Ramzan Kadyrov has been called a lot of things. Few of them positive. But an interrogator of would-be terrorists? It has been alleged that Kadyrov has been present at the interrogation of Chechen rebels and terrorists, even going so far as amusing himself “by personally giving prisoners electric shocks or firing pistols at their feet.” But these allegations have never gone beyond anecdotal evidence. Kadyrov himself has certainly never used his participation in interrogations as PR. Until now.
It’s been a summer of death in the North Caucasus, and Kadyrov might be feeling the need to personally step in and show he’s still large and in charge. According to the NY Times,
Between June and August, 436 people have been killed, compared with 150 during the same months in 2008. And the number of attacks jumped to 452 from 265, according to statistics compiled by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a private research group based in Washington.
Then there is the return of suicide bombings to the Chechen capital just in time for the fifth anniversary of the school massacre in Beslan.
But a stroke of luck came a few days ago when four suicide bombers, all under 18, were detained by Chechen police. They had three bomb belts, three AKs, a Makarov pistol and ammunition in their possession. And never to miss an opportunity, Kadyrov decided to conduct the interrogation himself for all the world to see.
Here’s Kommersant‘s transcript of the exchange:
“Why did you want to blow yourself up?” Mr. Kadyrov asked a detainee, holding the removed suicide bomber’s belt in his hands.
“They told me that I would go to heaven” the bomber answered.
“Who told you?”
“Arabs named Mokhdan and Yasir.”
“And why didn’t you suggest that they do it themselves? So they would go to heaven?”
“But I didn’t meet with them. I listened to them only a video,” the detainee attempted to explain.
Next, by Kadyrov’s order the father of one of the unsuccessful suicide bombers was allowed into the interrogation.
“I arranged for you to go to an petroleum institute and paid for your studies. And you disgrace me in front of the entire world [by] wanting to kill innocent people. What you yob, you listen to some Arabs but not your own father!? Am I not a Muslim to you? That I don’t pray or fast,” the old Chechen yelled at his son.
Then the old man turned to Kadyrov and said, “Ramzan, there is no forgiveness for my son. But I am guilty. I failed to watch over him.” The four youths then spilled their guts about their plot. Two were to blow themselves up at the police station in Leninskii district. The others were to blow up a mosque during Friday prayers in Shalinskii. They also said that the coordinator of the attack was a certain Gerat.
What happened to the four youths after that is unknown.
According to the Caucasian Knot, Kadyrov’s public show might not curry him the favor he desires. One resident of Grozny told the Knot, “All that abuse and dirt that the President poured on the militants, his tone and insults addressed to the detainees and their relatives do no credit to him,” she said.
Perhaps. But it still makes for good theater.