was prompted by this tragedy.
Russian Federation Minister of Internal Affairs Rashid Nurgaliyev is also concerned about losses among his subordinates. In Makhachkala the minister drew attention to the fact that about 200 police officers and Internal Troops servicemen have been killed in Dagestan in the past four years. In 2005 alone there were more than 100 attacks, as a result of which 60 personnel were killed and more than 120 wounded. According to Nurgaliyev, since the beginning of this year 22 police officers have been killed and 59 wounded as a result of terrorist acts in Pakistan.
The statistics show that one police officer or serviceman is killed in the North Caucasus nearly every day. Although there are as yet no complete figures on this. Only the Russian Federation Defense Ministry continues to give reports of losses on a monthly basis. In all, since the beginning of 2006 42 Defense Ministry servicemen have been killed in Chechnya, and one is missing. From the beginning of the counterterrorist operation in Chechnya (1999) to the present day, 3,588 Russian Federation Defense Ministry servicemen have been killed in the course of their service duties and 31 have gone missing. The losses in MVD structures are as follows: In 2004-2005 236 people were killed from among representatives of the law-enforcement agencies, and 279 from among servicemen of the Russian Federation MVD Internal Troops. As of today there are no official figures on losses among police officers and Internal Troops servicemen in Chechnya in 2006.
All of this comes with another article written by Mukhin on how the idea of a Russian contract army is failing. Mukhin writes,
It follows from the documents drawn up in the General Staff that at the present time the Armed Forces are suffering from the massive breaking of military-service contracts by soldiers and sergeants. Thus, according to the chief of a group of analytical subunits in the Main Organization and Mobilization Directorate (GOMU) of the General Staff, Col Yevgeniy Shabalin, in 2005 12.9 percent of servicemen who became professionals prematurely stopped military service (that is, they broke their contracts). In the case of the 42nd Motorized-Rifle Division stationed in Chechnya and operating, as is known, under combat conditions, almost every third professional broke his contract early.
The RF Armed Forces expects a similar trend in 2006, although in smaller proportions. This does not even worry Col Shabalin so much as the fact that a significant number of servicemen who signed a first contract do not intend to extend it.
According to the RF Defense Ministry’s Sociological Center, only 15-19 percent of professionals of the RF Armed Forces are ready to sign a second contract. Thus, over the next 2-3 years, the troops may lose the backbone of professionals who signed contracts in 2004-2005 (the document is signed for three years) and now constitute the foundation of the so-called permanent-combat-readiness forces. It is understandable that this will affect the quality parameters of the country’s entire national defense, since the significant shortfall caused by leaving professionals will have to be restored by other people recruited from civilian life and from among other young soldiers. They will have to be trained again, subunits will have to be coordinated, etc. And this, of course, will cost money, since almost half the army will have to be retrained in accordance with the professional programs. According to the information of GOMU chief Col-Gen Vasiliy Smirnov, it is planned to have 40-45 percent contract soldiers in table-of-organization positions in the Armed Forces in 2008. Here the professional sergeant layer is to exceed 50 percent.
Of course, the Defense Ministry is undertaking measures to change the situation: it is working harder with military commissariats and on the quality of contractor recruitment, increasing moral incentives, and intensifying indoctrination work in the troops. However, this is plainly far from enough, since the motivation of professionals for the work, as the polls of military sociologists show, depends primarily on the material incentives determined by the state. Some 29 percent of the professionals surveyed did not want to continue military service because of the absence of conditions for rest and leisure (clubs, sports facilities, etc). In the past the Finance Ministry has significantly cut expenditures for these items, although the government has approved a federal targeted program (FPTs) for changing the troops over to a professional basis. Some 27 percent of the contractors intend to leave the Army because of low pay. This is completely explainable. On average, a professional receives very little even by average-Russian standards — from 7,000 to 9,000 rubles. True, this figure amounts to 15,000 rubles in Chechnya. But even this money is not a sufficient incentive today. Next year the 42nd Division in Chechnya expects a mass exodus of contractors. Some 26 percent of those polled explained their upcoming departure from the army by the failure to solve the housing problem. This is again connected with the federal targeted program: the government skimped on money for small-family construction, and the majority of contractors now live in refurbished barracks.
It appears that the Russian military’s own failures at improving soldiers living conditions and compensation has killed any hope of establishing a professional army in Russia for the foreseeable future.All translations of Russian text are from Johnson’s Russia ListPost Views: 788
By Sean — 8 years ago
Will the real Ramzan Kadyrov please stand up? Or at least provide an official passport? As some may already know, the great pacifier of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov has his own blog. Or is this his blog, “No, I’m Kadyrov“?
Whichever one is the real Ramzan, his move to share his thoughts inevitably signifies that blogging, and those by politicians and tyrants in particular, has indeed jumped the shark. Who’s next Kim Jong-il? (You know if the Dear Leader had a blog you would read it. I know I would.)
And what did Mr. Kadyrov have to say in his first post?
Here we will meet with you on my blog. There are a great number of blogs that claim to be me. Rest assured, not a single one of them, with exception of the official site of the President of the Chechen Republic, are associated with me. I would really like for you and I to become friends, talk often, and share opinions about current events. I am a sociable, extremely candid man. I hope you share these qualities. I wish you all the best! Your Ramzan.
Not the most lyrical of texts. In fact, it sounds like ol’Ramzan is looking for a date. Especially if you consider the picture occupying the passage. He looks all suave in his track suit. Or check out the one for his avatar where he’s smiling seductively as he rests his chin on his wrist. Sexy.
If you think being Ramzan is hard, try being Ramzan the blogger. Already three days old, and the blog is not without controversy. First, there were the reports that the blog’s comments section was closed, casting doubt as to whether Kadyrov was the “sociable, extremely candid” guy he claimed. But these turned out to be false. But be careful, Ramzan is making a list of commentors’ IP addresses.
Then just when Kadyrov thought he had a clear path to becoming a star of the blogsphere, his second post, “My city, Grozny” was accused of plagiarism, According to the Moscow News,
But that hasn’t stopped the virtual sniggers as his second post, headlined “My city, Grozny”, flickered briefly into life then faded into the void amid allegations of plagiarism.
Kadyrov described getting into his car after the noon prayers and taking a short road trip around Grozny, praising the hard-working residents who are making his city the most beautiful in the region.
All good, touching stuff – but rather familiar to followers of Adam Delimkhanov’s blog, where the state Duma deputy describes an early-afternoon motor jaunt around Moscow and talking about the hard-working Chechen immigrants who are making his city the most beautiful in the region.
Kadyrov’s own site no longer carries his adapted text, though Yandex still carries a cached copy of the text, which can be compared with Delimkhanov’s efforts.
No need to hunt through Yandex. Thanks to my trusty Feeddemon, I have a copy of the post from Kadyrov’s RSS feed. Ramzan’s text (plagarized passages in bold):
В последнее время много пишут о Грозном. Авторы подчеркивают, что он стал одним из красивых городов. Три года назад мы заявили, что возродим город. И назвали сроки. Многие не верили. Думали, что устанем, надеялись, что нам надоест работать днем и ночью. Народ Чеченской Республики доказал, что любит свой край, свою столицу. Сегодня после полуденной молитвы я за рулем «Приоры» проехал по улицам Сунженская, Тбилисская, Назарбаева, Гурина, Садовой. Здесь трудятся тысячи жителей Чечни. За последние шесть дней Грозный, благодаря их труду, просто преобразился. И я со всей ответственностью утверждаю, что этот город будет не одним из красивых в регионе, а самым красивым, уютным и безопасным.
Recently, many people have written about Grozny. The authors emphasize how it became one of the most beautiful cities. Three years ago we declared that we will revitalize the city. And we designated a date. Many didn’t believe us. They thought that we would tire, hoping that we wouldn’t bother working day and night. The people of the Chechen Republic have proved that they love their region and their capital. Today after prayers I drove down the streets of Sunzhensk, Tbilisi, Nazarbarv, Gurin, and Sadovoi in my Priord. Here thousands of citizens of Chechnya work. For the last six days, Grozny has undergone a sea change thanks to their labor. And I proclaim with all responsibility that this city will be one of the pleasant in the region and the most beautiful, comfortable, and safe.
Now compare to Delimkhanov’s post, “Moscow, my city”:
Сегодня после полуденной молитвы я за рулем «Калины» проехал по улицам Москвы: Арбату, Новому Арбату, Красной площади, Садовой. Здесь трудятся тысячи жителей Чечни. За последние шесть дней Москва, благодаря их труду, просто преобразилась. И я со всей ответственностью утверждаю, что этот город будет не одним из красивых в регионе, а самым красивым, уютным и безопасным.
Today after prayers I drove down the streets of Moscow Arbat, New Arbat, Red Square, and Sadovoi in my Kalin. Here thousands of citizens of Chechnya work. For the last six days, Moscow, has undergone a sea change thanks to their labor. And I proclaim with all responsibility that this city will be one of the pleasant in the region and the most beautiful, comfortable, and safe.
Oh, and let us not forget that, as the Moscow News also notes, Kadyrov doesn’t own a car.
The car story aroused further suspicion among regular followers of Kadyrov. The Chechen president officially has no vehicle, and didn’t declare ownership of one among his accounts, gzt.ru reported.
Nice work Ramzan, or, I should say the people who write his blog for him.Post Views: 191
By Sean — 12 years ago
“Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.“–Karl Marx, 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon.
With reports of 180,000 displaced Iraqis since mid-February and 1,398 civilian deaths in May, it is a stretch to compare the present state of the American induced civil war in Iraq to the present conditions of war in Chechnya. By most accounts the war in Chechnya has been reduced to a low intensity conflict where formal military violence has abated, while in Iraq everyday seems to bring more violence, misery, and atrocities committed by insurgents, Shia militias, and the American military.
Yet to analysts, Chechnya does invite comparison with Iraq. First, both conflicts involve two of the world’s largest military powers locked in a quagmire of counter insurgency. Second, both wars are rooted in a vertical conflict, whether the goal is independence from Moscow or to drive out Americans, where Islam functions as a principle marker for national identity and liberation. Third, both involve a horizontal struggle between political and religious communities, whether they are Islamist or secular, Shia or Sunni, over the future of the nation. Fourth, both invading powers justify, but frankly miscategorize, each local conflict as integral to a global conflict against “terrorism.” Lastly, a comparison is viewed as apt because perhaps one, ironically the Chechen war, can point to a possible resolution to the other, the Iraqi war.
In a recent Expert’s Panel, Russia Profile posed the question, “How Does Chechnya Compare to Iraq?” to five Russia watchers. I found most of the responses uninteresting. Mostly because they focused on whether or not Chechnya remains or should remain a diplomatic issue between Russia, the United States, and the European Union and questioned why Putin has not received his due for Russian “success” in Chechnya. I seriously doubt the Chechen war really ever was a point of contention between the three powers. Sure, the US and Europe made lip service to condemning Russian atrocities, and sometimes Putin took offense to these, but I seriously doubt much time was really spent on the issue in discussions. In the last ten years, bigger problems have plagued U.S.-Russian and EU-Russian relations.
However, I did find Andrei Lebedev’s response interesting. Lebedev, a Senior Associate at the State Club Foundation in Moscow, had this to say,
The degree of success [in each conflict], however, is strikingly different.
The reasons for that are evident enough. Rehabilitation of Chechnya was entrusted to local feudal barons-turned-politicians, who widely employed – and still employ – former rebels. This did not end the interclan feud, however, it only made them less visible by mostly excluding federal forces from them. As the outcome of the feuds in favor of the Kadyrov clan was becoming clear, it left less ground for involvement from abroad in the situation. As long as Kadyrov’s people rule in the republic, they have no reason to let someone from Amman, Tbilisi or Istanbul stir the situation, and many reasons to go on milking the federal center.
In Iraq the coalition forces failed to find the winning combination of leaders and/or forces. Potent religious and political groups violently oppose the pro-American government, making reconstruction of the country impossible. If there was a moment fit to switch gears and change horses, it was missed. The United States is in a desperate situation; its faces the unappealing alternatives of getting further bogged down in a hopeless guerrilla war or withdrawing from the country claiming “victory” but losing face over inevitable defeat. No joy either way.
So there is hardly is any realistic advice President Putin can give to President Bush on this sad situation. Moreover, peace in Chechnya achieved by Kadyrov’s clan may become a Pyrrhic victory for the federal center, after all. Milking the Russian treasury is an important element, but still more important is the possibility of sudden political changes in Chechnya, should its current clan leaders receive an enticing enough proposal. This is perfectly well known in Kremlin, which is why Putin will not offer Bush any Chechnya-based advice on Iraq. Still, the current development of events in Chechnya, however deficient, is the best of the worse from the Kremlin’s point of view. The trick is not to overplay the hand. Over time, something better that Kadyrov and his clan may come along. No one in the Kremlin will guarantee Kadyrov rule for life. Other powerful Chechen clans will be supported by Moscow to provide a check on Kadyrov’s rule.
I think that Lebedev’s comments should be kept in mind. Russian “success” in Chechnya is a paper thin veneer which may rip apart at any moment. Putin has essentially found stability in the strongest clan that was willing to kowtow to Moscow. He is able to do this because Chechnya has a far more homogenous political landscape than Iraq. Despite ethnic and religious differences within the republic, several tenets Chechen nationalism remains reconcilable with Moscow’s interests.
Unfortunately for many Chechens, nationalism is also quite reconcilable to corruption. As Anne Nivat writes in “Chechnya only Seems Normal” published in the May issue of Le Monde Diplomatique, life hardly approaches normal for many Chechens. Though new construction sites and billboards are dotting Grozny’s main drags, and cell phones are stapled to residents ears and passing cars blasting Russian pop hits, unanswered questions and deep uncertainty also remains on he forefront of many citizens minds. “You are immediately struck by the outward changes in Grozny, the renewed economic activity, the bazaar, public transport, government departments, building sites, cafes and restaurants,” writes Nivat.
“There are also signs of political normalisation, such as a referendum on the constitution, presidential and parliamentary elections. But behind these appearances war is on everyone’s mind. People are more wary. “Before, we more or less depended on each other, but that’s no longer the case,” says [Zainap] Gashaeva [who heads the NGO Echo of War]. People denounce each other to the police to catch the attention of some government official with influence, or to get some small reward. Mostly they live in fear; they go to sleep in fear and they wake up in fear. What will happen tomorrow? Nobody really knows. Will Kadyrov stay in power for long? Will he be murdered like his father? When will the boievikis counterattack, and if they do, will they return to power?”
The Kadyrov’s clan based power exists on shaky ground. On the one hand it is predicated on excluding some clans, while allowing others to have access to avenues of power, influence, and wealth. On the other hand, this system of rule has monopolized all the paths to stability. Normality passes through them. For citizens many of the citizens Nivat cites in her article, one must either forge or utilize connections, or somehow emigrate abroad as a political refugee. The later is made difficult for many because the feeling is that there is simply no where to go.
However, even such tentative normalization would be a luxury for Iraqis. And I’m sure American politicians and policy makers would be delighted to have the problems Putin has in Chechnya. But as the current moment shows both Iraq and Chechnya are worlds apart. Still, a comparison between the two wars is attractive and possibly instructive. Despite their important local differences, Chechnya and Iraq occupy the same historical moment. And by this I do not mean the “War on Terror”, but rather the continuation of nationalist movements and/or national liberation in a post-Cold War context. However, I think that while both conflicts occupy the same historical space, I think it would foolish to expect a solution in one to work in another. The historical legacies in Chechnya and Iraq preclude predictions based on comparison. As Lebedev states above, the US has no plausible alternatives and it is getting sucked deeper into a civil war with each passing day. All exists appear to be labeled, “Leave face at door.” And the solution in Chechnya is lacks any long term promise. Yet, despite this one is still forced to admit that even paper veneers cover something.Post Views: 113