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Kadyrov Sets New Date For Marking 1944 Chechen Deportation Anniversary

A billboard in the city of Gudermes features images of Ramzan Kadyrov (right) and his father, former Chechen leader Akhmed-hadji Kadyrov.
Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov has elevated the cult of personality surrounding his late father, former Chechen President Akhmed-hadji Kadyrov, to a new level by rescheduling the date on which Chechens are to commemorate the 1944 deportation of the entire Chechen and Ingush nations to Central Asia on Stalin's orders.

According to RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service, Kadyrov has issued orders that in future, the anniversary should be marked not on the actual date the deportation got under way -- February 23 -- but on May 10, in conjunction with the commemoration of the anniversary of the death of Akhmed-hadji, who was killed by a bomb attack in Grozny on May 9, 2004. May 9 is marked across Russia as Victory Day, the end of World War II.

Kadyrov's instructions have not been made public, presumably because his advisers understand, even if he does not, that this is a monstrous insult to every Chechen and will only compound the hatred many already feel for him.

Those orders are presumably the reason why there was a grandiose event in Grozny on February 23 to mark Defenders of the Fatherland Day, but no comparable ceremony to mark the anniversary.

It's not clear whether Kadyrov will try to induce Republic of Ingushetia head Yunus-Bek Yevkurov -- who this year for the first time described the deportation as "genocide" -- to follow his example. Indeed, there is no guarantee that Yevkurov will retain his job once Vladimir Putin is again elected Russian president.

The glowing endorsement of Putin earlier this week by Yevkurov's detested predecessor, Murat Zyazikov, raises the question whether Putin will bring back fellow Federal Security Service (FSB) officer Zyazikov to replace Yevkurov, who was appointed in October 2008 by then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

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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