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

Computer Crash Halts US Visa, Passport Operation

Problems with database have resulted in extensive backlog of applications, affected State Department's consular offices all over the world More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

World Bank: Boko Haram Stalls African Aid Projects

Islamist group’s terrorism sets back agriculture, health efforts in Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria 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.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid