2004-2007 - Alu Alkhanov
The pro-Moscow president of Chechnya, Akhmad Kadyrov, was killed 09 May 2004 along with a number of others in a bomb blast during an annual parade in the Chechen capital, Grozny, to mark Moscow's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. The conflict between the pro-Moscow Chechen FSB headed by Ramzan Kadyrov and the Chechen GRU, headed by Sulim Yamadaev, continued.
The main candidate to replace Akhmed Kadyrov was Chechen Interior Minister Alu Alkhanov. Alkhanov was reportedly supported by Kadyrov's son, Presidential Guard chief Ramzan Kadyrov, and was unofficially endorsed by President Putin. Alkhanov, who was widely viewed as lacking the charisma and influence of his predecessor, was handpicked by the Kremlin to succeed the elder Kadyrov in a compromise with the kadyrovtsy clan. Ramzan Kadyrov, 27, who heads the paramilitary presidential security force, was too young to run for president. Kadyrov's successor as President was Alu Alkhanov, who was elected on August 29. Alkhanov was purely a figurehead, and Kadyrov's security forces did all they could to undermine him.
Major General Alu Alkhanov was sworn in as president 06 October 2004. The inauguration, which took place five months after the assassination of Alkhanov's predecessor, Akhmad Kadyrov, featured unprecedented security measures taken to prevent Chechen rebels from mounting an attack. To prevent an attack, the location of the ceremony, which took place in a building constructed specifically for the occasion inside the Chechen government headquarters compound, was not announced until the last moment. Ahead of the ceremony 4,000 federal and 12,000 Chechen policemen were deployed across Chechnya, with patrols positioned every 100 meters along the republic's main highway and armored personnel carriers much in evidence.
Immediately after his father's death, Ramzan Kadyrov was considered the frontrunner for the Chechen presidency, and then after it became clear he was too young to run under the republic's constitution, there was an opinion that he could at least become the informal leader of the republic. However, "I am not a politician," he said. But he did have thousands of armed supporters - a well-organized and powerful force in Chechnya.
On May 10, 2004, the day after the death in a terrorist attack of his father - the president of the Chechen Republic Akhmad Kadyrov - Ramzan Kadyrov was appointed first deputy prime minister of the Chechen Republic.
Alkhanov was the figurehead of opposition to Kadyrov whose secret strong men were "East" Battalion commander Sulim Yamadayev, and "West" Battalion commander Said-Magomed Kakiyev, a staunch member of the Naqshbandi Sufi brotherhood.
It became accepted wisdom that after Akhmed-hadji's death, Putin gave Ramzan carte blanche to resort to whatever means he considered expedient to stamp out the Chechen resistance and cow the long-suffering population into submission, in return for which the Russian government made available vast sums of money for postconflict reconstruction and conveniently turned a blind eye when Kadyrov diverted part of that cash for his own personal use.
Since the second half of October 2004, Ramzan Kadyrov was Advisor to the presidential envoy in the Southern Federal District on cooperation with the security forces. In September 2004, during the hostage taking at School No. 1 in Beslan, press and human rights groups reported that federal forces took into custody relatives of Aslan Maskhadov, Shamil Basayev, and Doku Umarov, whom authorities accused of organizing the hostage taking. Federal forces stated this was for their protection, whereas human rights groups alleged that the relatives would be used in a potential trade for hostages at the school. The relatives were subsequently released, but in December 2004, according to Memorial, eight family members of Chechen leader Aslan Maskhadov were abducted.
On 29 December 2004 Kadyrov was awarded the Star of Hero of Russia. In the same year he graduated from Kadyrov Makhachkala Institute of Business and Law.
Sergei Abramov, chairman of the Chechen government, was seriously injured in a car accident. On November 11, 2005, Ramzan Kadyrov, during the period of treatment, served as acting head of the Chechen government.
Parliamentary elections held within the Republic of Chechnya (Ickheria), a member of the Russian Federation, on 27 November 2005. The European Union hailed the parliamentary election in Chechnya seen entrenching a pro-Moscow strongman Ramzan Kadyrov in power as a step forward for democracy in the rebel region. Separatist rebels took no part in the vote and called it a charade. The United Russia party won a majority of seats in the two-house Chechen parliament. Ramzan Kadyrov, the first deputy prime minister of the pro-Moscow Chechen government, was elected chief regional representative of Unified Russia, Russia's ruling party.
On March 4, 2006 the President of Chechnya Alu Alkhanov signed a decree appointing Ramzan Kadyrov, Prime Minister of the country, after Abramov resigned.
Kadyrov assassinated former Chechen commander Movladi Baysarov, the overt face of the opposition -- a man hitherto protected by his status as an FSB Lieutenant Colonel. Baysarov was gunned down 18 November 2006 by Chechen security forces with Moscow police looking on. Officially, he was shot while resisting arrest. The assassination -- with Chechen thugs blasting away on a main Moscow thoroughfare -- may have made Kadyrov too hot to be promoted.
According to some reports, Ramzan Kadyrov had a conflict with Chechen President Alu Alkhanov. By November 2006 Chechen PM Ramzan Kadyrov, newly turned 30 -- the minimum age to be president of Chechnya -- thought he had President Putin's agreement to step up to the presidency. But Putin first demanded peace between Kadyrov and Chechen President Alu Alkhanov.
Kunta Haji was the founder of Kadyrov's brotherhood within Qadiri Sufism. Alkhanov and Kakiyev are adepts of the rival Naqshbandi sect. Their ally Sulim Yamadayev's family belongs to the Kunta Haji sect.
United Russia (YR) approved its party platform and action plan for the next ten years at its convention in Yekaterinburg on 02 December 2006. Chechnya's Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov was elected to the party's 150-member General Council. Kadyrov's candidacy was the only proposal during the convention that saw even slight opposition from the delegates; 18 of the 535 secret ballots were cast against Kadyrov. In what is perhaps another sign that at least some of the YR leadership was worried about the party's image as 2007 approaches, the media on December 8 reported that Tomsk Mayor Aleksandr Makarov and First Deputy Mayor Sergey Lazarev, both of whom have been charged with extortion, have been expelled from YR.
On February 15, 2007 Russian President Vladimir Putin reviewed the treatment of Alu Alkhanov with the request for transfer to another job and signed a decree appointing Alkhanov, Deputy Minister of Justice. On the same day, Ramzan Kadyrov, was appointed acting President of the Chechen Republic.
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