Sunday, September 20, 2020

No Longer Just ‘Head of a Republic,’ Kadyrov Now Being Styled a ‘Pad-i Shah’

 Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 19 – “It is a good thing when things are called by their proper name,” Andrey Vladimirov says; and consequently, it is important that Chechen officials have stopped referring to Ramzan Kadyrov as head of the republic, a status Putin has insisted on and begun calling him by the Turco-Persian honorific, pad-i shah – the highest rank of ruler.

            The most recent identification of Kadyrov in this way came this week when Abuzaid Vismuradov, deputy prime minister of Chechnya, used it at the meeting at which Grozny attacked what it calls “the Euro-Ichkerians,” Chechen emigres opposed to Kadyrov’s rule, the Moskovsky komsomolets journalist says (

            Vismuradov said that any Chechen wherever he or she lives cannot escape retribution for attacks on Kadyrov who embodies the will of the people and stands above other rulers as the pad-i shah. And it is certainly true that Chechens abroad who have opposed him have all too often met unhappy ends.

            “It is obvious,” Vladimir says, “that such a title much more precisely reflects the size of this statesman, the character of his rule, and the extent of his authority than does the now-standard ‘head of a republic.’” Even the Kremlin doesn’t dispute that Kadyrov is more than that. At least, by its silence, it shows its willingness to defer to Kadyrov’s self-conception.

            “One can only welcome the initiative shown by the Chechen deputy prime minister.” It is long past time to get rid of titles that don’t express the real state of affairs and adopt others that do, even if this appears to contradict the current language of the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

            This possibility was shown already in 1993 when those preparing the Russian constitution suggested the following language for one part: “Russia is indivisible but federative. Within Russia are republics, krays, oblasts, kingdoms, emirates, khanates, hordes, empires, principalities, and eastern despotisms.”

            At the time, the journalist says, this was offered as a kind of joke. But now it has turned out to be in Chechnya at least no laughing matter.

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