King of the hill

Is Ramzan Kadyrov losing his position? 
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Ramzan Kadyrov is one of the most influential heads of regions in Russia. But now, it seems, difficult times for the Chechen leader come. What will this turn into and will Moscow not decide whether the Chechen leader's unrestraints start interfering with the federal center? The scandal with the persecution of the world champion for MMA Murad Amriev shows that the attitude towards Ramzan Kadyrov seems to have begun to change.

Until now, Kadyrov's position was considered unshakable. Not even the conflict with the law enforcers affected him. It broke out in 2015, when members of the Stavropol police during a special operation in Chechnya killed a local resident. The head of the republic then said that he allows local law enforcers to open fire on their colleagues from other regions of the Russian Federation if they do not coordinate their actions on the territory of Chechnya with the authorities of the republic. According to rumors, the leaders of the security services did not like this and they tried to draw attention to Kadyrov's statement that was balancing on the verge of separatism. However, no organizational conclusions were made.

The reason is that in the Kremlin the head of Chechnya is considered to be the uncontested leader. Allegedly he alone is able to keep things there in relative order. However, this opinion is held not only in the Kremlin - according to a recent VTsIOM poll, more and more Russians from different regions began to sympathize with Ramzan Kadyrov. For example, the share of those who have respect for him, last year was 31%, and in the current year it grew to 42%. From 15 to 24%, the number of Russian citizens increased, to which the head of Chechnya inspires confidence. Moreover, Kadyrov is sometimes even called Putin's possible successor at the presidential post! Here's the question: what if the Kremlin decided that such a love for the regional leader is already too much? Be that as it may, in recent months the problems of the head of the Chechen Republic seem to have been piled up at once.

Unsuccessful attempt

So, in April there was information that the Staropromyslovsky court of Grozny in absentia arrested Isa Yamadayev in the case of preparing an attempt on the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov. Previously, law enforcement authorities detained a wife and nephew of Yamadayev in Moscow to try to find out his whereabouts. Now they say that the plot was uncovered at the final stage and represented a real threat to the life of the head of the republic. Special attention should be paid to the fact that Ramzan's relative, the cousin of his nephew Islam Kadyrov, Walid Yakhihanov, could have been involved in the attempt.

Analysts say that the opponents of the Chechen leader were irritated by his desire to put members of his own, albeit numerous, but family. And age is not an obstacle. The same Islam Kadyrov was born in 1987 and has already visited the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Property and Land Relations of Chechnya, the mayor of Grozny and the head of the administration Ramzan Kadyrov. Nephew Idris Cherhigov, born in 1989, since 2016, holds the post of secretary of the Council for Economic and Public Security of the Republic. Another nephew, Ibrahim Zakriev, born in 1990, headed the department of affairs of the head of the republic and the government of Chechnya, was the first deputy finance minister of the republic, and in 2016 became the first vice-premier of the republic. Everyone would have such social elevators!

Obviously, Ramzan Kadyrov has more confidence in the members of his family clan. However, they can fail. Be that as it may, the plot is uncovered, you can exhale. But there was a sediment from the fact that the roots of the assassination (or perhaps of suspicious suspicion) had sprouted in a close related circle.

"Kadyrov's trace" in the Nemtsov case

Meanwhile, the investigation into the murder of Boris Nemtsov was completed. On June 1, the Moscow Military District Court held a debate between the parties. And at the last session of the court on May 25, the editor-in-chief of Ekho Moskvy, Alexei Venediktov, was interrogated, who said that Nemtsov complained about threats from the Kadyrovites. According to him, the politician said that the number of threats increased due to his position on the cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad in the French magazine Charlie Hebdo in January 2015. "I suggested that he take my guard, he refused," Venediktov said. He noted that as early as May 2014, the politician did not name the source of threats.
And on February 27, 2015, before airing on the radio station Venediktov, he said that he was threatened by high-ranking officials from Chechnya. In addition, Venediktov noted that Ramzan Kadyrov after some time in his Instagram spoke sharply to those who support Charlie Hebdo.

Kadyrov himself is not officially associated with the murder of the opposition politician, however, the fact that the charge considers the killer of the soldier of the Chechen battalion "Sever" Zaur Dadayev, and the alleged customer of the crime - Ruslan Mukhutdinov, the driver of the deputy commander of the battalion, makes him remember the name of the head of Chechnya .

Innocently murdered gays

And now a new scandal. It will not be so easy to get rid of him, because international attention has been attracted to him. It's about persecution in the republic for men of non-traditional orientation. One after another in the media there are articles about the murders in Chechnya of gays. Such crimes are called "murder of honor" in Muslim countries. In 2008, there was a similar scandal in Chechnya, when it concerned the killing of women. Kadyrov himself commented: "According to our custom, if one walks, relatives kill her." However, later he made a remark that "the actions of murderers can not be justified by any traditions."

The theme of the killing of gays has reached such an intensity that even rose at the meeting of Putin and Kadyrov, held on April 19. And on April 20, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Kremlin fully trusts Kadyrov in this matter. But then the Investigative Committee of Russia started a pre-investigation check on the published facts of mass arrests, torture and killings in Chechnya. And on May 5 at a meeting with Putin, the human rights commissioner Tatiana Moskalkova raised this issue. And the president promised to discuss it with Prosecutor General Yury Chaika and Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsov. Later on the rights of gays in Chechnya to Putin spoke at a meeting the chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel. And French President Emmanuel Macron, before he could get elected, raised this issue.

Because it's simply impossible to hush up the business, why the Russian president found himself in a rather difficult situation. On the one hand, he is forced to demonstrate the confidence of Ramzan Kadyrov, sworn to him in loyalty to the "non-alternative", on the other hand, is under the pressure of the international community. The situation is further complicated by presidential elections pending next year, which makes Ramzan Kadyrov a serious image problem for Putin.

And now, it seems that Kadyrov really did not make an open suggestion, then they hinted unequivocally. One can judge this by the latest scandal, in the center of which was a Chechen sportsman, an MMA champion Murad Amriev. On June 4, he was detained in Bryansk as being on federal wanted list at the request of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Chechnya. Immediately after that, Chechen law enforcers rushed to Bryansk. Amriev was terribly frightened and asked not to extradite him to his countrymen. The reasons for this were told by human rights activists - several years ago the sportsman's older brother was allegedly suspected of attacking a high-ranking Chechen policeman. Then he went to Germany, after which the family of Amriev was declared blood feud.

Somehow, Amriyev was then released, but a few days later he was detained by Belarusian border guards while crossing the border with the Russian Federation, handed over to the approaching Chechen policeman and sent to the republic. The observers did not doubt how this story would end - there are many examples of how the fate of those who dared to provoke the outrage of the Chechen leader. However, to the general surprise, everything happened differently: the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Chechnya stated that the criminal case against Murad Amriev had been terminated and there were no more complaints against him. In this connection, it can be assumed that the Kremlin has been given to understand: another scandal is not needed. Another question is whether it sounded like an order or as a polite request?

Alexey Makarkin, First Vice President of the Center for Political Technologies:

- It seems that Ramzan Kadyrov will keep the president's public support and, consequently, the power in Chechnya. Another thing is that he will continue to face new challenges, which will gradually "dilute" his position and limit the opportunities at his disposal. Kadyrov increasingly becomes for the federal center not only a resource, but also a problem - however, this situation can continue for a long time.