July 1st 2008 · Prague Watchdog / Dzhambulat Are · PRINTER FRIENDLY FORMAT · E-MAIL THIS · ALSO AVAILABLE IN: RUSSIAN 

The Crusade hangs fire

The Crusade hangs fire

By Dzhambulat Are

GROZNY, Chechnya – The unexpected ease with which the guerrillas have once again demonstrated their strength in the republic’s southern districts has now badly upset every Chechen official without exception. After Ramzan Kadyrov demanded to know why a many-thousand strong army of Chechen law enforcers was unable to cope with a few dozen “feeble bandits”, the tone of his remarks was at once picked up by officials in a rather direct way. Working in liaison with the military commandant’s office and officials of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, Chechen parliamentarians passed an emergency resolution calling for the working out of a plan of action against the guerrilla groups which operate in the mountains of southern Chechnya, led by Tarkhan Gaziyev and Emir Shatral. One must now assume that the mojahedin are about to be hard pressed.

On June 23 the Chechen parliament in Grozny held a special session. One MP, Ibragim Suleimanov, a longstanding and consistent opponent of the separatists, gave a speech of the utmost sincerity and frankness, though it merely duplicated the theses of Kadyrov’s rant. Suleimanov declared himself extremely unhappy about the fact that "several tens of thousands of law enforcement officers, together with the federal military forces, are unable to bring order to the republic." He found a particular source of frustration in the fact that the zone in which the forces of the “Caucasian Emirate” are waging their jihad alongside Ichkerian fighting detachments has turned out to contain his native village of Khazhi-Evl. Malicious tongues say that because of this the MP has been too afraid to visit his relatives for several months now.

And Said-Bek Uzuyev, deputy chairman of the Committee for Legislation, Laws and Security, called on practically the entire world to “combat the activities of the bandit formations”. He was personally willing to toil in the sweat of his brow on a plan for “joint operations against the armed gangs by the Interior Ministry, the FSB and the Ministry of Defence”. It seems that Magomed Khanbiyev, the ex-deputy Chechen minister of defence, does not have too much faith in the efficacy of the use of force alone, when the nature of the enemy is taken into account. His opinion is that as the process of eliminating the guerrillas who have settled in the forests continues, attempts to persuade them to return to civilian life should not be abandoned. When combined together, these effective methods will ultimately help to win the desired victory.

Ramzan Kadyrov, who has declared himself willing to personally lead a "crusade" against the mojahedin, has begun to take an increasingly critical view of the fighting capability of his own troops, whom earlier he never tired of showering with praise. The slackness and anarchy in the law enforcement agencies are visible to the naked eye. For this reason, the final solution of the “Wahhabist question” may be indefinitely delayed.

Recently, experts have suggested with increasing frequency that the principal factor now blocking the effectiveness of Kadyrov’s forces is the position adopted by the Russian military. In the ninth year of the war they decided on a strategy of Chechenization: this involved staying on the sidelines and keeping their interference in the course of events to a minimum. The Russian generals are extremely reluctant to conduct any military operations, even those which would involve only a small risk to the men under their command.

At a recent meeting with heads of the security forces, Kadyrov expressed dissatisfaction with the dress and behaviour of employees in the republic’s law enforcement agencies. The Chechen leader was outraged by the fact that instead of pursuing wounded guerrillas in the mountains, his illustrious comrades are increasingly spending their time in cafés, indulging in sabre-rattling and going to pieces entirely. He has issued an order that from now on those who fail to observe discipline, the rules of service and the wearing of camouflage uniform instead of civilian attire (mostly foreign), will be severely punished.
As if in response to Kadyrov’s criticisms, in the last few weeks certain “people’s avengers” have declared open season on police officers who prefer to prefer to pass their working hours in Grozny‘s cafés and restaurants.

On June 9 a bomb exploded in a café in Grozny’s Leninsky district. About two dozen policemen were peacefully dining there at the time. Nine of them sustained seriously injuries. Four civilian bystanders were also hurt. By pure accident there were no fatalities. After this, other similar establishments which had long been well-frequented by police and servicemen also became targets. Devices primed to explode are discovered almost daily by sappers in the capital’s cafés and restaurants. On the last occasion, two bombs set to go off together at the same time were found in the alcove of a summer café in the same Leninsky district.

Meanwhile, the fight with the Yamadayev brothers is quietly nearing a climax. The Vostok and Zapad battalions are to be reduced by one third. This message came from General Shamanov via the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper. But even General Shamanov, who nowadays deals mainly with questions of Russian army training, omitted to specify the fate that awaits Sulim and Badrudi Yamadayev, accused by the Chechen authorities of committing multiple crimes. Shamanov is promising to keep the two battalions, which are manned by Chechens, under the command of the 42nd Russian defence ministry division. "If the events of June 13, when guerrillas attacked the village of Benoi-Vedeno, are anything to go by, these battalions have their work cut out for them. In addition, some of their units are presently carrying out peacekeeping duties in Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” Shamanov explained.

At the same time, as at a feast in the time of you know what, another group of eminent guests from Moscow headed by presidential administration head Sergei Naryshkin and his deputy Vladislav Surkov arrived in Grozny. Being men of culture, they made their appearance in the Chechen capital with a particular occasion in view: the opening of Chechnya’s newly restored Nuradilov Theatre. After laying flowers at the Akhmad-Khadzhi Kadyrov memorial, the members of the Moscow delegation visited the construction site of the new cancer centre.

However, the programme of their visit was of only limited interest to the journalists. What the journalists mainly wanted to know was whether the deputy presidential administration head still remembered his Chechen roots. And Vladislav Surkov did not disappoint them. He said straight out: "We’re discussing the final phase of the restoration of the republic – my little historic homeland." And as a finale gifts of the kind that is so dear to the Chechen heart has been prepared. To the Chechen leaders, among whom was Mufti Sultan-Khadzhi Mirzayev, the republic’s spiritual head, Naryshkin and Surkov distributed letters of thanks signed by President Dmitry Medvedev. Not to be outdone, their hosts reciprocated: from Ramzan’s hands Surkov received the Golden Order of Akhmad-Khadzhi Kadyrov.


Photograph taken from Zerkalo nedeli.

(Translation by DM)




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