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Chechen Leader Seeks To Strong-Arm Ingush Leadership

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov meets with Ingushetia's acting president, Rashid Gaysanov, on June 24.
Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov meets with Ingushetia's acting president, Rashid Gaysanov, on June 24.
Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov traveled unannounced on June 24 to Magas, where he announced that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has tasked him with coordinating all counterterror activities in both Chechnya and Ingushetia following the assassination attempt on Ingushetian President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov two days earlier.

Kadyrov also rejected unequivocally the offer made on June 24 by former Ingushetian President Ruslan Aushev to head the republic temporarily until Yevkurov recovers, provided the legal and constitutional issues involved can be successfully resolved. Kadyrov claimed that as president of Ingushetia (in 1992-2002), Aushev not only failed to take action against the Chechen resistance but harbored resistance commander (and later President) Aslan Maskhadov.

In fact, it is not clear precisely what instructions Medvedev gave Kadyrov at their meeting on June 22. Medvedev's website quoted him only as admonishing Kadyrov to intensify the struggle against "terrorists." But visiting Yevkurov at a Moscow clinic later on June 22, Medvedev said it was Yevkurov who had been central to the taking of "the harshest and most correct decisions" in that struggle.

Kadyrov's announcement that he planned to take command of the counterinsurgency campaign triggered alarm across Ingushetia, even though Ingushetian Prime Minister Rashid Gaysanov, who in line with the republic's constitution has assumed the presidential duties, told journalists that he himself would remain in overall charge of the republic, while Kadyrov would only supervise police operations in the area along the border between the two republics.

A State Duma deputy from Ingushetia and one of Ingushetia's two representatives in the Federation Council subsequently issued a joint statement saying that the Joint Staff in the Republic of Ingushetia remains in charge of the coordinated operations by the police forces of the two republics against "illegal armed formations."

The website on June 24 quoted Ingushetian Interior Minister Ruslan Meyriyev as refusing outright to take orders from Kadyrov.

About This Blog

This blog presents analyst Liz Fuller's personal take on events in the region, following on from her work in the "RFE/RL Caucasus Report." It also aims, to borrow a metaphor from Tom de Waal, to act as a smoke detector, focusing attention on potential conflict situations and crises throughout the region. The views are the author's own and do not represent those of RFE/RL.


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