MN: Kadyrov follows in Dudayev's steps
- No 25 July 2, 2003 Moskovskiye Novosti
Kadyrov Follows in Dudaev's Steps
Akhmad Kadyrov proposes a special relationship between Chechnya and
the federal center
Dudaev's Ichkeria, an idea whose unacceptability Moscow has been
trying to prove with fire and sword for nearly a decade now, has been
refloated. Akhmad Kadyrov has drawn up a draft treaty on demarcation
of powers between the Chechen Republic and the Federal center.
The need for such a treaty was originally declared this past spring.
No one paid attention to that at the time because the draft
constitution that was submitted to a referendum did not say a word
about the republic's special status. The promise of certain
privileges looked like a propaganda ploy to obtain the necessary
The referendum took place. Contrary to skeptics, Moscow reaffirmed
its intention to grant Chechnya a special status. Now, last week, the
Chechen side made public the draft treaty on demarcation of powers.
It is a peculiar document. Reading it, you get an uncanny feeling
that its key provisions were dictated by Dudaev himself, from the
First, the norms and regulations established by the treaty take
precedence over federal laws.
Second, Chechnya's national bank is granted the right to print money.
Third, control, management and use of Chechnya's natural resources
lies within the republic's exclusive jurisdiction.
Fourth, the republic can establish diplomatic relations with other
states and open its missions there.
These four provisions are quite enough to understand that a new
Chechnya as seen by Kadyrov does not in any way differ from the old,
1991-style Chechnya. Although from the point of view of "financial
sovereignty," Kadyrov easily out-Dudaevs Dudaev: Under unstoppable
Djokhar Chechnya may have engaged in an L/C scam, but never went as
far as to demand a "national" money printing press.
Sure, the Kremlin will subject the Kadyrov draft to legal and
political-economic appraisal. The implications of the proposed
demarcation of powers will be carefully assessed. But something is
clear already now. Consider uncontrolled management and use of
natural resources: According to some sources, every day between 100
tonnes and 200 tonnes of oil produced in Chechnya are stolen and
diverted to the black market. This is happening while Grozneftegaz's
money flow (49 percent of the company stock belongs to the republic's
administration and the 51 percent is held by Rosneft) goes through
the Federal Treasury. What will be the scale of theft when
Grozneftegaz receives full financial freedom?
True, it will hardly come to that. All unreasonable demands of the
incumbent Chechen leadership will be rejected by Moscow. Kadyrov
knows this, acting on the ask-for-the-impossible-and-get-the-maximum
principle. Yet even this reeks of blackmail: If you want to get
Chechen loyalty and stamp out separatist sentiments, you have to pay.
The price is maximum political and economic independence for the
The head of Chechnya is bluffing. The price that he quotes is
inconsistent with market demand. A recent survey conducted in
Chechnya by the Validata sociological service under the supervision
of Prof. Sergei Khaikin shows that the Chechens' conceived aspiration
for autonomy is grossly exaggerated. At any rate, 70 percent of
respondents believe that Chechnya should remain part of Russia.
The "proud Chechen people" wants not freedom and independence but
pensions, welfare, stipends, and funds to rebuild the economy and the
So it would be wrong to assume that by claiming a special status for
the republic Kadyrov intends to increase his support in the upcoming
presidential election in Chechnya. His draft targets more narrow
interests that are nonetheless the most interested in seeing a
slackening of federal controls. The head of Chechnya is sending a
signal to all local clans to make the "right choice." He would like
to be able to believe that the Kremlin will make the same choice. It
seems that Moscow still sees no alternative to Kadyrov, actively
promoting a new Chechen ruler who, once he gets a presidential
mandate, could turn out to be just another Dudaev.