Russia

FAST Update Russia/Chechnya No. 1: Trends in conflict and cooperation Feb - Mar 2007

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POLITICAL

On 5 April 2007 Ramzan Kadyrov was inaugurated president of Chechnya. One should not expect any substantial changes of the political situation after this event; however, as R. Kadyrov has been de-facto leader of Chechnya for a long time before he was appointed head of Chechnya's government a year ago. Throughout this year, the rivalry between Ramzan Kadyrov and President Alu Alkhanov has been an important factor affecting the developments in the republic. If viewed in isolation from other political realities, this rivalry may have been beneficial to the general political dynamics in Chechnya contributing to the effectiveness of governance. Therefore, as can be seen on the graph, and in spite of the persistence of conflictive events, the country stability has been strengthened under Kadyrov and is constantly on a relatively high level. Today, when Kadyrov lacks a balancing challenge, the question of potential influence that his team might have on the decision-making process in Chechnya causes great concern. It is noteworthy that the political rhetoric by the new head of the republic has changed dramatically. All the references to the "special status of the republic" have been put aside. R. Kadyrov now states that there is no need to proceed with signing the treaty on the division of jurisdictions between the federal centre and the republic. It is an important statement considering that the preparation of this treaty was the key component of the PR campaign marking the latest stage in the history of the Chechen Republic, since Ramzan's father Akhmad Kadyrov came to power. R. Kadyrov's position today is that "Russia is a great power and such treaties with subjects of the federation may weaken it". His recommendation to all the subjects of the federation is to refrain from such practice of regulating the relations with the federal centre. Prior to his inauguration R. Kadyrov requested Chechen parliamentarians to "get rid" of any norms in the Chechen constitution (that was adopted in March 2003 under his father) which contradict the constitution of the Russian Federation. Soon, the Chechen parliament will have only one chamber formed by the general vote on the all-Russia parties' lists. A clause on "sovereignty" of the republic will be removed. The Presidential oath has already been made on the Constitution of the Russian Federation only, without Koran or the Chechen Constitution. Once the most rebellious republic, Chechnya has now moved to the vanguard of the newest political and legal unification trends in Russia.