Zakayev: Umarov will appear in Syria

In an interview published on the Radio Svoboda website, exiled Chechen opposition leader Akhmed Zakayev accuses Russia of getting ready to stage a propaganda coup in Syria involving the North Caucasus Islamist guerrilla leader Doku Umarov. Zakayev says that contrary to recent reports (published on Kavkaz Center) Umarov is alive and well and is preparing for a new project that will involve his disappearance in Dagestan and his reappearance in Syria on the side of the rebel forces there.

Let me draw your attention to this: when  the opposition rallies against Putin in Moscow developed, Doku Umarov issued a statement saying that his supporters would not commit terrorist acts on the territory of Russia, as the Russian people had finally woken up and rebelled against the tyrant. The statement seems to be against Putin, but in fact it is absolutely consistent with the interests of Putin and his entourage.

After all, if Doku Umarov comes down on the side of the opposition, in the eyes of the average Russian the opposition is guilty of an alliance with bad people like Umarov. This figure has been spun for so long and so many civilian lives have been sacrificed in order to create the impression that it’s not only Navalny and the opposition who are standing up to Putin and denouncing corruption and unfair elections, but also the terrorist Doku Umarov. The emergence of Umarov in Syria will arouse attention around the world, and many Western politicians will feel very uncomfortable.

Interview with Akhmed Zakayev


the worst part of it is not who Putin is, or what he does, the worst part of it is that this person, with all his cruelty and his anti-national policy, meets a need of Russian society. That is the really depressing thing. It is only now that some glimmer of understanding has started to appear – a glimmer of understanding about what this man is doing to Russians, to Russia, to the Russian state. Maybe something will start changing now. But, unfortunately, to this day he has met a need of Russian society – the ratings, even if they were exaggerated, show this. The self-censorship that journalists have subjected themselves to…Of course, it is fear – it cannot be explained otherwise. But the Russian public cannot cope on their own with this phenomenon, with Putinism. And the West as usual is not ready to help or even to give moral support to those who are trying to oppose this phenomenon. There is nothing new in this either – it was the same in Soviet times too. The West strengthened Stalin, and the regimes that followed were also supported by the West. And today with this oil and gas… Europe is always in need of something. It will always need something from Russia. But the thing is that as long as they are going to play along to the tune of these regimes and give them nourishment, the problems Europe has, instead of being resolved, will only become more acute. This is something the West does not understand. As long as the problem of the Russian regime is not solved, the problems in other parts of the world will not be solved either – be they in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, with Al-Qaida or in the North Caucasus.

Point of no return

The Russian government, in collaboration with the Kadyrov-led Chechen authorities, continues to exert every means at its disposal to persuade Akhmed Zakayev, the London-based prime minister of the separatist Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (ChRI) government-in-exile, to return to Chechnya. In a new development, an aide of President Medvedev has suggested that Zakayev could be offered an amnesty if he agrees to go before a Russian court and proves his innocence. It seems unlikely that he will comply, however. Having refused an invitation from Ramzan Kadyrov to visit Grozny, Zakayev is understandably cautious, pointing to the fact that the many political murders have taken place in Russia during recent years mean that no guarantee of personal safety can be trusted.