Staunton, September 14 – In an action completely within the traditions of a totalitarian state unsure of just how its own people feel, Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov has organized a demonstration of people in two settlements against Akhmed Zakayev, the head of the émigré government of the Chechen Republic Icherkia, for his criticism of Kadyrov.
Zakayev’s relatives, after being detained and then released, took part as well uttering scripted lines denouncing the émigré leader’s criticism of Kadyrov’s thuggishness, as did the republic mufti (doshdu.com/v-chechne-organizovali-shody-protiv-ahmeda-zakaeva-i-evroichkerijcev/, https://doshdu.com/ahmed-zakaev-soobshhil-o-zaderzhanii-svoih-rodstvennikov-v-chechne/, kavkaz-uzel.eu/blogs/378/posts/45014 and https://www.kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/354131/).
Grozny and Moscow will undoubtedly use this event abroad to suggest that the Chechens in the emigration have no support at home, a view that some in the West may accept. But in fact, what this action shows is that Kadyrov and his Moscow minders remain very worried about the influence that the Chechens abroad continue to have on Chechens still in the homeland.
Moreover, such demonstrations organized by Kadyrov and his regime are likely. And this development must be of more than passing concern to all concerned about human rights in Chechnya and the safety of Chechens now living abroad because Grozny and Moscow will try to use such events to muddy the waters about new attacks by them on Chechens abroad.