Staunton, August 19 – As a result of either pressure from Moscow unhappy about any Chechen celebration of the killing of a Russian or Ramzan Kadyrov’s own sense of the dangers to himself of encouraging Chechens to think about revenge, the Grozny leader today backed away from his earlier support of those making a hero out of Yusup Temirkhanov.
But his retreat may leave him in a more precarious position than his earlier support for Temirkhanov on the occasion of his funeral because he says he opposes making Temirkhanov into a hero because he never admitted killing Col. Yury Budanov for the rape and murder of a Chechen girl even though the Russian officer cannot be forgiven for what he did (snob.ru/news/164679 and interfax.ru/russia/625762).
Two weeks ago, however, Kadyrov led mourners at Temirkhanov’s funeral in the Chechen village of Geldagan and gave every indication that he shared the views of most Chechens that Temirkhanov had killed Budanov and had done so for the honor of another Chechen (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/08/heroization-of-temirkhanov-in-chechnya.html).
“I have not concealed and do not conceal now my attitude toward Budanov,” the Chechen leader says. But he continues by saying that “efforts to make a hero out of Temirkhanov as the man who apparently took revenge for [the Chechen girl Elza] Kungayeva are without foundation.”
Temirkhanov did not acknowledge his responsibility in court or to members of his family; and, given that he did not die suddenly, it is noteworthy, Kadyrov says, that he did not make any statement of that kind before his end. He deserves “respect as a man who did not collapse under the inhuman conditions of his trial, his serious illness” and so on.
But making him into a hero on false pretenses is not justified, the Chechen leader now says.
The most important aspect of Kadyrov’s remark now is that he felt compelled to make it: Clearly, anger about the actions of Budanov and other Russians in Chechnya has been reignited by Budanov’s funeral; and Moscow is obviously concerned and so Kadyrov has to be as well by the possibility that there will be more actions of revenge by Chechens against Russians.
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