2000-2004 - Akhmad Kadyrov
Akhmad (or Akhmat) Abdulkhamidovich Kadyrov acted as the guarantor of relative stability in a republic that was balancing on the edge of war and peace. Kadyrov became one of the key figures in modern Chechnya by virtue of the tactics of President Vladimir Putin, who badly needed a loyal Chechen to do his bidding.
Akhmad Kadyrov brought together the opponents of Wahhabism, while Shamil Basayev, prepared a military campaign to conquer Dagestan and create a larger state (emirate) under the influence of the Wahhabist ideology. In that, the problems of 1990s were reminiscent of those facing Imam Shamil in 1840s.
Akhmad Kadyrov was born in Kazakhstan in 1951, during the mass exile of Chechens ordered by Stalin during World War II. He studied Islam in Soviet Uzbekistan in the 1980s, and rose to prominence in 1989 as head of the first Islamic institute in the North Caucasus. He was appointed deputy mufti, a Muslim legal expert empowered to give rulings on religious matters, in Chechnya in 1993, when Dzhokhar Dudayev's separatist regime was still tolerated by Moscow. By the time he took over as mufti in 1995, the 1994-96 Chechen war had already begun. Kadyrov called for a holy war against Russia, led a division of guerrillas in the war, and took part in the 1996 negotiations that led to a humiliating Russian retreat.
Kadyrov was affiliated with the separatist rebels during the first war in Chechnya, but switched sides after the second war began in 1999. After the start of the Second Chechen War, Aslan Maskhadov, president of the separatist Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, filed a suit against Kadyrov in the Sharia court for engaging in negotiations with Prime Minister Putin. Kadyrov was sentenced to death and removed from the post of the Mufti. Kadyrov left the post of the Mufti after he was appointed the new head of Chechnya in June 2000. In August 2000, Akhmathadji Shamayev was appointed the Mufti by a congress of the imams of Chechnya.
Moscow wanted to unseat Aslan Maskhadov, who had been elected reasonably fairly in 1997. In the presidential balloting in Chechnya on 05 October 2003, he received more than 80 percent of the vote. Human rights activists said the turnout figures were inflated, and denounced the election as a farce. They said opinion polls conducted prior to the election showed that Kadyrov was regarded by the majority of Chechens as a turncoat, and placed him well behind two other candidates who later withdrew, or were not allowed to participate in the race.
The inauguration took place in the republic's second city of Gudermes, rather than in the capital, Grozny, where there is almost daily fighting between federal troops and rebels. Gudermes was the heavily fortified stronghold that Moscow proclaimed the new Chechnya capital after Grozny was deemed too unsafe. According to Russian media reports, tanks blocked all entry points to the city, and there was a heavy police presence among the spectators.
In 2003, after the election of Akhmad Kadyrov as president of Chechnya, his son Ramzan Kadyrov, became the chief of the presidential security service. He also served as Assistant Minister of Internal Affairs of the Chechen Republic, was a member of the State Council of the Chechen Republic of the Gudermes district. According to media reports, Ramzan Kadyrov was responsible for special operations and negotiations with the insurgents on their transition to the side of the federal forces.
On March 22, 2003 Ramzan Kadyrov announced the voluntary surrender of 46 armed militants who lay down their arms under the personal guarantees of his father. Most of the militants agreed to cease armed resistance, and enlisted in the service of the security of Akhmad Kadyrov.
The Chechen president had survived numerous assassination attempts. On May 12, 2003 two female suicide bombers attacked Chechen Administrator Mufti Akhmed Kadyrov during a religious festival in Iliskhan Yurt. Kadyrov escaped injury, but 14 other persons were killed and 43 were wounded. Chechen rebel leader Shamil Basayev claimed responsibility.
On July 17, 2003, Ramzan Kadyrov said that he managed to convince 40 the number of militants from the bodyguard of Aslan Maskhadov to surrender voluntarily.
On November 30, 2003, Ramzan Kadyrov announced that a group of Chechen businessmen offered a reward of $5 million for information on the whereabouts of Shamil Basayev. Ramzan Kadyrov promised capture Basayev for the New Year, but this did not take place.
In 2004 pro-Moscow Chechen forces commanded by Ramzan Kadyrov and federal troops began arresting relatives of Chechen separatist leaders in an effort to force the leaders to surrender, according to human rights groups. Memorial and AI reported that in late February and early March, Kadyrov's forces seized several dozen relatives of Magomed and Omar Khambiyev, respectively, the defense and health ministers in the "separatist government." They then threatened that unless Magomed Khambiyev gave himself up, his relatives would be harmed. He surrendered in early March.
In March 2004, Ramzan Kadyrov announced that through an intermediary in talks with Aslan Maskhadov, there was the possibility of voluntary surrender of the latter. Later, Kadyrov Jr. argued that the negotiations had broken Russian troops shooting Maskhadov's emissaries, through the mediation of which maintain contact with the president of Ichkeria.
Chechen President Kadyrov stated on March 18 that an estimated 3,000 persons had disappeared in Chechnya in recent years; however, the NGO community reported that the number was higher than the official Chechen Government figure. Memorial and other NGOs charged that government forces, including Chechen security forces commanded by Kadyrov's son, Ramzan, were responsible for many kidnappings.
Akhmad Kadyrov was assassinated on 09 May 2004. He had ruled the republic with an iron hand for nearly four years, before being blown up by rebels at a Victory Day parade in a Grozny stadium on May 9.
He was posthumously awarded the title of Hero of Russia, which was unprecedented. As a field commander and a religious leader (he was Chechnya's most senior mufti for a while), he fought the Russians during the first Chechen campaign but still became an official hero of the country. Theoretically, he could have been targeted in a Russian ambush somewhere along a mountainous pass in his native Chechnya rather than being allowed to walk on a carpet in the Kremlin wearing his traditional fur hat.
Grozny’s Akhmad Kadyrov Mosque was built in 2008. The Akhmad Kadyrov Mosque, one of the largest mosques in Russia, is officially known as the “Heart of Chechnya”.
Earthquake hazard notwithstanding, in August 2013 Chechnya’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov approved construction of an 80-story, 400-meter (1,320 feet) “vertical city” in the Russian North Caucasus republic’s capital Grozny, his government said Thursday. The new skyscraper was modeled on the medieval watchtowers that still stand on the ridges of the Caucasus mountains, and would “bear inimitable features of [Chechen] national uniqueness,” a statement posted on Chechen’ government’s website said.
Construction would be financed by “out-of-budget” funds from unspecified investors, the statement said, but did not say how much the mammoth project was expected to cost. The building will be named after Kadyrov’s father, Akhmad, who was assassinated in 2004, and will take up to three years to complete, it said.
As of 2013 Gérard Depardieu was to play the part of Chechnya’s leader Akhmad Kadyrov in a Chechen patriotic film titled “A Father’s Heart,” with a script written by Philippe Martinez. The film focuses on the reconstruction of Russia’s war-torn north Caucasian republic after years of devastating conflicts. Depardieu is a frequent visitor to the Chechen city where he owned a highrise five-room apartment presented to him by Ramzan Kadyrov.
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