Chechnya: not all that glitters is gold

It was March 2007 when Umar Khanbiev, former Chechnya Minister of Government Maskhadov, asked for political asylum in Italy during a press conference at the Chamber of Deputies, held with radical leader Marco Pannella.

It was not Russia or the new Chechen government to be at the center of Khambiev’s concerns, but “the Soviet illiberal system,” which, according to Umar Khambiev, Putin wanted to rebuild.

Ten years have passed and little seems to have changed. If, in recent years, Chechnya has been the subject of very serious charges by Human Right Watch for the use of torture by its authorities towards opposition and minorities, other worrying news comes now from the Caucasus.

In recent days, the Russian independent journalist Novaya Gazeta, a journal written by journalist Anna Politkovskaya, reported that the Chechen government, led by Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov, would have imprisoned some 100 men in a Secret concentration camp at Argun, in Chechnya, with the accusation of homosexuality.

At the same time other news is circulating. After the terrorist act committed in St. Petersburg on April 3, anti-terrorist gatherings took place in several cities, including in the south of Russia, the Caucasus and Chechnya. The municipality of Grozny, Chechen capital, reported that 30,000 people participated in the anti-terrorism event. According to the Caucasian Knot local public employees were obliged to take part in the event. Higher education institutes, for instance, were instructed to have all the students attend the demonstrations.

Earlier, similar facts were also denounced by residents of Volgograd, but Chechnya is causing more concern, as it is constantly violating the law with the iron fist that the government use to maintain its Prime Minister Kadyrov’s leadership, “the man that even the Kremlin cannot control” according to the Courrier International statement.

A man with so many shadows, who came to organize at Grozny a rally to protest against the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo after the killing of his editorial office, with the aim of strengthening his Islamic policy to stabilize Chechnya and to contain the ” Islamic extremism. Politics that led to a return to the Sharia Republic, Islamic law.

Vittorio Pecoraro

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