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Ramzan Kadyrov
Рамзан Кадыров

Incumbent
Assumed office 
15 February 2007
Preceded by Alu Alkhanov

Born October 5, 1976 (1976-10-05) (age 33)
Tsentoroi, RSFSR, USSR
Nationality Chechen
Political party United Russia
Religion Islam
Military service
Awards
Hero of the Russian Federation

Ramzan Akhmadovich Kadyrov (Russian: Рамза́н Ахма́дович Кады́ров; born 5 October 1976, Tsentoroi, RSFSR, USSR) is the President of Chechnya and a former Chechen rebel.

Ramzan is a son of former Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov, assassinated in May 2004. In February 2007 Kadyrov replaced Alu Alkhanov as President, shortly after he had turned 30, which is the minimum age for the post. He has the support of former Russian President Vladimir Putin and was awarded the Hero of Russia medal, the highest honorary title of Russia. Kadyrov was engaged in violent power struggles; with fellow Chechen government warlords Sulim Yamadayev and Said-Magomed Kakiev for overall military authority, and with Alu Alkhanov for political authority.

As President of Chechnya, Kadyrov has been credited for bringing peace and stability to the region. He has also launched federally-sponsored renovations of the Chechen capital Grozny, which have completely transformed the war-ravaged city.[1]

Ramzan Kadyrov is an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (Российская Академия Естественных Наук, not to be confused with the much more prestigious Russian Academy of Sciences)[3].

Contents

Biography

Early life

A reckless and impetuous person at school, Ramzan Kadyrov strove to gain the respect of his father Akhmad Kadyrov, a Muslim imam. He claims that he always desired to emulate his father. Ramzan enjoys boxing and once met with former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson.[2]

In the early 1990s, as the Soviet Union splintered into fragments, the Chechens launched a bid for independence. The Kadyrovs joined the struggle and fought against the federal forces, with Ramzan, from the age of 16, leading a small unit of separatist fighters in the First Chechen War, and Akhmad becoming the rebel mufti of Chechnya.

Militia leader

The Kadyrov clan defected to the Moscow side at the beginning of the Second Chechen War in 1999. Since then, Ramzan has led his militia with support from Russia's FSB state security service (including service ID cards) and become the head of the Chechen Presidential Security Service. The militia became later known as the Kadyrovites.

He was falsely rumoured to have died of a gunshot wound inflicted by his bodyguard on 28 April 2004.[3]

Deputy Prime Minister

From left to right: Chechen President Alu Alkhanov, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Kadyrov at the first session of the Chechen Parliament in December 2005.

After his father, then Chechen President, was assassinated on 9 May 2004, Ramzan was appointed Deputy Prime Minister of the Chechen Republic.

When his sister was detained by the Dagestan police in January 2005, Ramzan and some 150 armed men drove to the Khasavyurt City Police (GOVD) building. According to the city mayor, Kadyrov's men surrounded the GOVD, forcing its duty officers against the wall and assaulted them, after which they left the building with Zulai Kadyrova, "victoriously shooting in the air."[4]

In August 2005, Ramzan declared that "Europe's largest mosque" would be built in place of the demolished ruins of Grozny's shattered downtown.[5] He also claimed that Chechnya is the "most peaceful place in Russia" and in a few years it would also be "the wealthiest and the most peaceful" place in the world. He said that the war was already over with only 150 "bandits" remaining (as opposed to the official figures of 700 to 2,000 rebel fighters), and that thanks to his father, 7,000 separatists had already defected to the Russian side since 1999. When responding to a question on how he is going to avenge the murder of his father, Ramzan said:

I've already killed him, whom I ought to kill. And those, who stay behind him, I will be killing them, to the very last of them, until I am myself killed or jailed. I will be killing [them] for as long as I live... Putin is gorgeous. He thinks more about Chechnya than about any other republic [of Russian Federation]. When my father was murdered, he [Putin] came and went to the cemetery in person. Putin has stopped the war. Putin should be made president for life. Strong rule is needed. Democracy is all but an American fabrication... Russians never obey their laws. Everyone was stealing, and only Khodorkovsky is in jail.[6][7][8]

Acting Prime Minister

Following a car accident in December 2005, in which Chechnya's prime minister Sergey Abramov was injured, Ramzan functioned as the caretaker prime minister. He immediately proceeded to implement elements of Sharia law, such as declaring a ban on gambling and alcohol production, while speaking in favour of polygamy.[9]

In February 2006, responding to the publication of the Mohammed cartoons, he accused the Danes of "spying" and being "pro-terrorist". He also banned Danish citizens from entering Chechnya, effectively banning activity of the Danish Refugee Council, the largest NGO working in the region. Kadyrov is quoted as saying, "That cartoonist needs to be buried alive." He was eventually pressed to overturn this decision by Moscow, a rare example of federal intervention in Kadyrov's rule in the republic. [4].

Prime Minister

On March 1, 2006, Sergey Abramov resigned from the position of prime minister and told Itar-Tass news agency that he did so "on the condition that Ramzan Kadyrov lead the Chechen government." This was followed by a decree of Kadyrov forcing women to wear headscarves; he also rejected a federal appropriation of the republic's budget, demanding more money, and called for all federal forces but the border guards to be withdrawn.

Shortly after taking office, Kadyrov approved a project to erect a presidential palace on a 30-acre (120,000 m2) plot by the Sunzha River in ruined downtown Grozny. The project, which will also include a five-star hotel and recreational facilities, is estimated to cost around 1.5 billion rubles ($54 million USD) to build. Later, Kadyrov called for refugee camps scattered across Chechnya to be closed down, calling the refugees "international spies who are interested in stoking conflict between Chechnya and Russia, who are seeking to destabilize the situation in our region". Reuters quoted him as saying that "liquidating the refugee camps will allow us to uncover spies who are working for foreign intelligence services".[10]

On 5 June 2006, Speaker of the Chechen People's Assembly Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov said at a press conference in Moscow that "there is no alternative" to Kadyrov for the presidency; Kadyrov has "exclusive awards in combat, and has made achievements in improving the peaceful life and in human rights protection. Who could replace him at this stage? Nobody," he said. Later that year, Umar Dzhabrailov, Chechnya’s representative in the Federation Council and a close ally of Kadyrov's, urged Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov to initiate a measure calling on Kadyrov to become the republic’s president, thereby replacing Alu Alkhanov.[11] The following week, several Russian newspapers reported that a worsening security situation in Chechnya was lessening the likelihood that Kadyrov would replace Alu Alkhanov as the republic's president. Other media, however, reported that Kadyrov continued to strengthen his position at Alkhanov's expense.[12]

On 6 December 2006, Kadyrov said he that he would seek the prosecution of the commanders of federal military units responsible for the death or disappearance of civilians in Chechnya (specifically Major General Aleksandr Studenikin). In addition, Kadyrov said the war in Chechnya was unleashed not by the Chechen people but by the Russian leadership. Kadyrov’s comments may have represented his government’s increasing unhappiness with certain figures in Moscow, who were said to be blocking his elevation to the post of Chechen president.[13]

On 5 February 2007, Kadyrov said he did not aspire to become the Chechen president; however, he criticized Alkhanov. Kadyrov also claimed the war in Chechnya was ultimately finished, with "all informal armed groups eliminated". Alkhanov, for his part, criticized "the cult of personality and idealization of one person," a clear reference to Kadyrov, whose enormous portraits are prominently displayed in Grozny.

President

Kadyrov (right) with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On 15 February 2007, Putin signed a decree removing Alkhanov and instating Kadyrov as Chechen's acting president.[14] On March 2, 2007, following Putin's nomination of Kadyrov as Chechen president, the Chechen parliament approved the nomination.[15] In the following days, serious changes took place in the administrative set-up of the republic, affecting both the top- and middle-ranking officials. Former deputy prime minister Odes Baysultanov (a cousin of Kadyrov's) was elevated to the vacant post of prime minister. Critics allege that Ramzan Kadyrov is actively building his own "vertical of power" in the republic, and encouraging nepotism by placing men of the Beno clan in all the leading and important positions.

A Russian daily, Gazeta, reported that according to a poll conducted by the independent Levada Center, only 33 percent of Russians believe that Ramzan Kadyrov can be trusted, while 35 percent believed that he cannot. Asked whether they thought Kadyrov could normalize the situation in Chechnya and end the bloodshed there, 31 percent said yes and 38 percent said no.[16]

On March 14, 2007, Kadyrov said that human rights abuses were "a thing of the past" in his republic, rejecting new charges of torture made by the Council of Europe. Two days later he accused the federal authorities of torturing detainees. On March 19, 2007, Kadyrov vowed to put an end to all remaining guerilla activity in Chechnya within two months. On April 5, 2007, Kadyrov was sworn in as President of Chechnya.[17]

After the car-bomb attack on Yunus-bek Yevkurov, president of the neighboring Republic of Ingushetia, which took place on June 22, 2009, Kadyrov claimed that the Kremlin had ordered him to fight insurgents there, and during his subsequent visit to the republic on June 24 pledged ruthless vengeance.[18]

Late December 2009 Kadyrov claimed that remaining rebels where getting financed by "The West"; "I officially declare this: those who destroyed the Soviet Union, those who want to destroy the Russian Federation, they stand behind them". He also suggested he did not seek another term as President and that Russia should attack Georgia and Ukraine "It's Russia's private affliction; why should we always suffer if we can eradicate this for good?".[19]

2007 appeal against Kadyrov

In May 2007, more than 100 members of Britain's political and cultural elite have appealed to President Vladimir Putin of Russia to restore "peace and justice" to Chechnya, calling Kadyrov's presidency "little more than a regime of fear and oppression".[20]

Attempts of consolidation of the Chechen nation

As reported by the Caucasian Knot, an independent human rights resource, on February 5, 2009, "in the course of his meeting in Grozny with Ramzan Ampukaev, representative of the Chechen Diaspora in Europe, Ramzan Kadyrov invited former militants, now living in Europe, to come back home":

"Now, the situation in the republic has stabilized, we witness a steady economic growth, and there's no sense for people to leave. And those who are already abroad, can always come back. We'll help them in every possible way," said Mr. Kadyrov. "All sorts of Emirs and former participants of illegal armed formations, who are now Europe and whose actions were not aggravated by bloody crimes, have two alternatives: either to come back and serve for the welfare of their homeland, or stay there till the end of their days." [21]

Chechen economic recovery and reconstruction

On 4 March 2006, Dukhvakha Abdurakhmanov, chair of the Chechen People's Assembly, stated that Kadyrov "has proven his capability to govern the economy, not only the power structures." [22] The Chair of the Assembly also said that in a few months the republic had fulfilled more objectives than the republic's federal economic enterprise had undertaken to fulfill in the initial five years of reconstruction in Chechnya.[22] Abdurakhmanov noted that Kadyrov's management had already successfully completed the reconstruction of two large Grozny avenues, had repaired the local roads, was intensively conducting reconstruction work, building new mosques, sports centers, and hospitals.[22]

In 2006 the production of Chechnya's industry increased by 11.9%.[23 ] In 2007, the rate of growth was 26.4%.[23 ]

2009 assassination attempt

An assassination attempt on Kadyrov and a parliament member Adam Delimkhanov was averted on October 23, 2009, by the police. Chechen Deputy interior minister Roman Edilov said the police shot dead the driver of a speeding car filled with a 200-litre tanker after firing warning shots shortly before Kadyrov was to arrive at a construction site. The driver of the car was later identified as a militant leader (so-called Urus-Martan emir Beslan Bashtayev).[24][25] Said-Emi Khizriev, who played a role in organizing the attack, was killed by Russian police who tried to arrest him in the Michurin village in Grozny.[26] Khazriev planned and took part in explosions at two gas stations in Gudermes in the spring of this year, as well as in an armed attack at a sport club in the city.

Accusations of kidnapping and assassination

Ramzan Kadyrov has often been accused of being brutal, ruthless and anti-democratic; according to some media, he was personally implicated in several instances of torture and murder. A number of Chechens opposed to Kadyrov have been assassinated abroad, and several witnesses (including Artur Kurmakaev and Ruslan Khalidov) report the existence of a 300-name "Murder List".[27] Chechens who have been murdered, where Kadyrov's involvement is suspected, include Movladi Baisarov and Ruslan Yamadaev (both Moscow);[27]; Sulim Yamadaev (Dubai);[27] Gazhi Edilsutanov, Islam Dzahnibekov, Ali Osaev (Istanbul);[27] and Umar Israilov (Vienna).[27]

Kadyrov claims (in December 2009) that he had personally helped many of the murder victims and their families and was not their enemy. "I don't want to kill, who did I fight? I fought terrorists. Who did I protect? I protected the whole of Russia so that people in Moscow or St Petersburg... could live in peace. They accuse me of killing women and children. It's not true."[19]

  • A mutinied commander, Movladi Baisarov, said about Kadyrov: "He acts like a medieval tyrant. If someone tells the truth about what is going on, it's like signing one's own death warrant. Ramzan is a law unto himself. He can do anything he likes. He can take any woman and do whatever he pleases with her. (...) Ramzan acts with total impunity. I know of many people executed on his express orders and I know exactly where they were buried.".[28] On November 18, 2006, Baisarov was killed in an ambush by members of Kadyrov's police on Moscow's Leninsky Prospekt, several hundred meters from the Kremlin.
  • On November 13, 2006, Human Rights Watch published a briefing paper on torture in Chechnya that it had prepared for the 37th session of the United Nations Committee Against Torture. The paper covered torture by personnel of the Second Operational Investigative Bureau (ORB-2), torture by units under the effective command of Ramzan Kadyrov, torture in secret detentions and the continuing "disappearances." According to HRW, torture "in both official and secret detention facilities is widespread and systematic in Chechnya." In many cases the perpetrators were so confident that there would be no consequences for their abuses that they did not even attempt to conceal their identity. Based on extensive research, HRW concluded in 2005 that forced disappearances in Chechnya are so widespread and systematic that they constitute crimes against humanity.
  • On March 1, 2007, Lyudmila Alexeyeva, the head of the Moscow Helsinki Group rights organisation, stated "Kadyrov is to blame for kidnappings of many innocent people. Their bodies were found later with signs of torture."[29]
  • On July 15, 2009, Natalia Estemirova, a member of Memorial society, who investigated the alleged abuses by government-backed militias in Chechnya, was abducted and shot to death.[31] Memorial's chairman Oleg Orlov accused Kadyrov of being behind the murder,[32] and claimed that Kadyrov had openly threatened her by saying: "Yes, my hands are up to the elbows in the blood. And I am not ashamed of that. I will kill and kill bad people".[33] Kadyrov denied any involvement in the killing and promised to investigate the killing personally. He condemned the killers, and in response to Orlov's accusations, said: "You are not a prosecutor or a judge therefore your claims about my guilt are not ethical, to put it mildly, and are insulting to me. I am sure that you have to think about my rights before declaring for everyone to hear that I am guilty of Estemirova's death."[34] It was later reported that Kadyrov would be suing Memorial for defamation and slander, targeting Orlov personally with his complaint.[34][35]

Kasparov - Chechen Parliament issue

In October 2007 Russian media reported that the Chechen parliament was going to take legal action for slander and character defamation against opposition leader Garry Kasparov who had previously referred to Ramzan Kadyrov as a "Bandit". The day after the website Kasparov.ru announced that Kasparov wrote to Russia's public prosecutor about threats he received from official representatives of the Chechen Republic. Chechen Parliamentary Speaker Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov told journalists "Garry Kasparov must be put in jail, However, if we do not manage to achieve the desired result through federal laws, we will resort to other measures. The Caucasus allows for this, and the Caucasus has its own laws, and Kasparov will be punished for such liberties. He must be in jail, and if not, we will punish him anyway".[36][37]

Chechen Human Rights Ombudsman Nurdi Nukhazhiyev later spoke to RIA Novosti:

The nature of the hysterics raised by Kasparov in relation to the reaction of Parliament to his irresponsible vagary is complex: either Kasparov wants "to make a PR", either he was really frightened and exhibits banal cowardice.[38]

Nukhazhiev also addressed Kasparov through the news agency:

What way is a murder related? Kasparov, stop short the comedy. You know well that according to ancient customs of Caucasus the offender is penalized with deprivation of one element of outdoor cloths for vagaries analogous to yours.[38]

Other Issues

Sex scandal

On March 12, 2006 a Chechen separatist website posted a short video of a party with two alleged prostitutes and several men, of which one looks and sounds exactly like Ramzan Kadyrov who is dancing with a young half naked woman and trying to rip her bra off. Another man then later starts masturbating in front of them.[39][40] Andrew Osborn, Moscow reporter for the Independent, reports that "Mr Kadyrov's aides have laughed off the grainy video of a man identical in appearance and voice to him in a sauna with two prostitutes, as a 'provocation'."[39]

Call to quarantine proceeds of horse race

On November 3, 2009 a horse owned by Ramzan Kadyrov, Mourilyan, ran third in the Melbourne Cup winning about US$380,000 in prize money. The leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Bob Brown, immediately called for the Government of Australia to quarantine the prize money until assurances are received as to how the money will be used. Concerns had been previously raised that the Melbourne Cup could be used to launder money by overseas individuals. [41]

See also

References

  1. ^ Feifer, Gregory (2009-08-11). "The Price Of Progress -- Life In Kadyrov's Grozny Permeated By Fear". RFE/RL. http://www.cdi.org/russia/johnson/2009-148-23.cfm. Retrieved 2009-09-04.  
  2. ^ BBCCzech.com | Svět |Bývalý šampion Mike Tyson v Čečensku zahájil turnaj v boxu
  3. ^ Discrepant reports about Kadyrov, Jr. - Kavkazcenter.com
  4. ^ The Jamestown Foundation
  5. ^ Biggest mosque for Grozny | Special reports |Guardian Unlimited
  6. ^ Грани.Ру // Чечня :: Кадыров официально вступил в должность президента Чечни
  7. ^ Original Russian text: Того, кого я должен был убить, я уже убил. А тех, кто за ним стоит, буду всех убивать до последнего, пока меня самого не убьют или не посадят. Я буду убивать, пока жив... Путин — красавчик. Он о Чечне думает больше, чем о любой другой республике. Когда отца убили, он лично приезжал, на кладбище ходил. Путин войну остановил. Путина надо пожизненно президентом назначить. Власть твердая нужна. Демократия — это американские выдумки... Русские никогда своих законов не соблюдают. Воровали все, а сидит один Ходорковский.
  8. ^ Ramzan Kadyrov explained to journal GQ what is the military style, he said that he will continue killings and that Putin is beauty by news.ru
  9. ^ The Jamestown Foundation
  10. ^ The Jamestown Foundation
  11. ^ The Jamestown Foundation
  12. ^ The Jamestown Foundation
  13. ^ The Jamestown Foundation
  14. ^ FOXNews.com - Putin Dismisses Chechen President, Puts Prime Minister In Charge - International News | News of the World | Middle East News |Europe News
  15. ^ Chechen parliament votes for appointing Ramzan Kadyrov as president - Russian News - REGNUM
  16. ^ The Jamestown Foundation
  17. ^ "Kadyrov sworn in as Chechnya's new Kremlin-backed president", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), April 5, 2007.
  18. ^ http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSLO672371
  19. ^ a b Chechen president says the West wants to destroy Russia , telegraph.co.uk (December 21, 2009)
  20. ^ Putin urged to restore peace in Chechnya - Europe, News - Independent.co.uk
  21. ^ President of Chechnya calls former militants back home from Europe, feb 06 2009
  22. ^ a b c "Чечня: Кадыров — кандидат на пост председателя правительства". ("Chechnya: Kadyrov a Candidate for Head of Government"). RIA Novosti. March 2006.(Russian)
  23. ^ a b "Темп роста валового регионального продукта к предыдущему году, процент". Rosstat. Retrieved 5 September 2009. (Russian)
  24. ^ Chechnya says assassination attempt on Kadyrov averted. RIA Novosti. October 23, 2009.
  25. ^ Attempted assailant of Chechen president identified, Interfax
  26. ^ Russian police killed Chechen militant leader. RIA Novosti. October 23, 2009.
  27. ^ a b c d e London review of Books, 14 May 2009, The Murder List
  28. ^ Eurasian Secret Services Daily Review
  29. ^ Warlord named Chechen president - Scotsman.com News
  30. ^ Chivers, C. J.. Slain Exile Detailed Cruelty of the Ruler of Chechnya, The New York Times, January 31, 2009. Retrieved on July 20, 2009.
  31. ^ [1]
  32. ^ According to Orlov, "Я знаю, я уверен в том, кто виновен в убийстве Наташи Эстемировой. Мы все этого человека знаем. Зовут его Рамзан Кадыров, это президент Чеченской республики.
  33. ^ [2] "Она рассказывала, что Кадыров ей угрожал, говорил буквально: "Да, у меня руки по локоть в крови. И я не стыжусь этого. Я убивал и буду убивать плохих людей."
  34. ^ a b Chechen leader sues rights group after activist murder, AFP, July 18, 2009. Retrieved on July 19, 2009.
  35. ^ Schwirtz, Michael. Chechen Leader Sues Over Accusations of Ordering Activist’s Death , The New York Times, July 18, 2009. Retrieved on July 20, 2009.
  36. ^ Prague Watchdog - Crisis in Chechnya - The Month in Brief - September 2007
  37. ^ Why It Matters : Chechen assassins target world chess champion?
  38. ^ a b Nukhazhiev: Kasparov has hysterics, by RusBalt (in Russian)
  39. ^ a b Chechen PM in sauna sex scandal - Europe, News - Independent.co.uk
  40. ^ Чеченский сайт обнародовал "пикантное" видео с человеком, похожим на Рамзана Кадырова NEWSru 15 March 2006
  41. ^ Quarantine prize money of Chechen horse: Greens- Sydney Morning Gerald

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