Medieval masters

LJ blogger kutuzov has a comment on the political background to Natalya Estemirova’s murder (my tr.):

In the aftermath of Natalya Estemirova’s murder,  the figure of Ramzan Kadyrov has repeatedly come to the surface. He has, for example, been accused of the killing.

I don’t believe it, because, like any other human rights defender, she presented no danger to Ramzan at all. Kadyrov’s position is as solid as a granite rock. The human rights defenders are powerless to move him, he can hurl abuse at them, give them a reprimand (as he did to Natalya Estemirova), but why would he kill  them?

Ramzan kills his enemies, and the rights defenders are not his enemies, any more than the journalists are. Let them write their commentaries, complain to Strasbourg, to him it’s  like water off a duck’s back.

But for some of Ramzan’s subordinates even our human rights defenders can be enemies. That is easy to explain. Their position is not so secure, and Kadyrov, like the typical oriental despot he is, can always remove them from office and put them behind bars. Just like that, to be on the safe side, because they looked at him in the wrong way, didn’t sit or stand up when they were supposed to. And especially because they might have done things in the past that people like Estemirova might be able to dig up.  A few years ago there was Anna Politkovskaya.

Stalin used to put the crooks and corrupt party officials in prison. Mussolini dealt with the Mafia. So Ramzan’s various henchmen and local operatives have reason to be afraid, and they could also have a motive for the killing. .

Another point is that in the case of Estemirova the responsibility still lies with Ramzan. He didn’t kill her himself, he didn’t order her killing, but he did nothing to prevent the ordering, the kidnapping and the murder.

He has not shrugged off this responsibility and has promised to conduct his own investigation.  Let us just hope he conducts it rather more swiftly than our third-rate investigators, who don’t even know the basics of their craft. 

Clearly, Ramzan Kadyrov’s position in the system of Russian government is an abnormal one for the 21st century. It is a classic form of vassaldom, of the medieval kind. 

Ramzan has sworn a feudal oath to his masters and overlords in the Kremlin – he will remain loyal to them, put his armed forces at their disposal when they wage their wars (as in South Ossetia and Georgia last year), but the the overlord – Putin, and now Medvedev –  will not interfere in the vassal’s internal affairs.

But there is no alternative to this situation, nor can there be one. It’s the old system of the Russian governor-general – only worse, and there are no more Yermolovs or even Paskeviches, they have all died out.

They tried with Dudayev/Yandarbiyev, with Maskhadov/Basayev. It’s enough.

So Ramzan is the best way to control Chechnya.

If we are going to be realistic we just have to accept this, and not construct fantastical theories – something I myself am guilty of doing at times.


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