Cloudless skies over Chechnya (summary)

Cloudless skies over Chechnya (summary)

From time to time Prague Watchdog receives unsolicited articles by mail: one such item arrived in our mailbox recently, and in the Russian section of our website we present it in its entirety. While the article draws together several threads in the general discussion of current events in Chechnya and the North Caucasus, its somewhat exaggerated features and elements of conspiracy theory make it more of a curiosity than a serious piece of political journalism. Instead of publishing a complete translation, therefore, we have decided to summarize the author’s interesting but “imaginative” viewpoint, which does not coincide with our own.

The editors

Writing under the pseudonym “Said Verg”, the author begins by mentioning “The Chechnya Connection”, an op-ed article by the UK Guardian’s foreign affairs correspondent Simon Tisdall, which appeared in that newspaper on April 10. Tisdall bases his view of the situation in Chechnya since the assassination of Yamadayev and Ramzan Kadyrov’s subsequent claim that Yamadayev was involved in his father’s murder on the writings of Western analysts who have been cited by the Moscow Times. These analysts say that Kadyrov has struck a “Faustian pact” with the Kremlin, which despite appearances is still headed by Putin. In exchange for putting down the pro-independence insurgency which Kadyrov once helped to lead, Moscow has given him more or less a free hand to do as he pleases, and Kadyrov in turn has demanded that his rivals remain totally loyal, or face exile or death.

In Verg’s opinion, this view of the relations between Moscow and Grozny is also widespread among Russian journalists, such as Yulia Latynina. It represents a theory which allows them reduce to everything that happens in the North Caucasus (not only in Chechnya) to one convenient principle: it is best to leave the natives to deal with the natives, as the federal authorities are mostly ignorant of the local customs and mores. Let the natives blow each other to pieces as God intended, and let us give up the pretence that they somehow belong to the Russian Federation. Then, perhaps, they will leave us Russians alone.

The article then proceeds to examine the nature of the long-established collusion between Moscow and Grozny. Kadyrov’s father Akhmad had serious misgivings about the role the Kremlin had allotted him, and for expressing these doubts he paid with his life when a bomb exploded under him at Grozny Stadium in May 2004. Earlier there was the case of Dzhokhar Dudayev, who was deliberately armed and financed by Russia, with results that are well-known. Then came Aslan Maskhadov, whom Moscow likewise armed and funded in order to provoke a second Chechen war. Now Moscow believes it is time for a third Chechen war. The Kremlin’s appointment and treatment of Ramzan Kadyrov is intended to create the conditions where that may come about:

That the situation in Chechnya is "gathering momentum" for another war is shown by the fact that since 2000 terrorism has begun to spread across the whole of the North Caucasus. The explanation for this is that at some point the strategists of the separatist forces realized that all the work on the isolation of Chechnya from Russia was being successfully done for them by the Kremlin, and with light hearts turned their backs on Chechnya, and transferred their attention to the other republics of the Caucasus. This also explains the reduction in activity by the insurgents in the republic itself. Not because there are only a few dozen of them left, as Kadyrov and journalists like Latynina claim, and not because they have a panic fear of Kadyrov, but simply because it is not in the interests of the separatist leadership to cast a shadow on Kadyrov's image. What if the Kremlin decides to replace its"sworn" ally? Then everything will have to be started in Chechnya all over again, with insurgent forces being withdrawn from Daghestan, Ingushetia and the other republics for that purpose.

Moscow’s aim, Verg suggests, is to detach Chechnya from Russia altogether. In the new situation that exists after the August war with Georgia and Russia’s declaration of its aim of achieving international recognition for Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent entities, Russia cannot hope to withstand the pressures from the outside world. The international community does not understand the crucial difference between the push towards separation that exists in the Georgian and Russian autonomous entities. As Russia does not have the military strength and financial resources to crush an armed uprising against the federal centre led by Ramzan Kadyrov, such an uprising is inevitable. “The Kremlin has created a monster which it is dangerous to keep at home, and hard to drive from the door.”

Verg predicts the onset of the “Great Russo-Caucasian War” that was prophesied by Dzhokhar Dudayev.


Photo: Wikipedia.




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