Head of Grozny Petroleum Institute reinstated and dismissed again
By Umalt Chadayev
CHECHNYA – Ibragim Kerimov, principal of the Grozny Petroleum Institute (GGNI), has again been dismissed from his post, after being reinstated by the authorities in Moscow.
Prague Watchdog’s correspondent has learned from talking to students that the Institute’s vice-principal, Sharpuddin Zaurbekov, has been installed as its acting head.
Ibragim Kerimov, who had filled the post for the past several years, was dismissed in the second half of November this year as part of the morality crackdown (“struggle for morality”) imposed by the republic’s government. Students say that the step was taken after President Ramzan Kadyrov, on a visit to the Institute a few weeks ago, saw that Kerimov’s secretary was not wearing a headscarf.
"The President also expressed displeasure that the male and female students were not, as he put it, observing the moral traditions of our people. Afterwards our principal was dismissed," 24-year-old Salam explains.
"Kerimov enjoys a lot of respect among the students, so we decided to collect signatures for a petition to support him. But a few days later he returned to his post, because the authorities in Moscow hadn’t signed the dismissal order," he continues.
"Everyone calmed down, because they thought the matter had been resolved. But at the end of last week we were told that Sharpuddin Zaurbekov had been temporarily appointed as acting principal. It’s certainly outrageous that an academic specialist like Ibragim Kerimov should be removed from his post for a reason that has nothing to do with his professional work," he believes.
In the students’ opinion, Kerimov’s re-dismissal means that Ramzan Kadyrov is once again showing Moscow who is boss. The likelihood that the principal will make a challenge in court is very slight.
"He would simply lose the case. For one thing no judge would dare to defy the will of the head of the republic, and for another, no lawyer would even take the case on. People are too anxious to save their own skin," says third-year student Malik.
The rules for male and female students at the Institute have now been tightened up. Female students must wear headscarves bearing the Institute’s logo in class. (An innovation of this kind has already been introduced at the Chechen State University (ChGU). There the female students wear scarves with the ChGU logo).The scarves were distributed to the students free of charge.
Some female students take a very negative view of these new regulations. "You might think our government had no other problems except the monitoring of women's appearance," Grozny resident Toita (19) says angrily. "Yes, we’ve worn headscarves in the past, but it’s up to a young woman’s father, brothers and other relatives to look after her, not the government and the police."
"Wearing headscarves isn’t going to alter much," she says. "What’s needed first and foremost in our society is the creation of a normal moral climate. On the one hand they tell us to wear headscarves and long dresses, and on the other they invite all kinds of female singers from Russia to give concerts wearing trousers, mini-skirts, and so on. Where is the logic in that?"
Meanwhile, in a reference to the wearing of headscarves by girls and young women in Chechnya, President Kadyrov said last week that no one will use force to make them comply.
(Translation by DM)
(T) RELATED ARTICLES:
· Principal of Grozny Petroleum Institute dismissed (PW, 21.11.2007)
· Ibragim Kerimov on "Russia's Greatest People" website