Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov proposed in an article
in "Izvestia" earlier this week that foreign travel by senior Russian officials with access to state secrets should be restricted, if not banned.
Kadyrov linked that proposal to the recent death
in England in circumstances that remain unclear of former Russian Security Council Deputy Secretary Boris Berezovsky. Kadyrov said he is concerned that Berezovksy might have still had in his possession documents containing state secrets. He suggested such a travel ban could be extended to former defense ministers; former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev; and to former senior Russian government officials Mikhail Kasyanov, Boris Nemtsov, and Aleksei Kudrin, all now in opposition to the current Russian leadership.
The argument Kadyrov adduced in support of his proposal is that Russia’s security is the highest national priority. But cynics might argue that it would equally serve as a face-saving response to the restrictions envisaged by the U.S. Magnitsky law
intended to deny entry to the United States by Russian officials suspected of involvement in human rights abuses.
Kadyrov, who has been accused of personally torturing
his opponents, is the only Russian official identified by name in the Magnitsky law in connection with "wrongdoing."
Mikhail Starshinov, who heads the Russian State Duma’s interfractional group for cooperation between civil society and the police and security services, questioned the need for such a travel ban. He said foreign travel by officials with access to state secrets is already regulated
by existing legislation.
Two State Duma deputies from Chechnya, Adam Delimkhanov and Magomed Selimkhanov, have issued separate statements
supporting Kadyrov’s proposal. Selimkhanov predicted that it would yield "palpable results" for Russia’s information security.
Delimkhanov, who is Kadyrov’s cousin, for his part described
the proposed restrictions as essential for the preservation of Russia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, political, economic and social stability, and law and order.
Despite his parliamentary immunity from prosecution, Interpol issued a warrant
for Delimkhanov’s arrest four years ago at the request of police in Dubai who suspected him of masterminding the murder there of Sulim Yamadayev. A former close associate of Kadyrov’s father Akhmed-hadji and commander of the infamous Vostok (East) battalion, Yamadayev fled Russia in late 2008 after falling out with Ramzan Kadyrov. The warrant for Delimkhanov was lifted