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MT: Editorial: The Danger of Kadyrov for President

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  • mariuslab2002
    Friday, October 6, 2006. Issue 3513. Page 8. The Danger of Kadyrov for President Editorial Assessments of Chechen Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov tend to swing
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 5, 2006
      Friday, October 6, 2006. Issue 3513. Page 8.
      The Danger of Kadyrov for President

      Assessments of Chechen Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov tend to swing to
      the extremes. Some demonize him as the man behind gross human rights
      violations in Chechnya -- a charge for which there is compelling
      evidence. His own men and a good part of the population deify him as
      one of the few officials who actually gets things done in the
      republic, the evidence for which comes in part from omnipresent
      posters and signs that present him as the brightest light in the
      region's political galaxy.

      Kadyrov started showing presidential ambitions soon after the killing
      in 2004 of his father, President Akhmad Kadyrov. But the Chechen
      constitution limits the post to candidates aged 30 or older. With him
      turning 30 on Thursday, speculation is growing that he might push out
      the current president, Alu Alkhanov.

      To do so, however, he would need the consent of the Kremlin, which has
      the power to hire and fire regional leaders.

      It would be dangerous for the Kremlin to agree to the promotion.
      Selecting Kadyrov as president would threaten to make the Kremlin
      overly dependent on him.

      Kadyrov already wields vast power. His paramilitary troops are key to
      backing federal forces against the remaining insurgency. He is
      responsible for the handling of billions of rubles in reconstruction
      funds for Chechnya. As prime minister he has outlawed gambling, called
      for the legalization of polygamy, and spearheaded a crackdown on alcohol.

      The stronger he becomes in the region, the more difficult it will be
      for Moscow to resist future demands. His father regularly campaigned
      for more control over Chechnya's energy resources, and Kadyrov has
      done the same.

      He should not be given the presidency. Any stability his appointment
      would generate would be short term. His price for delivering stability
      could lead to a pseudo-separatist republic that sets its own energy
      policy, determines how development funds are used and implements its
      own idea of law and order -- much like the Chechnya disastrously led
      by rebel President Aslan Maskhadov in the late 1990s.

      There also would be doubts about the loyalties of a Kadyrov Chechnya.
      Kadyrov might be fiercely loyal to President Vladimir Putin, but how
      loyal would he be to Putin's successor and to Russia in general?

      In that aspect, Alkhanov is a better choice. His loyalties as a career
      Russian policeman are clear.

      Even if Kadyrov were to pledge loyalty to Putin's successor, it might
      only last as long as the federal subsidies, which currently account
      for 80 percent of Chechnya's budget. Should Russia's economy slow and
      the money thin out, Kadyrov might start wondering whether pushing for
      succession would be a better deal.

      That would not a good deal for Moscow.
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