CHECHNYA'S PUPPET PRESIDENT ASSASSINATED--
CIVILIAN VICTIMS INVISIBLE
by Raven Healing
Akhmad Kadyrov, president of Moscow's puppet administration in Chechnya,
was killed in a blast in a stadium in Grozny during the May 9 celebration
of Russia's World War II victory. The number dead is reported to be at
least 24, with at least one child reported killed, along with Hussein
Isayev, head of Kadyarov's State Council; Kadyarov's finance minister; two
of Kadyrov's bodyguards; and a photographer for Reuter's news agency. Over
50 are reported injured. Col.-Gen. Valery Baranov, a Russian commander, was
initially reported to have been killed, but is in fact still alive and in
Initial reports stated that the explosion was due to landmines placed under
the VIP seats. Later, Russia's NTV reported that an investigator said the
explosion was caused by a 152-mm shell detonated with a wire or timer. The
New York Times reported that the explosives were not placed under the
seats, but within the structure of the stadium itself, implying a
well-planned assassination. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the
explosion, but at least five unidentified suspects have been detained.
Chechen Prime Minister Sergei Abramov will become acting president, but has
made it clear that he has no intention of running for president in the next
elections, slated for September.
While CNN and other western media lauded Kadyrov as a "peacekeeper,"
critics charge he merely presided over a facade of peace. The assassination
of Kadyrov received world coverage and a new round of official statements
against terrorism. But the ongoing atrocities against Chechen civilians by
the Russian occupation forces have received little international response.
The death of a civilian woman and her five children in the Russian aerial
bombing of the mountain village of Rigakhoi in Chechnya on April 9 went
virtually unnoticed by the world media--to cite but one recent example.
Among Kadyrov's many injustices was the creation of a personal military
headed by his son, Ramzan Kadyrov--one of the most feared men in
Chechnya--with a reputation for brutality. Ramzan Kadyrov was promoted to
first deputy prime minister after the assassination, leaving him the most
likely candidate to become acting president following the term of Abramov.
Chechnya still has not recovered from nearly a decade of warfare. Russian
President Vladimir Putin made a surprise visit to Chechnya on May 11 and is
quoted as having commented on the lack of reconstruction in the region. "I
have seen Grozny from a helicopter and it looks horrible," he said.
On May 17, in a statement on Kavkaz Center website, Chechen rebel field
commander Shamil Bassayev claimed his fighters were responsible for the
assassination. Bassayev had also claimed responsibility for the October
2002 theatre siege in Moscow. The US State Department added him to their
list of international terrorists in August 2003.
See also WW3 REPORT #97
Special to WORLD WAR 3 REPORT, May 15, 2004
Reprinting permissible with attribution