“Cursed those for seven generation, who love them”
Today Chechnya is considered one of the most “exemplary” Republics according to the standards of Kremlin, where the governmental regime expresses a full loyalty against the Federal Government, the level of terrorism threat has been reduced to a minimum and the common people live in “peace and tranquility”.
Ramzan Kadyrov, the Head of Chechnya, is considered one of the most loyal leaders for Vladimir Putin in North Caucasus. Kadyrov and his entourage are periodically giving praising odes to Russian Federation, which in their opinions saved the Chechnya people from extinction. Such loyalty is paid out fully by Kremlin – the part of annual multi-billion subsides allotted for Chechnya are willfully used by Kadyrov and his entourage for their own purposes. Ordinary Chechens cannot express their opinions publicly – criticism of Russia or the current regime, at best, may end up behind bars. For instance, in 2014, Ruslan Kutaev, human rights activist and the President of International Social and Political Movement “Assembly of Caucasian Nations” has been sentenced to imprisonment for four years under “Storage and distribution of Narcotics”. He was arrested after a scientific-practical conference had been conducted on the topic as: “Deportation of the Chechen People, What was it? Weather it is possible to forget?” Concept of the conference was against the current policy of Kremlin in Chechnya to sink into oblivion not only the date of Vainakh People eviction (February 23, 1944) but also all historic dates being offensive for the Chechens.
Instead of it, Chechens “celebrate” the 23rd of February, Russian Holiday, Defender of the Fatherland Day.
Chechnya is the only region in Russia where Putin’s birthday (7th of October) is celebrated at the national level.
On this day, Kadyrov makes people hold the rallies in support of Putin, arranges concerts and open-air performances. As the resident, Grozny Mansur reports – the Chechens are kicked out by force.
“People going to the pro-Russian rallies and demonstrations are mainly employees of various state and other organizations, students and etc. They are forced to take part under the threat of expulsion. I do not justify them, of course, they should not have to go out but they are weak and get scare to lose the jobs. You cannot find people here coming voluntarily” – reports Mansur in an interview with the Paragraphs.
He adds: “For what we should love Russians? They destroy us for centuries. War, deportation and again war. And even now, they have created an image of Chechnya being in peace and tranquility, but actually they kill and oppress us. Most of the Chechens cannot stand up; they abandon everything and leave for Europe”.
Chechen people’s hostility against Russia dates back to several historic events. Historians regard the beginning of expansion in the North Caucasus by the Russia in the XVI century. In XVIII-XIX centuries, Russian Empire launched a murderous Caucasian War in the North Caucasus, as a result of which thousands of Chechens were killed; tens of thousands were exiled beyond Caucasus. Above war was continued by USSR in the XX century. On February 23, 1944, Chechens and Ingush were exiled to the Central Asia; they were allowed to come back to their countries only in 1958. First and Second Russia-Chechen war has become an epic of the expansion policy by Russia in the North Caucasus allowing Moscow to assert its dominance in the region. There is no official data about the victims; however, in 2011 Ramzan Kadyrov reported about 300 thousand dead and 5 thousand missing.
Neither Chechens living in Chechnya nor those who had to leave their homelands during repression could “forgive” Russia
Today Jordan is a home to a large Chechen Diaspora consisting of more than 16 thousand Chechens who had left Chechnya during the Caucasus War. In 2011, R. Kadyrov met with local Chechens during his visit to Jordan. He was asked by one of them: “I watched a video, where you said that the Chechen and Russian people were single whole. How did it happen and where did it happen that we became as a single whole?” On Kadyrov’s question why he did not love Russians, young Chechen replied: “Russian killed many Chechens”. In response, Kadyrov said: “the Chechens also killed many Russians”. Finally the local Chechen commented: “Why not to kill Russians as they came to war with us?” Opinion that the Chechen land is “occupied” by Russians has been shared by the overwhelming majority of population. They believe that occupation is expressed not only in historic events but in the current Russian policy in Chechnya.
Today, Chechnya faces Kadyrov’s dictatorship with the connivance of Kremlin.
People on the territory of Chechnya do not live according to Russian laws or ancient Chechens’ customs – they live just under Kadyrov’s rules and instructions. Level of corruption is a maximum in the country; there is no freedom of speech; human rights are being violated; dissent is being ill-treated. Chechens are publicly humiliated, tortured, detained and even killed due to the criticism against the current regime in the country or the region. Kremlin ignoring Kadyrov’s repression, wishes to keep the Chechen people under the tight control and not allow them to fight for sovereignty.
It is worth noting that Kadyrov really has supporters in the Chechen community, and they are many! They are considered to the backbone of his power and call themselves Kadyrov’s “team”. Basically, they are Kadyrov’s relatives and fellow villagers. They all are loyal and dedicated to Kadyrov as he grants them with unlimited power. In turn, these people strongly demonstrate their devotion to Kadyrov, perceive him in a rank of national leader, worship his personality and force others to express the same.
Mass media works as Kadyrov’s PR-agent or his private press service in the country. All national channels and publications highlight Kadyrov’s steps in details. Even sometimes, Ramzan or his closest ally – Magomed Daudov, chairman of Parliament of Chechnya are obliged to express disapproval and upset against the mass media heads for being too attentive towards Kadyrov.
Kadyrov pays a particular attention to law enforcement bodies in Chechnya, which are considered to be his private army.
Kadyrov provides them with the best working conditions to improve their professional skills. He supplies them with the modern weapons, equipment and outfit. Keeping the permanent threat of combat operations in the country, he always ensures high salaries for law enforcement officers who receive them with significant allowances due to “danger” while duty. Therefore, security forces pay back to Kadyrov by loyalty and readiness to perform any assigned task.
Attitude to Russians
Despite the hate towards Russians, Chechens are more lenient with the common Russian people. Chechen men often marry to Russian women. One of the striking examples is Dzhokhar Dudayev, the President of Chechen Republic Ichkeria, who was married to a Russian woman. A considerable number of ethnic Russians live in the two districts of Chechnya and Grozny (from 20 up to 50 thousand as per to 2015 data) having friendly relations with the Chechens without any problems on the ethnic basis.
Tolerant attitude towards the common Russians is due to the fact, that the Chechens share the concept of “Russia” and “Russians” and never make them responsible for the crime caused by the regime in Russia for ordinary citizens. However, these regimes were not always controlled by the ethnic Russians. For example, Stalin and Beria, responsible for Vainakh People eviction in 1944 and particularly odious for the Chechens, were not ethnically Russians.
Chechens speaking of Russia often use the word “Russians”; however, they use it definitely as a synonym to the word “Russia” but not describing the Russian ethnos. This term is identical to the concept of “Russian world” spread out in the beginning of Russian aggression in Ukraine. Using this term, they mean imperialist Russian policy in the world; they believe this term has nothing to do with the Russian people.
“Putin is my idol. I love him”
Ramzan Kadyrov strongly demonstrates his absolute loyalty to the Kremlin and Putin personally in a manner that does not allow itself any Russian politician. Kadyrov is using such quotes as: “I am a servant of people, I am a slave of the Most High, I am a soldier of Putin;” Putin is my idol! I love him, I respect him. I will die for him!”, “I want him to be the President of Russian Federation forever”, etc.; However, the relationship between Ramzan Kadyrov and Russia is not really so pompous. Despite of his love confessions, public statements made by the closest people of Kadyrov prove of ambiguous attitude of Kadyrov regime towards Russia.
In February, 2009 the former participant of Chechen resistance, the acting Chairman of the Parliament of Chechnya and the closest ally of Ramzan Kadyrov Magomed Daudov said that after his capture Kadyrov made him an offer: “Ramzan told me not to do harm for Chechen people, it is not good. If you want to fight against Russians, I will give the arms and all necessary things, you can go wherever you’d like”.
Ramzan’s father Akhmat Kadyrov unlike his son was less loyal to Russia in his statements. In 2003 after Ramzan was taken responsibility of the President of Chechnya, his father Akhmat Kadyrov in his conversation with Human Rights Advocate Zainal Gashaeva, stated: “My desire is to stop conflict. For the Russians it is more beneficial to be the conflict. The stars are being added on the shoulder straps, the career is being increased and there is something to steal. Let the Allah destroy those, who brought them to us (Russians). Curse all those for seven generation, who love them (Russians)! “.
It is noteworthy to mention that such extremist (from the point of view of Russian Legislation) statements used by Chechen politicians are aimed only for Chechen audience and into Chechen language. The ambiguity in their relations with Russia is due to the fact that the loyalty and love towards Russia and working for Russian authorities was, and is now considered to be unworthy within Chechen community for centuries. Chechen community held in contempt the people with pro-Russian views and did not respect them. Politicians of Russian Chechnya are trying to keep control over the Chechen audience via such statements. They want people to understand that their work for Russia is related not to their love towards it, but to the necessity to stop the war.
Kremlin is well aware that Chechnya will never become the peaceful region of Russia and the Chechens will never change their attitude to Russia, that’s why the Kremlin pours the subsidies worth of milliards into Kadyrov’s Chechnya and allows Kadyrov’s team to steal these milliards. Moscow pays for peace in Chechnya and receives the full obedience in return.
However, the loyalty to the Kremlin bought for the money is not fully trusted.
Today, the most numerous contingent of RF Armed Forces in North Caucasus is located on the territory of Chechen Republic. It includes tens of Military Units distributed throughout the territory with the staff of Russian servicemen and other North Caucasus representatives, but not Chechen people.
Military Units are well-fortified areas, with its own infrastructure, airfields and great number of equipment. They all are subordinated directly to Moscow and are not accountable to Kadyrov. The Units are in constant combat readiness and in case of order they are ready to immediately suppress the rebellious Chechen people. The Kremlin’s distrust related to the former enemy – Chechnya is proved by the military policy of Kremlin conducted in the North Caucasus. The Chechens are the only North Caucasian people, who do not pass the conscript service in the Russian Army. Time to time this issue is being raised by regional authorities and sometimes they succeed through political pressure to send a group of Chechen conscripts to the army, but this all comes to an end. General Staff of Russia does not want to see the Chechens in the Russian Army.
In July, 2011 the unknown source of RF General Staff made the following comment about the current situation in the article published by “Moskovskiy Komsomolets” with the headline – “None of the Chechens is called up in the Army”: “Why should we teach military affairs to our own enemy – people, with whom it is likely to make a war? As much you feed the wolf, he still looks to the forest. It is not a secret that a lot of Chechens are relatives to warriors. So you call up someone in the army, he appears to be a cousin to Shamil Basaev, warrior with moral and an excellent fighter in combat operations. And then? To select conscripts as per to the system “loyal, not loyal” is not possible, it is a very laborious task”.
Another respondent interviewed by “Moskovskij Komsomolets” correspondents, Commander of the Company under the 18th Brigade dislocated on the Military Base “Khankala” in Chechnya, said: “That they are not called up – it is good. We are fed up with Dagestan and Ingush people. Can you imagine that Palestinians are called up in Israel Army? No, it is excluded. It appears to be the same thing here”.
Surely, the comments of military chairs express the Kremlin’s position. The Chechens are not called up in the army because the Russians do not want to teach them military affairs and the reason of it is the distrust towards them, they consider the Chechen people as potential enemy for Russia. They have reason to fear, as in the First and Second Russian-Chechen wars the Chechen army was headed by the former Soviet officers Djokhar Dudayev and Aslan Maskhadov.
The alternative service in the RF army is presented by the internal troops under the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Chechnya, who directly subordinate to Kadyrov. It is notable that the Chechen people do not express special affection to law enforcement representatives. Especially those, who were participants of Chechen resistance and then supported Russia, deserved particular contempt. Such is Magomed Khambiev, the former Defence Minister of Ichkeria, being moved to the side of Russia and now presented as a PM of the Parliament of Chechnya. Also Magomed Daudov, the former member of Chechen Resistance and today – the Speaker of the Parliament of Chechnya. This list includes not only the members of Chechen resistance, but also spiritual leaders, for example the former Mufti of Ichkeria Bai-Ali Tevsiyev further being moved to the side of Russia and now presented as the adviser of Chechnya leader. These people are considered to be the traitors and subjected to harsh criticism in social networks, calling the “defectors”, “traitors”, etc.
People of the national contempt are those Chechens, who have participated or are participating in the Russian side in various international conflicts such as Russia-Georgia and Russia-Ukraine Wars.
Chechens in the battalion “Vostok” who took part in Russia-Georgia War 2008 as well as those “voluntarily” are helping separatists from Donbass today, hide their participation and involvement in warfare from the Chechen people being afraid of people’s anger.
Of course, there is no danger for them today; however, Chechen people live in the understanding and expectations that Chechnya will become the sovereign country again and then all betrayers will hold accountable for their actions.
 The present interview has been recorded on video and later become the part of the documentary film “Koka- a dove from Chechnya” made by Swiss filmmaker Eric Berkraut.