By Paul Goble
In recent weeks, Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of Chechnya, has to the surprise of many become “the voice of the Russian people” because unlike the nomenklatura and other Russian politicians, he is not afraid to speak the truth about the problems Moscow is facing in Ukraine, according to Moskovsky Komsomolets political observer Dmitry Popov.
Unlike almost all others in the Russian political firmament, Popov continues, Kadyrov is prepared to “call a failure a failure, a retreat a retreat, a wrecker and a saboteur a wrecker and a saboteur and not come up with beautiful euphemisms” to hid the truth (mk.ru/politics/2022/10/04/pochemu-kadyrovu-pozvolyayut-govorit-pravdu-ob-oshibkakh-specoperacii-na-ukraine.html).
Kadyrov is able to do this, something the Russian people welcome, for three reasons. First, he has eliminated all competitors in Chechnya so there is no one who can conspire with Moscow against him if he does something the center doesn’t like. Second, were he to be removed, the Kremlin would face a problem that would rival the one Ukraine presents.
And third, at a time of war, Kadyrov who is a man of war is in his element and again unlike his counterparts elsewhere he and his children are prepared to take part in the conflict and thus are in a position to be taken seriously when he engages in criticism that appears to be intended to solve things rather lies and so makes the problem worse.
The Russian people see this, Popov says; and they welcome it. And so even if the words come with a Chechen accent, it is from Kadyrov that the real “voice of the Russian people is now heard.”