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"Re-Chechenization"

 

Simultaneously, political power was being gradually delegated to the Kremlin-appointed leaders of Chechnya’s administration, while law enforcement was, little by little, entrusted to armed Chechen police forces. Some see this attempt at “re-Chechenizing” the province (that is to say, putting Chechens back in charge of the civil administration) as an old colonial tactic to try to get local forces to do the fighting for somebody else. Such critics point out that neither “Vietnamization” in the war in Vietnam nor “Afghanization” of the Soviet Union’s war in Afghanistan worked properly for either the United States or the former USSR.

 

President Putin lays flowers at the grave of Akhmed Kadyrov, accompanied by Chechen officials, Alu Alkhanov (left) and Ramzan Kadyrov: August 2004. Photo: kremlin.ru

“Re-Chechenization” could also be part of a propaganda effort designed by the Kremlin to convince Russians and the international community that the war in Chechnya is over and that civil conditions there are normalizing, despite the deadly clashes that are taking place on an almost daily basis.

Be that as it may, the newly created Chechen power agencies are playing a more and more important role in neutralizing the attacks of the remaining militants. A new government structure is being gradually set up in the republic. In March 2003 a referendum on the republic’s constitution was held. It approved the new constitution, which puts an end to separatist aspirations and firmly declares Chechnya a part of the Russian Federation.

The referendum paved the way for the election of the republic’s president. In the election of October 2003, Akhmad Kadyrov, the de facto Chechen president installed three years earlier by Russia, officially became president. It is still unclear how much power Russia would actually grant the separatist province. The negotiations on power sharing between the federal center and the republic’s administration are planned in the near future. The republic’s representatives have retaken their seats in both the State Duma and the Federation Council. Chechnya is slowly returning into Russia’s political and legal environment.

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