Right when Dmitry Medvedev probably feels like he is riding high, earning the first major concession from the United States toward Russia in more than a decade with the withdrawal of the missile plan, acting the role of a democrat president at the UN and G20, and riding an equities boom, there just had to be something to come along and undermine. That something is named Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen leader most recently seen in the news following the long series of unsolved human rights murders.
Chechnya and the North Caucasus in general has been falling apart at a rapid rate over the past number of months, so one could understand that Kadyrov may be looking for a useful distraction or excuse for an expansion of state repression. Why not default to the time honored tradition?
“We’re fighting in the mountains with the American and English intelligence agencies. They are fighting not against Kadyrov, not against traditional Islam, they are fighting against the sovereign Russian state,” he said. (…)
“The West is interested to cut off the Caucasus from Russia. The Caucasus – a strategic frontier of Russia. If they take away the Caucasus from Russia, it’s like taking away half of Russia.” (…)
Asked if he was saying there were signs of CIA and MI6 participation in the violence, he said “Of course”, he had seen evidence of their direct involvement in an operation he led.
Well that certainly rains on the nice little parade Medvedev was enjoying. I’m not sure what’s more worrying – the frequency with which Kadyrov refers to himself in the third person, or the idea that these kinds of statements are taken at face value by so many nationalists. Scary stuff.