News / Europe

Chechnya's President Says Insurgency Dying Down

Chechnya regional leader Ramzan Kadyrov speaks during a news conference in Grozny, March 7, 2011
Chechnya regional leader Ramzan Kadyrov speaks during a news conference in Grozny, March 7, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
James Brooke

In Russia’s Chechnya republic, which has long been a center of anti Kremlin violence in the Caucasus, Ramzan Kadyrov, the young president, now feels his capital is safe enough to invite 50 foreign correspondents for a news conference and an exhibition football match.

Wearing a black velvet tunic with leather epaulettes, Ramzan Kadyrov, 34, the president of Chechnya, had an upbeat message.

Chechnya is winning the battle against terrorism and is now open for foreign investment, he told foreign correspondents at his high walled, tightly guarded compound in central Grozny.

He says Chechnya is winning the war against terrorism, because Chechens realize that extremism is evil and retards development. Human rights critics say that he has used torture and summary executions to beat down the Islamic fundamentalist insurgency.

Asked by VOA how many rebels are fighting in this republic of one million people, President Kadyrov responded with "68."

Kremlin officials estimate that there are about 1,000 rebels fighting in Russia’s Caucasus, a mountainous area that stretches from the Black Sea to the Caspian. Viewed from afar, the Caucasus is often a blur. But on the ground, it is clear that the insurgency is shifting among the four Islamic majority republics. Officials say violence is down in Chechnya and neighboring Ingushetia.  They say it is up in Dagestan and Kabardino Balkaria.

After two decades of violence, Chechnya now is ruled by a man who is a firm proponent of law and order. Last week, Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev rewarded Kadyrov’s success by appointing him to a second term as Chechnya’s president. On Saturday, the republic’s rubber stamp parliament unanimously voted their support.   

Asked about the uprisings in the streets of Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, Chechnya’s leader chose to praise the authoritarian governments of China and Saudi Arabia.

Referring to the conservative Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, he said: "In Saudi Arabia, there is order, there is strict government and no one gets out of line."

President Kadyrov also uses a personality cult to try to impose unity on a divided, clan-based society. Asked by VOA about his massive portraits displayed on billboards all over the capital, he joked that "People like to look at pictures of a handsome nice young man."

At the Tuesday news conference, he called on a female aide in a long black dress and tightly wrapped black and orange scarf to explain to reporters why she wears conservative Muslim attire. He talks of his moves to severely limit alcohol sales and his interest in taking on a second wife.

"Money made selling women, drugs, alcohol - this money we do not want," Kadyrov said.

Asked which foreign forces are supporting the rebellions in the Caucasus, Kadyrov’s finger does not point to Iran or Saudi Arabia, two Islamic nations often seen as sources of funding. Instead, he focused on the United States.

In the Caucasus, he noted that, America’s ally is Georgia.

Pointing to his neighbor, on the south side of a high range of neighbors, he asked: "Why do the Georgians need America? America is on the other side of the ocean."

Kadyrov accused Georgia of training Chechen terrorists, then flying them to Russia, through Europe or Azerbaijan. With Russia embarking on an election year, this is an accusation increasingly heard from officials in Moscow.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs