No real news or updates on yesterday’s bombing in Chechnya, which killed President Kadyrov. There has, however, been a slew of articles suggesting that the assasination leaves Putin’s plans for Chechnya in chaos, and that there will be renewed violence in the region. Here’s one view from Igor Bunin, quoted on Voice of America.
The director of Moscow’s Center for Political Technologies, Igor Bunin, believes Mr. Abramov, a 32-year-old former banker, will exert limited influence, at best, as the acting president.
Mr. Bunin said Mr. Abramov inherited his position by accident and, as such, will serve only in a temporary capacity. He also believes Mr. Abramov will be, in his words, like a puppet, with President Putin and rival Chechen clans competing to control him.
I think he’s right – Abramov doesn’t have the level of respect that Kadyrov had, and will find it difficult, if not impossible, to pull together the clans. Which will almost automatically lead to renewed conflict. What Putin needs is someone in Chechnya who commands respect. But politics in Chechnya is a dangerous business – who is there left alive in Chechnya that fits the bill?
Which got me thinking about Chechnya’s current separatist leader, Aslan Maskhadov. I noted a few weeks back that he seemed to be becoming sidelined in the Chechen opposition by Islamic radicals and that there were rumours he might surrender to Russian troops in order to avoid suffering an even worse fate. He certainly would command a lot of respect from the general Chechen population, and I think he would be able to draw a large number of moderates into government. I wonder what the odds are that he will emerge as Chechnya’s newly elected President sometime over the next twelve months?
Remember – you heard it here first…