Я – реальный представитель Кремля. Я – полностью человек Владимира Путина. Я никогда не предам Путина, никогда не подведу его. Клянусь Всевышним: я скорее 20 раз умру. Я – мужчина и уважаю Путина как мужественного человека, как настоящего мужчину, мудрого политика. А вот если направить ещё какого-то спецпредставителя на Кавказ, то ситуация станет лучше?
I am the Kremlin’s official representative in Chechnya. I am fully Vladimir Putin’s man. I will never betray Putin, never fail him. I swear to God that I would sooner die twenty ttimes than do either. I respect Mr. Putin as a courageous man, as a real man, a wise policymaker.
— Ramzan Kadyrov to the Russian publication Versiya, January 11, 2010.
You can judge a man’s character by the company he keeps. In this case, it’s hard to know which man is tarnished more by association with the other. Suffice it to say that they are birds of a slim-covered feather.
Kadyrov was responding to the question of whether Putin should appoint a Caucasus Czar to take charge of the entire region, which the interviewer suggested was like a “communal apartment” with “constant squabbles and conflicts.” Kadyrov said he couldn’t see how that would improve anything, and that Putin couldn’t have a more loyal servant in Chechnya than himself.
When Kadyrov himself is being openly confronted with the possibility of sweeping reform in the region, you know that the Kremlin is getting desperate. It’s very clear now that far from solving the problem of Chechnya, the Kremlin has instead caused it so spread throughout the entire Caucasus region. The situation, involving daily murders of high-ranking government officials and police, has become so horrific that Kadyrov feels the need to reassure the Kremlin of his loyalty and fidelity. In fact, he openly refers to himself as the Kremlin’s faithful slave.
He protests too much. If Kadyrov really were under the Kremlin’s thumb, there would be no need for him to give reassurances. In fact, Russia lost Chechnya long ago, and now between that precedent and the separation of Ossetia from Georgia, the entire Caucasus region is in flames. Putin has failed to managed the Caucasus just as he has failed to manage the economy. Instead, he has only managed to take giant steps toward crushing civil society and preventing anyone from complaining about his policy failures.
If Russia continues down this road, it will go the way of the USSR.