November 21st 2007 · Prague Watchdog / Umalt Chadayev · PRINTER FRIENDLY FORMAT · E-MAIL THIS · ALSO AVAILABLE IN: RUSSIAN 

Principal of Grozny Petroleum Institute dismissed

By Umalt Chadayev

CHECHNYA – The principal of one of Chechnya’s oldest institutions of higher learning, the Grozny State Petroleum Institute (GGNI) has become a victim of the government’s current morality crackdown.

Ibragim Kerimov, who has long served as GGNI’s principal, was asked to tender his resignation shortly after the country’s leader paid a visit to the school. The visit made an unpleasant impression on President Ramzan Kadyrov comparable to that produced on him by his first inspection tour of the Chechen State University (ChGU) in October this year.

At the time of the latter visit, Chechnya’s head of state said that the sight of the students idly loitering about the grounds of the school, their moral qualities, and a number of other things, made such a negative impression on him that he even wanted to "leave the post of president". At a meeting with the principals of higher and primary educational institutions on October 30, the head of the republic demanded that they step up their work in the field of the moral education of the young, with a threat that otherwise action would be taken against the leadership of high schools, colleges and universities.

A short time later it was announced that the republic’s Ministry of Education is to create a special commission which will deal with the expulsion of unconscientious students from educational institutions.

A few days ago the Chechen leader decided to check and see how his orders were being put into practice, and he suddenly turned up at the Grozny State Petroleum Institute. "The situation here is the same that I recently found at the Chechen State University. Some of the students are not in class, but are strolling about under the windows outside. And this outrageous behaviour is continuing in spite of my direct instructions," he told Kerimov. "If the principals cannot cope with their jobs, then they have no right to hold leading positions." Kerimov was removed from his post without further ado.

Now the regulations at these two institutions and many others, including a large number of elementary and high schools, have been drastically tightened. Young women are not allowed in the building without headscarves. This has already led to a wave of discontent among female citizens.

"I was told that Kerimov was removed from office solely because his secretary was sitting in his reception office without a headscarf on," a local journalist told Prague Watchdog’s correspondent, asking that she should remain anonymous. "It’s totally arbitrary. The man has worked long years in the education system, he has experience and authority, and now he’s become the victim of a plain ordinary witch hunt,” she believes.

"Now women are barred from attending the Petroleum Institute, the State University, and other colleges and technical institute unless they wear headscarves. It has got to the point where some first-form schoolgirls at a Grozny school were forbidden to attend their lessons because they weren’t wearing headscarves as they’d been told to. When I went to work at the newspaper office yesterday I was stopped by security guards at the entrance who told me they wouldn’t let me go in unless I was wearing a headscarf. I said I had a husband and family to keep an eye on my morality and personal appearance. After a bit of an argument they let me through, but warned me that next time they wouldn’t," the journalist says.

"What’s happening today is strikingly similar to what happened in our republic after the first war. Then, too, the authorities decided to introduce full shariah law, and they also began with women’s headgear. I don’t know what it’s all in aid of. Don’t we have other problems to deal with apart from whether women wear headscarves or not? In my opinion that’s a matter for each individual to decide, for each person on this earth will have to answer to the Almighty without any mediators or guarantors. One might get the idea that in Chechnya, where the vast majority of the population lives below the poverty line and the economy is recovering at a snail’s pace, everything is just fine except for the issue of control over how women dress, and that there are no other problems left, " she says.

There is already talk that the authorities soon intend to introduce separate education for male and female students at the republic’s various schools, colleges and universities, as well as to ban women from driving. As yet there is no official confirmation of this.

(Translation by DM)


 · Tougher regime for students of Chechen State University (2.11.2007)



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