Kadyrov insults the Chechens again
By Ramzan Akhmadov
GROZNY, Chechnya – On October 5 a combined celebration of several anniversaries, primarily President Ramzan Kadyrov’s birthday, took place in the Chechen capital. It included a public ceremony to mark the reopening of the newly restored Victory Avenue, which was attended by the Chechen leadership, representatives of federal government agencies, leaders of neighbouring republics, and religious clerics. A decree by Kadyrov renaming the street “V. V. Putin Avenue” was read out at the ceremony.
Today this issue is one of the most hotly debated subjects in town. Yesterday’s announcement by the president is the only subject of conversation – in buses, minibuses and also on the streets. Most people are unanimous in agreeing that Kadyrov has once again insulted the Chechen people by choosing the name of Putin, whom they consider mainly responsible for the years of bloodshed which began in 1999, as a label for this central Grozny thoroughfare.
“Ramzan (Kadyrov) has obviously got to the point where he’s lost touch with reality. You’d think he was living on another planet with its owns laws and rules, one where he’s allowed to do anything he wants. If he wants to, he can kill someone, or if he feels like it he can lift them up to the skies. He decided to get rid of the monument to the victims of the 1944 deportation, and away it went. He decided to say thanks to his beloved boss Putin – and a whole street was named after him,“ says Ibragim, a Grozny minibus driver.
“Doesn’t he realize that this is an insult to all Chechens? I mean, this the same Putin who in 1999 foamed at the mouth and said he was going to flush us down the toilet! This is the same Putin who still gets his mug in a twist at the mere mention of large-scale human rights violations in Chechnya. This is the man who has on his conscience not only the lives of our women, children, and old folk, but also the hostages of Nord-Ost and Beslan. How can you rename a central city street after a war criminal?” he wonders.
Kadyrov has previously ordered the renaming of a Grozny street after General Gennady Troshev, who died in a plane crash near Perm in mid-September, and also changed the name of another street in honour of the Pskov paratroopers who were killed in a battle with guerrillas in Chechnya’s mountainous Shatoysky district in February 2000. Since all of these people came to Chechnya bearing arms and bringing death and bloodshed, the local population takes a very negative view of the actions of local authorities which seek to perpetuate their memory. The only explanation people can find for this new decision by Ramzan Kadyrov is that he wants to do something nice for Putin in advance of the latter’s birthday on October 7, and express his complete loyalty and devotion.
“Ramzan Kadyrov, like his father, was ‘made‘ by Vladimir Putin. Now Kadyrov is president of the republic, the richest man and government official in the land. Of course, he’ll move heaven and earth for Putin, but you shouldn’t imagine that the rest of the Chechens worship this man who murdered and tortured an entire people. Putin saw us as enemies, and I’m sure he still does. And he’s still enemy number one for us Chechens. He’s our enemy, and he’s a war criminal », 43-year old Supyan Salamov says categorically.
“Kadyrov and his henchmen are off their heads, of course. They’ve already dubbed Putin ‘national leader of the country’, even though none of them has any idea what that is, and not many of them are even able to get their tongues round it. They call the late Kadyrov Senior ‘saviour of the Chechen people from extermination’ and ‘first president of the Chechen Republic’, though every Chechen knows that our first president was Dzhokhar Dudayev, followed by Aslan Maskhadov, because they were elected by the people. And of course Ramzan’s henchmen sing his praises as ‘the furtherer of the cause of his great father’, ‘the unifier’ and ‘the creator’. And now, borne along on a wave of all that rubbish, Ramzan Kadyrov seems now to have lost touch with reality completely and believes that all Chechens, great and small, are immensely happy to exist under his sensitive leadership and unconditionally support and endorse all of his decisions. Fortunately, however, that’s not the case,” says Dzhabrail, a lawyer and human rights defender.
“Our nation has a good memory, and neither Kadyrov nor anyone else can take it away from us. So Ramzan Kadyrov can bask in illusions and name our streets after Putin as much as he wants – but his actions fill people with nothing but contempt and ridicule,” he says with conviction.
(Translation by DM)
(T) RELATED ARTICLES:
· Enemy Street (PW, 29.1.2008)