Unfortunately, Zakhayev says, the generals’ campaign finds wide support among Russians across the political spectrum who display “a rare unanimity – the Chechens must be conquered and destroyed.” They all start from the premise that Chechnya is not under Russian control and that it must be returned to that state.
Russia’s “military and security service officers are certain that their victory was stolen from them” when Putin agreed to give power to the Kadyrovs in exchange for their loyalty to his person. For the siloviki, that approach is offensive because they believe the Chechens and Chechnya should have been handed over to them to do with as they like.
One consequence of this, the Icherkia prime minister says, is that “many in Chechnya are grateful to Kadyrov” because “they consider that the current rulers of Chechnya have defended them from the Russian military” which behaved so atrociously in their republic in the earlier part of this century.
“Kadyrov’s Chechnya is Putin’s child, his political platform,” Zakayev says. As long as Putin’s policy in the North Caucasus remains in place, a policy which Kadyrov embodies, Kadyrov will remain in place as well. The Russian officers would also like a new war to boost them to higher ranks.
The Chechen leader says that he has information that “Russian generals at their celebrations raise the first bottle to the third Chechen military campaign,” something they can’t have as long as Putin protects Kadyrov. In Russia today, “the military and the FSB support Putin in everything but Chechnya.”
Kadyrov is hardly the man Zakayev would like to see in power in Grozny, but he has protected the Chechens against the worst of the Russian military. And some of the things he has said and done reflect his “age and a lack of normal education” rather than ill will.” Objectively, the Chechen leader says, one must admit that Kadyrov too is a victim of Russian action.