‘Why Can Kadyrov Do What He Likes and We Can’t?’ Other Federal Subjects Asking in Anger
January 19 – The decision of a Chechen court to write off the gas debts of the
population is leading to a parade of demands among many other federal subjects
for the same thing, leaving Moscow in an impossible position where politically
it can’t allow only one subject to do this but economically it can’t allow all,
according to Aleksey Makarkin.
these factors have played a role, Makarkin suggests, in leading ever more Russians
to conclude that Ramzan Kadyrov is permitted to do things that others are not
and that in turn leads them to feel they are insulted and injured and even
second-class citizens in their own country, an unsustainable psychological
Moscow really gave Kadyrov permission is unclear, and whether the court
decision in Chechnya will stick is uncertain. Gazprom has promised to appeal.
But Russians aren’t concerned with these details but rather with what they see
as the unfairness of the situation especially because the Chechen court made
two arguments for its ruling.
the one hand, it said that these gas debts had been incurred in war time, a
reference of course to the war between Chechnya and the rest of Russia which
Russia nominally won. And on the other, the court held that writing off such
debts was necessary to avoid the rise of mass public protests in the
of other federal subjects, who know they will be evaluated in terms of how well
they prevent protests, are not surprisingly asking why Chechnya can take this
step to do so but they cannot, Makarkin continues. “Even systemic politicians
cannot fail to react to this because otherwise they will lose the support of
Kadyrov, of course, is “a unique subject of the Federation,” he continues. “He
has exclusive ties with the federal center. If he makes some declaration which
as a rule is viewed negatively by the liberal part of society, the issue rises
to the federal level. But since we have so few liberals, the authorities
typically don’t devote much attention to it.”
now he has taken a step which doesn’t upset the liberals as much as the
population, and its response is something the powers that be can’t ignore so
says he does not know how Moscow will respond to what the paper calls “the gas
flashmob” of the regions. It can’t allow Chechnya to act in ways it prevents
others from doing, at least in this case; but it can’t possibly afford to allow
all regions to write off gas debt. The Kremlin’s “debt” to Gazprom is too high.
the risk that one of the systemic parties, the KPRF, could exploit this
situation is very real: One communist deputy has now proposed that the Russian
government write off the gas debts of all residents of Russia, lest “the gas
flashmob” trigger an even more dangerous “parade of sovereignties” (https://ura.news/news/1052368264).