The Kremlin Has Reared Another Dudayev

With the intention of initiating a constitutional process in Chechnya, the Kremlin has placed most of its stakes on the head of the Chechen administration, Akhmad Kadyrov. However, the Russian authorities are trying to avoid taking any energetic measures that could break the stability of relationship that has been established with Kadyrov. The main candidate for the presidency post in the Chechen Republic (elections are scheduled for December) has realized this situation and is trying to benefit himself from it.

At the end of last week, Kadyrov suddenly declared that Chechen Minister for Internal Affairs Ruslan Tsakayev, who has been in the post for about five months, had resigned. The head of the Chechen Administration declared that he was dissatisfied with the activity of the republic's police and that Ruslan Tsakayev wouldn't be a minister in the republic.

The resigned minister himself explained his decision as having developed from a number of disputes with the republic's leadership concerning the manpower policy of the Internal Affairs Ministry. In particular, he strongly objected to recruiting amnestied separatists into the Chechen police force, saying it was inadmissible. He added that former members of illegal armed gangs "have enough other opportunities to exert themselves in peaceful life."

The former minister regrets that "sometimes people inexperienced in administrative work were appointed to leading positions in the Chechen government." Tsakayev's colleagues say that the former minister is consistently pro-federal and has always treated Kadyrov, a former separatist, with distrust.

Just prior to the referendum on Chechnya's constitution held on March 23, TV channels broadcast the surrender of 46 armed Chechen separatists to the authorities; Kadyrov warmly greeted them and promised protection from criminal prosecution.

Meanwhile, Kadyrov's decision concerning the dismissal of the interior minister caused a strange reaction on the part of the federal authorities that have the prerogative of appointing and dismissing such top officials. In particular, Internal Affairs Minister Boris Gryzlov treated the fact in a rather aloof manner and simply gave a positive assessment of the activity of the former head of the Chechen police. The minister said that Tsakayev had played a particular role in the formation of the republic's Internal Affairs Ministry and during preparations for the recent referendum. Gryzlov added that Tsakayev had handed in his resignation "for family reasons" on April 2. The former minister will be moved to an office in Moscow.

Thus, it is likely that the resignation is not connected with defects of the ministry's activity and with the explosion of a bus in Grozny on April 3. Some observers say that the resignation can be explained by political reasons. It is rumored that Kadyrov is actively clearing the area to secure his victory in the forthcoming presidential elections. Even the tragic death of the leader of the Chechen special-purpose police unit, Gazimagomadov, is connected with the struggle for power and resources that has started among Chechen clans.

This incident involving the former Internal Affairs Minister is not the first of its kind. At the beginning of the year, federal authorities witnessed a conflict between then-newly appointed Prime Minister of the Chechen government Mikhail Babich and Kadyrov, who disliked him. The head of the Chechen Administration was attempting to gain control over financial flows in the republic, which is why he appointed his protege, Eli Isayev, to be Chechen Finance Minister without previous coordination with the prime minister. The conflict erupted on Feb. 10, when Kadyrov dismissed Babich and appointed Anatoly Popov his first deputy and the prime minister of the Chechen government, and the head of the Chechen Administration declared that appointment Popov was his choice.

Today, Kadyrov has already announced candidates for the position of Internal Affairs Minister.

Judging by recent events, for the sake of peace and stability in Chechnya, the Kremlin is ready to make concessions to local Chechen clans that have assumed the difficult task of establishing peace in the republic. But it is impossible to avoid the practice of double standards, which may entail total loss of control over the situation in the republic. This may result in a situation in which, in the future, the federal center will not control the head of the Chechen Administration, but the latter will dictate his will. We know perfectly well what consequences such a development may entail.

N.Novosyolov MiK news agency

Translated by Maria Gousseva

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