For years, Chechnya’s Head Ramzan Kadyrov has demanded personal apologies — which he broadcasts on social media — for any perceived insult. This trend of public humiliation is now beginning to spread to neighbouring republics, first in Ingushetia, and now Daghestan.
It is no secret that the courts in Russia fail to maintain their independence from the government. This is perhaps most acute of all if Chechnya, where the republic’s leadership have waged a war on the judiciary, and trumped-up cases are brought against anyone who says or does ‘the wrong thing’ in public.
In 2010, UNESCO declared Chechen a vulnerable language. Despite local efforts to popularise it, their modest results show that a more serious approach is needed.
Chechnya, like many other modern-day republics of the Russian Federation, has experienced desolation of highland villages and an outflow of people, mostly young people, to the cities in the plains. People commonly say that they leave their ancestral villages in search of a ‘better life’. In fact, the reality often falls short of the migrants’ expectations, because even the largest city with its shiny skyscrapers often can’t give them what they’re looking for.
The North Caucasus is well known for its Olympic champion wrestlers. However, a move towards the more brutal ‘mixed martial arts’ is leading some to question why such a violent sport is being allowed and even encouraged, whether or not it is compatible with local traditions, and if it is engendering violence.
After enduring two bloody wars and under the extreme authoritarian rule of Ramzan Kadyrov, many in the Kremlin and beyond believe that Chechnya has been pacified. However, after 300 years of resistance, few in Chechnya doubt that the struggle against Russia will continue.
A conflict in a Siberian penal colony between a Russian ‘thief-in-law’ and Chechen and Daghestani inmates is threatening to spiral out of control. The feud has already began to spread to other prisons in Russia, and attempts to mediate a truce between the warring factions have so far proven fruitless.
A public council to socialise the families of slain militants and local security forces has been created in Ingushetia. The organisation will provide psychological and practical support, including help in finding employment.
The twenty-third of February 2017 marks 73 years since the mass deportation of Chechens and Ingush from their homelands to Central Asia. Stalin’s Soviet Union ordered the deportation in the winter of 1944, following which, the Chechen–Ingush Oblast was fully abolished. Every year, Chechens ask why it had to happen. The question has remained unanswered.