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With Such A ‘Father Of The Nation’ Chechnya Is Better Off As An Orphan – OpEd

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There are and have been numerous “fathers of the nation” in the world, but this characteristic only to totalitarian regimes. One of the most known such fathers was Stalin, but he now has a serious rival. Of course, none can beat Stalin when it comes to the deeds he committed, at least when it comes to the number of such deeds.

Who is this “chosen one”? If this was some sort of a TV quiz there would be several candidates, for example, Putin, Kim Jong-il, Kadyrov or Berdimuhamedov. Each of these men are fitting for the position of “father of the nation”, but if we’re being completely honest they are most likely already occupying such a post in their respective nations. I would say that Kadyrov fits the title the most, despite the fact that he can’t be called a leader of a state unlike the other candidates – he is the president of the Republic of Chechnya but Chechnya is part of Russia. However, Kadyrov’s actions (at least in a populistic sense) are way ahead of the other men. I will explain why.

Stalin’s cult of personality was enormous, but he didn’t openly demonstrate his power and influence. Kadyrov, however, loves to show off and in this sense he can be compared to Putin, Jong-il and Berdimuhamedov. The same can be said for his love of stealing, but the scope of it is far lesser than the others because his opportunities are limited. That is the reality of becoming a vassal of Putin. Kadyrov’s education also is nothing to brag about – sure, he has a higher education but he didn’t acquire it because of learning. In this sense Putin is superior because back then you were forced to study if you wanted to become a chekist. Jong-il too acquired good education just like Berdimuhamedov who studied as a dentist. But if we look from a different angle, Kadyrov dominates everyone exactly because he has the worst education, which has made him the champion of bragging. Perhaps the willingness to brag is directly linked with the level of education? But there is one thing in which Kadyrov surpasses absolutely everyone, including Stalin.

This is where we need proof, but we have plenty.

Madina Umayeva died on 12 June. Her husband’s family announced that she fell on the stairs during an epileptic seizure and her injuries turned out to be fatal. Madina was buried in a hurry on the same night. Shortly after the incident, rumors began circulating in social media that Umayeva was killed by her husband. Her mother initially supported this theory, saying that Madina had numerous times complained about her abusive husband and was trying to leave him. The Investigative Committee of Russia exhumed Umayeva’s remains to determine the cause of death. But even before the official conclusion, Umayeva’s mother suddenly publicly apologized for blaming her daughter’s husband.

Her mother’s changed her mind after meeting with Head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who during their conversation said that it is normal for marriages “to have disagreements and quarrels, and that it sometimes happens that the husband beats his wife”.

Kadyrov admitted to a local TV channel that he supported the actions of law enforcement officials when they beat-up a citizen who had violated self-isolation requirements. After the incident, the victim, his brother and two other men apologized on TV for what they had done.

In late July, a Grozny TV channel aired a story depicting a crying teenager. The broadcast was 46 minutes long and showed 16-year-old Magomed Akhmatov crying and asking forgiveness for criticizing the government. Akhmatov isn’t the first person forced to publicly apologize for criticizing Kadyrov, and a few days before he appeared on television Kadyrov himself mentioned the youngster.

When meeting with the Chechen minister of media affairs, Kadyrov noted that the boy had called him “not the real one”, “the non-believer” and other words. “We found him and brought him in. He thought we wouldn’t find his Instagram account. We found out that the family is barely making ends meet, there is no father and the mother is depressed”, Kadyrov said about Akhmatov.

The young man, who was the first in Chechnya to announce he is homosexual, has now apologized on public TV to the leader of the republic Kadyrov.

Ramzan Kadyrov ordered to fire local medics who had complained about the lack of individual protective equipment and the death of at least one colleague, The Moscow Times reported. The relatives of the medics were also fired. Two days later, these medics apologized on state TV for their “unjustified” complaints. “Provocateurs must be fired,” Kadyrov said on Friday when meeting with the government-created Covid-19 team.

You have to agree that as far as we know no one has acted like Kadyrov has. There is no information either in history books or from media outlets that Putin, Jong-il or Berdimuhamedov have personally contacted those who they believe “have chosen the wrong path” or, even worse, made them publicly apologize to the head of the state. There have been cases in North Korea when those under trial admit their wrongdoings with tears in their eyes, but these cases focused more on the actual crimes committed.

Therefore, only Kadyrov – just like an overly concerned father – engages in correctional talks with anyone who he believes has publicly expressed something wrong. It almost brings tears to my eyes – such care for shaping the correct opinion among the public. But there is little information about what happens to those who apologize and admit their wrongdoing. With the available information on what is happening in Chechnya, I would never want to be in their place – and we aren’t talking about fatherly love anymore.

Zintis Znotins

Zintis Znotins

Zintis Znotiņš is a freelance independent investigative journalist. He has studied politics and journalism at the Latvian University.

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