August 17th 2008 · Prague Watchdog / Dzhambulat Are · PRINTER FRIENDLY FORMAT · E-MAIL THIS · ALSO AVAILABLE IN: RUSSIAN 

Ramzan Kadyrov’s Georgian war

By Dzhambulat Are

GROZNY, Chechnya – The war that so suddenly erupted in Georgia has noticeably inspired not only Russia’s foremost leaders but also the only head of a constituent entity of the Russian Federation who owns a private zoo. Ramzan Kadyrov has once again had a chance to engage in discussion with the man who is his idol. And although the conversation that took place on August 12 between Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and the President of Chechnya centred on peaceful topics, the shadow of military conflict in South Ossetia was hovering somewhere nearby. The faces of both officials appeared to shine with happiness and the realization that force, which both men are accustomed to consider an incontrovertible argument, could once again be put to use in a small victorious war. But of this, more later.

The Chechen leader told Putin about the state of Chechnya’s socio-economic sphere. It turned out everything was going so well that Kadyrov simply had nothing to ask of the federal government. Kadyrov managed to encapsulate this unusual state of affairs in a succinct choice of words. He put it the following way: "Today the leadership of the Chechen Republic has no claims or requests to present to the leadership of the Russian Federation."

Putin also brought some welcome fresh approaches. It turned out that he was interested in the security problem faced by citizens of the Chechen Republic. The reply was not slow in coming. In this area, too, Chechnya's indicators are great. Kadyrov made no mention of the trivial matters. Of how and why, for example, Mullah Mukhamadsalakh Masayev of Itum-Kale had disappeared without trace after armed men pushed him into a car in the very centre of Grozny and drove him away to an unknown destination.

Mukhamadsalakh Masayev is a well-known figure in Chechnya. He has twice had occasion to languish in Kadyrov’s dungeons. Once in a makeshift prison in Grozny’s Oktyabrsky district, when police tore the mullah’s beard off as they made fun of him. And again – under the guard of the Kadyrovites, first in a bus and later in the Chechen leader’s personal jail. Of all this he informed Novaya Gazeta correspondent Vyacheslav Izmailov. And so a routine trip to Chechnya became another disaster for the mullah.

But Kadyrov told Putin that "the socio-political situation in the republic is calm", that "questions of security have retreated to second place" and that "the efforts of the republic’s leadership are now focused on addressing urgent tasks such as unemployment and social issues."

With this, Russia’s prime minister and Chechnya’s president parted. However, the meeting had a fitting sequel. Kadyrov decided to make a suitable contribution to the anti-Georgian campaign which in Russia has acquired the character of a mass psychosis. The head of Chechnya would not be worthy of the name if he did not outdo in extravagance and hooliganism the Georgian leadership’s most savage critic, Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

Back in his native village of Khosi-Yurt, Kadyrov assembled journalists and made several statements. He proposed that Mikheil Saakashvili be sent to the Beijing Olympics as a sprinter, with the explanation that when hiding from a Russian jet fighter the Georgian president had managed to do so with unbelievable swiftness. In addition, the head of Chechnya invited the Georgian special forces returning from Iraq to visit him – not in the traditions of Caucasian hospitality, however, but solely in order to ensure the protection of the long-suffering people of Ossetia.

"We are waiting for them here, let them come – they have good equipment and weapons, that will be useful to us," Kadyrov said. Through the journalists he also issued an appeal to the Kremlin requesting that Chechens be sent to Georgia so they could demonstrate the might of Russian arms and the fortitude of Chechen warriors.

The head of Chechnya promised to bring down innumerable misfortunes upon the Georgians’ heads. What misfortunes exactly, he did not specify. "This crime we shall not leave without punishment – we shall devise a punishment, and it will be a very cruel punishment," Kadyrov said.

In support of these threats, Kadyrov ordered all members of the Chechen law enforcement agencies to immediately write applications requesting that they be sent to fight in the war. And so that his men should have no problems with their spelling, it was decided to have the application prepared in printed form.

But even though it was obvious to everyone that the war would soon be over, this action did not go so smoothly. Dozens of members of the law enforcement agencies decided to delay in enlisting as volunteers to fight in Georgia. All the "doubters" were simply dismissed from their posts without severance pay.

Photo: video frame

(Translation by DM)


 · Gruziya-200 (Novaya gazeta, 14.8.2008)
 · Russian state TV's footage of the Chechen battalion "Vostok" in Georgia (Vesti, 14.8.2008)
 · Chechens as Janissaries of the regime? (PW, 9.3.2008)
 · Chechen role in the 1992-3 Georgian-Abkhazian war (PW, 15.8.2007)
 · Two sides of the Georgia-Russia conflict (PW, 16.11.2006)
 · Even the Tiny Rubicon May Be More Important than the Mighty Tiber (PW, 20.10.2000)



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