Thursday, November 23, 2023

Kadyrov’s Threat to Fire Grozny Officials who Don’t Speak Chechen Seen as Part of Larger Political Game

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 21 – Despite the fact that Ramzan Kadyrov does not speak either Russian or Chechen especially well, he has repeatedly promoted one or the other as part of his larger political agenda. His recent threat to fire all Grozny officials who don’t speak Chechen is well within that tradition, experts say.

            Some, like Dzhambulat Suleymanov, a linguist who head the émigré Chechen United Force organization, suggests this may include Kadyrov’s efforts “on orders from above” to prepare “for a Kremlin-controlled independence” (

            But others, like Moscow commentator Ivan Preobrazhensky, disagree. They suggest that the Chechen leader has made his most recent declaration in order to retain control over the appointment of his successor. Putin has deprived all other federal subjects of that power, and Kadyrov doesn’t want his to be next.

            Instead, Preobrazhensky suggests, Kadyrov wants to establish a line of succession within his own family. His promotion of his sons and other relatives and now his promotion of the Chechen language is part of that. These steps will make it harder for Moscow either to oust Kadyrov or to replace him by someone other than from among a Kadyrov-approved list.

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