Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty takes the time to pick apart the words of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov – the consistencies and contradictions reveal, well, a frightening and important reality.
Many aspects of Kadyrov’s interpretation of the events of the past 15-20 years in Chechnya are open to question. He has emphatically denied (in an April 2009 interview with “Rossiiskaya gazeta”) ever having fought on the side of the resistance during the 1994-96 war. At the same time, he has admitted having as a boy regarded ChRI President Djokhar Dudayev as “a national hero.”
In a statement in December 2006 to mark the 12th anniversary of the Russian attack on Chechnya, Kadyrov blamed the onset of the war on “the shortsighted and irresponsible policies of the political leadership of both Russia and Chechnya at that time.” But he now argues that both the 1994-96 war and that of 1999- 2000 were the result of a conspiracy by “international terrorism” to weaken and dismember the Russian Federation, and that Chechnya heroically “saved Russia” by taking on itself the brunt of those attacks.
That simplisticinterpretation ignores the concerted efforts undertaken by the Russianleadership in 1994 to undermine Dudayev, and the unanswered questionssurrounding the unimpeded incursions into Daghestan in August 1999 bythe radical Islamist wing of the Chechen leadership. The Russianleadership adduced those attacks as justification for launching a newwar in Chechnya one month later.
As for the politicalsituation within Russia as a whole, Kadyrov deplored in his January2009 interview with Regnum what he termed general moral degradation andan erosion of patriotism that, he claimed, together pose a potentialthreat to national security. He argued that “if someone does not lovehis people, his religion, his homeland, he will never serve properly inthe armed forces…a strong state needs strong soldiers.”
Kadyrovwent on to warn of the threat posed by Russian nationalism, affirmingthat “there should be no nationalists in Russia, which is amulti-national state. If I were leader of the country, I would proposea draft law to the State Duma that would designate nationaliststerrorists.”