Staunton, June 13 – Some commentators, including opposition ones, have fallen for the Kremlin-generated notion that Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov rather than Russia’s Vladimir Putin is responsible for crimes like the murder of Boris Nemtsov. But in fact, Igor Eidman argues, Kadyrov is Putin’s creature and does his will.
“Kadyrov’s system,” the Moscow commentator writes, “is an organic part of the Putin system,” and what is clear is that the Chechen leader is behaving as Putin would like and serving as a lightning rod to distract attention from the Kremlin leader’s own increasingly authoritarian behavior (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=557AF0D248906).
That this should be the case should surprise no one, Eidman continues, as all Putin is doing is reviving Stalin’s approach, one that convinced many that the heads of the Soviet dictator’s secret police were responsible for his crimes even though they could and were operating under his orders and could and were removed by him whenever he wanted.
The same thing is true with regard to Putin and Kadyrov now. Putin could remove Kadyrov at any time and “nothing would change. But if Putin falls, then there won’t be a Kadyrov in Chechnya” – the clearest possible evidence of who is really in charge and who is merely the executor.
As many have observed, Eidman says, “Putin is rapidly drifting toward the forced Kadyrovization ofhte entire country, thus depriving Kadyrov’s system of its uniqueness. [But] Kadyrovization is not the spread of the influence of Kadyrov but rather the gradual achievement by Russia of that level of authoritarianism … which was long ago established in Chechnya.”
“In this process,” he continues, the decisive role of course is being played not by Kadyrov but by Putin and his Kremlin entourage.”
Regretably, not everyone understands this; and some are even prepared to “defend Putin from accusations about the murder of his opponents and international terrorism, limiting all his guilt to the fact that he has insufficiently sharply reacted to the ugliness of the Kadyrovites, continued to believe in Kadyrov and needs his support.”
Such a version of events is the result of “a conscious information campaign in the interests of the federal authorities and special services.” Thus, the stories about the conflict between Kadyrov and the Moscow specialists have been “artificially” blown out of proportion, given that both continue to “serve the interests of the Putin regime.”
“The goal of all this campaign is to distract attention and the efforts of the opposition from the main problem of Russia, that of Putin himself and his system,” Eidman argues, to get them to forget that Kadyrov is “only one of the Putin agents and his satrap in Chechnya” and that Putin could replace Kadyrov at any time.
Kadyrov is “a secondary, temporary and dependent figure,” and were he to be ousted, Eidman argues, “no one in Chechnya would start fighting for him. Kadyrovites are mercenaries and are supported in essence by the Kremlin.”
“Certain sincere opponents of the Putin system have believed in the myth that Kadyrov is the Achilles’ heel of the regime, that namely his criminal activity is the main compromising information on Putin. This, of course, is not so.” A better analogy is that Kadyrov serves as a hotspot to “attract missiles launched at the jet of Putin’s power.”
At some point, Eidman concludes, “Putin will dispense with Kadyrov, place the blame for all his own crimes” on the Chechen leader, and some members of the intelligentsia will “breathe easier. But then the murders will continue with new force, for the chief executioner will remain in the Kremlin.”