The Friends of Kadyrov
Once again, Russia has surprised us with a new level of barbarism and stupidity. Given our already rock-bottom opinion of Russian behavior, it’s genuinely amazing that this could occur.
Writing on Live Journal, a Russian blogger named “Kutuzov” claims Ramzan Kadyrov was in no way involved in the murder of Natalia Estemirova. Just like Dmitri Medvedev, he of course has no idea whatsoever who did kill her, but he feels the awesome powers of his Russian “logic” are sufficient to entirely exculpate Kadyrov.
His argument, to say the least, is psychotic.
“Kutuzov” says the following:
(1) Human rights reporting cannot harm Kadyrov because he is invulnerable. Therefore, he has no reason to kill them.
(2) Kadyrov’s subordinates who commit human rights abuses without Kadyrov’s approval could be found out by human rights reporting and then fired by Kadyrov. Therefore, one of them probably killed Estemirova entirely on his own, to protect himself from Kadyrov’s justice.
You’ll probably have to read these two points several times before you can even comprehend them, the words swimming before your eyes like drunken fish. When you finally grasp them, you’ll be sure we must have been dropping acid when we wrote them, because they can’t possibly be an accurate reflection of what the Russian wrote. Nobody, you’ll say, could write such things on a blog for others to read with serious intentions.
But we assure you, dear reader, it is accurate and entirely serious. What’s more, it’s not very much different from the “thinking” that Medevedev relied on to declare Kaydrov innocent within hours of the murder. And it’s a very characteristic example of the quality of analysis going on in the Russian internet these days (while, of course, state-sponsored TV simply doesn’t report the issue at all).
Let’s count the gaping holes in this “analysis,” shall we?
- How can Kadyrov consider himself “invulnerable” when he has seen the Kremlin roll troops into Georgia and replace the leader of Ingushetia and the drop of hat?
- Wasn’t Stalin also invulnerable? He certainly remained in office to the end of his days. Does that mean Stalin didn’t kill any writers or human rights activists who criticized him? Was Solzhenitsyn going to bring down Brezhnev? Is that why he was arrested, muzzled and then deported?
- Is there one single example in Kadyrov’s entire biography of him sacking or jailing an underlying for unauthorized attacks on Kadyrov’s critics?
- How about the fact that Kadyrov and his spokesmen openly threatened Estemirova’s life and bragged about murder? Doesn’t that matter at all?
“Kutuzov” doesn’t care to ask any of these questions, much less answer them. He doesn’t care to post one single link to any kind of source material substantiating any of his claims, doesn’t care to do any kind of research or actual work whatsoever. And nobody in the Live Journal community asks him to do so.
On Live Journal, the same standards apply as in Russian journalism generally — namely, none. All you need is the awesome power of your Russian “logic” to prove facts and reach conclusions. Policy is made this exact same way at the highest levels of Russian government, because like the famous Emperor with his new clothes, there is nobody to demand anything better, just like in Soviet times.
What’s more, unless you speak English fluently and put a lot of elbow grease into being informed, you’re pretty much in the dark in Russia. So “Kutuzov” can claim that Kutozov merely “hurled abuse” and “gave reprimands” to Estemirova and nobody will call him on it. He doesn’t need to quote the words that were used, much less does he need to link to them. He can simply change the facts and create his own imaginary world to bolster his insane hypothesis, and nobody is the wiser.
When you read this kind of thing, you begin to understand how it could be possible that Russia might possess nuclear weapons and yet not rank in the top 150 nations of the world for adult lifespan. You also begin to understand how the ruler of Chechnya might think he could give the order to kill a single mother who only wanted to preserve human rights by writing and get away with it, as in fact he has done.