Young Russia (weekly review)
By Vadim Borshchev, special to Prague Watchdog
In an interview with the online publication Islam.ru, the speaker of the Chechen parliament mentioned the shortcoming of which, in his opinion, Russia ought to rid itself. This flaw is the lack of certain democratic institutions which the United States has already acquired, and which make it possible for the president to be a black American. Alas, in the Russian Federation, “where something like a hundred different peoples live,” nothing like this is happening yet. At present the country is unable to provide its sons with a worthy political future because it is in thrall to ethnic prejudice. But the Chechen politician believes that sooner or later Russia will succeed in dealing with its biases, and then a breakthrough will occur in public life – “perhaps Russia will reach a point where it can be led by a Caucasian or a Tatar."
However, although he has faith in a better future for his country, the speaker is none the less inclined to take an extremely pessimistic view of its short-term prospects. He says that the "breakthrough" will take decades to achieve, as the country is only just beginning to shake off “the shackles that were inherited from the Soviet Union."
The Chechen speaker’s interview was immediately republished by Russia's various Web resources and then it set off to roam the expanses of the Internet, collecting numerous comments on the way. It goes without saying that the intense interest shown in Abdurakhmanov’s words stemmed less from their intellectual power than from the readers’ conviction that the person being referred to was Ramzan Kadyrov, whom Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov considers one of the most worthy candidates for the role of future Russian president. Thousands upon thousands of excited comments were devoted to this very topic. The Internet teemed with headlines like "Russia must grow up and have a Caucasian president.”
The theme of “Kadyrov as Russia’s ruler" is not really a new one. Hundreds of bloggers and dozens of Internet pundits have already sharpened their pens on it. The vast majority of them perceive such an option as one which, although unlikely to be realized, is menacing all the same. The Russian nationalists sound the alarm because of the worrying accumulation of power in the hands of a "non-Russian", while the democrats of different hues regard Kadyrov as a tyrant, a despot and a suppressor of freedom, and therefore portray the Chechen president’s possible triumph at a federal level as the collapse of Russia’s entire political system.
It is a curious fact that every time this issue comes to the surface, it is discussed as an item of breaking news, an event that is likely to take place tomorrow. Its probability is derived from the rumours that behind the Chechen leader there are certain forces that are preparing to move into the Kremlin. No one paid any attention to Abdurakhmanov’s words about the “decades” it will take for changes in the minds of Russians to occur – that statement was clearly viewed as an attempt to gently muffle any possible nervous reaction on the part of public opinion.
It is obvious that the fears of the Internet public are not always justified. Standing in Kadyrov’s way to the Russian throne is a manifestation of superior force in the form of the current president, the president of the future, on whose post a considerable number believe Vladimir Putin already has his eye. But on the other hand there are many episodes in the history of Russia when power was simply seized, rudely and without discussion. That, too, is an option. In such an unpredictable country, the future is an open book in which the most exotic figures can write themselves a chapter if they can find the will and strength.
In any case, as the Zavtra newspaper reported last week, Kadyrov has already picked his successor. If anything happens to Kadyrov (and all kinds of things can happen, one need not necessarily assume the worst), State Duma deputy Adam Delimkhanov is ready to pick up the sceptre. While it is true that Delimkhanov has been accused of organizing a murder, this has not been proven. And anyway, what if it is?
(Translation by DM)