Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov has restructured the government hierarchy, naming an obscure deputy prime minister as premier and elevating the head of the joint administration of the republic head and the government to be the second-most powerful figure within the leadership, responsible for overseeing the work of the government and answerable directly to Kadyrov himself.
On May 21, Kadyrov had the Chechen parliament rubber stamp amendments to the republic’s constitution and constitutional law to empower the republic's head to name the head of the combined administration.
That appointment was previously the prerogative of the prime minister, and the post carried the rank of deputy premier. The combined administration will, according to Kadyrov
, monitor the activities of the executive branch. Its tasks will include the approval
of all standardizing government documents.
The man Kadyrov appointed to perform those duties is Magomed Daudov, first deputy prime minister with responsibility for the police and security agencies, whom observers had previously identified as a front-runner to succeed
Kadyrov’s maternal cousin Odes Baysultanov as premier.
Daudov, 32, reportedly fought
against federal forces in the early 2000s under the direct command of radical field commander Shamil Basayev before surrendering in 2004 and pledging his loyalty to Kadyrov.
Kadyrov himself is said to have boasted
to a visiting Russian State Duma delegation in March 2009 that Daudov was a former insurgent.
Unconfirmed reports say Daudov commanded the operation
in June 2006 in which Abdul-Khalim Saydullayev, Aslan Maskhadov’s successor as Chechen Republic Ichkeria president, was killed.
Moreover, Daudov has been implicated in the detention in February 2010 of human rights activists who sought to help the families of Chechens who had disappeared into the clutches of the security forces. He has also been linked
with one of the team of killers that was sent to gun down former Kadyrov bodyguard Umar Israilov in Vienna in 2008.
None of that information figures in the sanitized biographies of Daudov appended to the announcement of his successive appointments over the past few years.
According to those accounts, Daudov was born in Stavropol Krai
and graduated from a high school in the village of Geldagen in Chechnya’s Kurchaloi district.
Chechen Government Changing Tack
He is said to have served in the Russian army in the early 2000s and to have joined the Chechen Interior Ministry after his demobilization. In 2007 he was appointed head of the police department in the Shali district, southeast of Grozny.
Daudov purportedly played a key role
in the killing of two prominent resistance commanders, Djabrail Abdurazkov (who also fought under Basayev) in February 2006 and Suleiman Imurzayev (nom de guerre Khayrulla) in April 2007.
Nonetheless, Daudov’s name is not mentioned in the reports
of those two killings published at the time. Instead, Kadyrov himself is identified as having coordinated the operation to kill Imurzayev, whom he subsequently accused of having masterminded the bombing that killed his father, Akhmad-hadji Kadyrov, in May 2004.
Daudov was nonetheless honored with the prestigious Hero of Russia award in July 2007. Incidentally, Daudov has twice recently stressed
the seminal influence that his working relationship with Akhmad-hadji Kadyrov (which he dates back to 2003) had on his personal and professional development.
Daudov was named first deputy prime minister
in March 2010 and presidential and government administration head
in December 2011.
As acting prime minister, Kadyrov has named Isa Tumkhadjiyev
as deputy prime minister responsible for social issues. The new cabinet is to be named
by early June.
Kadyrov’s stated rationale for strengthening the role of the combined administration was that the problem of restoring order and security has been resolved, the Interior Ministry is performing its duties in an exemplary fashion, and that the emphasis has now shifted to attracting investment
, creating new jobs, and strengthening the economy.
It remains unclear how effective Daudov and Tumkhadjiyev will collectively prove to be in addressing those new priorities.