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Like father like son November 27, 2005

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
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Enslaved as I am to the BBC, relying on them to create at my desk some corner of a foreign field that is for ever England, I hereby link to this amusing and bemusing piece on Ramzan Kadyrov and his vision for the future of Chechnya. Quotes such as, “Soon [Chechnya] will be the safest place in the world – people will be coming here on holiday,” have to be read to be believed, and make me think that Chechens must indeed have a Russian soul and should give up the independence ghost once and for all. What this piece and the related From Our Own Correspondent report do underline, though, is that there is a semblance of security returning to Chechnya, which must, no doubt, largely be put down to Kadyrov junior and his crowd of happy bandits. He has inherited his fiefdom, of course, from his father, Akhmad, who was blown up in May 2004 in what must surely vie for the least-surprising-political-assassination-ever title. Mr. Kadyrov senior was a strongman par excellence, and loyal to Moscow to the last, and his son (also a rebel originally) has now become equally obsequious to his master in the Kremlin. Both are utterly nefarious characters and junior would be well-advised by the no doubt soon-to-be-inundated Chechnya Tourist Board (motto: Visit the Land of Grenade-Launchers and Smiles) to never, ever appear in public if the wallet-happy tourists are ever to appear. He oozes thuggery, which is, I suppose, not that surprising when you think of the kind of place Chechnya has become.

What Kadyrov junior also exemplifies is that it ain’t a good idea for a son to inherit the leadership of a country (or constituent republic) on his father’s death. A number of poor examples spring to mind. Syria. Azerbaijan (delighted to see the protests there. Hoping it will lead to the Oil-Rig Revolution and encourage Belarusians next year). The Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire had such a ring to it, in comparison. I know Joseph is better than Laurent, but still). (I know I could make a cheap jibe at America’s expense here. I’ll desist.) Yet the Russians daren’t unleash democracy in Chechnya for fear of whom it might return. This is Moscow’s dilemma, and is undoubtedly a real one. The wars there have so radicalised opinions that any political stability can only be the haziest of fantasies. Moscow has its convenient rent-o-thug for now. What happens when his job is done?

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