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Is Chechen President airing Russian position?

By Messenger Staff
Monday, December 28
Some time ago the President of the Chechen Republic, part of the Russian Federation, recommended attacking Georgia and Ukraine. He described these two countries as Russia's "disease", which should be eradicated. He also asserted that 2008 the Georgian attack on South Ossetia was part of an anti-Russian plot masterminded by Western countries and the Russian state should elaborate a strategy for launching an attack.

Georgian analysts saw in these words of the notorious Ramzan Kadirov a serious threat, as he was very aggressive and straightforward in his expressions about Ukraine and Georgia. He gave his interview to the Daily Telegraph on December 21 but his comments began to cause a scandal on December 24 when the Georgian, Ukrainian and Russian media started speculating about them. Most Russian politicians distanced themselves from Kadirovís point of view, some suggesting that because his Russian is poor the comments may have been mistranslations, some that he simply lacks experience and others that Kadirov is not competent to express opinions on these issues. Even some Georgian analysts said that Kadirov was not worth paying much attention to, while others thought his statements were a slip of the tongue.

The comments of analysts who supported Kadirov's statements were more interesting however. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that he did not see any potential threat from the Ukrainian side but a real risk of aggression from Georgia, citing to support this view the intensive steps being taken to regenerate the Georgian armed forces. In particular Lavrov attacked Georgiaís current administration, stating that it threatens regional peace and security. Here Lavrov gave further spin to his fantasy of Georgians waging war against South Ossetia, Russian peacekeepers and the Russian Federation. This was his first argument. His second was that according to Russian Special Forces Georgia is training terrorists on its territory and is planning to send them to undermine Chechnya and Dagestan. That statement was first made some time before Kadirovís interview. Georgian analysts immediately responded that if this was a fact and the Russians knew it their special services would have waited for the terrorists to enter Russia from Georgia and either liquidated or captured them to prove its case. It is obvious that these allegations are just part of the usual Russian anti-Georgian propaganda.

Kadirov has his own armed formations and it is said that these are not completely controlled from Moscow. However we suspect that this is not true. This needs to be said in order to justify unlawful actions they may commit, which can be written off as Kadirov's forces acting independently, in defiance of Moscow. Such forces could be used against Georgia, creating different types of provocation, and this is a genuine threat.

Now it is snowing in the Caucasus and it is unlikely that any moves will be possible before the snow melts in late spring. But the Georgian leadership should be very conscious of the threat posed by Kadirov and work out how it will avoid falling into any trap set by either the Chechen leader or his patrons.