Ramzan Kadyrov, Murderer
“You understand that you are putting yourself in grave danger. You need to change your style of work.”
–Nurdi Nukhazhiyev, spokesman for Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov, to Oleg Orlov, head of the Memorial human rights NGO, at a meeting on July 10, 2009, four days before Orlov’s lead journalist, Natalia Estemirova, was kidnapped in Grozy, murdered and dumped at the roadside in Ingushetia.
You may find those words shocking, but they are nothing compared to what Kadyrov himself was prepared to say to Estemirova herself, in person. He stated: “I have blood from my hands to my elbows.” This was after calling her into his office to criticize her reporting of human rights abuses by his military cadres. It was after Kadyrov “yelled at her, asked questions about who she lived with, where her relatives were and how old her daughter was.” Alexander Cherkasov, a Chechnya expert at Memorial, told reporters at a news conference: “With Kadyrov she spoke like a schoolteacher — she put this D-student in his place. But he knew how to do more than just spit wads of paper from the back row.”
Of course, the Russian media is not reporting any of it.
And of course, Putin and Medvedev are standing firmly behind Kadyrov, ignoring his on-the-record statements and proclaiming it impossible that this “Hero of Russia” could have ordered the killings. Of course, there is no more chance that the real killers of Estemirova will be brought to justice in Russia than that those of Anna Politkovskaya or Galina Starovoitova will be. It is and endless cycle of violence and coverup until the last remaining defender of civilization in Russia lies in her grave.
All this is unquestionable proof of Vladimir Putin’s failure in Chechnya. That a so-called “member” of the G-8 and UN Security Council could find no other way to control a tiny breakaway republic than this abhorant, barbaric kind of personalized violence against femalre journalists bespeaks an absolute breakdown in governmental competence.
Paul Goble has pointed out that even if irrefutable proof of Kadyrov’s guilt were provided to the Kremlin, there is nothing it could do to punish the Chechen strongman. Doing so would only ignite a new war in Chechnya, one Moscow is ill-equipped to fight in light of its massive economic crisis. Indeed, it may be that Kadyrov wants such evidence to appear, since then Moscow’s failure to punish him would have the effect of formalizing both Kadyrov’s power and Chechnya’s independence. It would be the final victory for the Chechen rebels, meaning that tens of thousands of Russian soliders and civilians persished in vain.
Chechnya is governed by a barbaric killer who is cutting down his political enemies one by one. The Kremlin says and does nothing to investigate the killings or challenge this savagery, and therefore it is guilty even if it did not actively participate. Let’s not forget: Vladimir Putin personally selected this individual to govern the war-torn region. Putin is responsible for his actions, as are the people of Russia.