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Chechnya marks ‘Day of Remembrance and Sorrow’

10 May 2017
Chechen officials at the grave of Akhmat Kadyrov (grozny-inform.ru)

This year was the seventh year that 10 May was celebrated in Chechnya as the Day of Remembrance and Sorrow. According to the authorities, one of the most terrible tragedies in modern Chechen history took place on this day — the death of Chechen President Akhmat Kadyrov. Kadyrov, who was the father of current Chechen Head Ramzan Kadyrov, died on 9 May 2004, and was buried a day later.

On 10 May, large-scale commemorative events are held in Chechnya, the epicentre of which is always the ancestral village of the Kadyrovs — Tsentaroy. Solemn ceremonies began with a memorial prayer at the grave of Akhmat Kadyrov, with members of the government and officials close to the current administration in attendance.

Throughout the republic, hundreds of bulls were sacrificed and their meat distributed to the poor and disadvantaged.

In Grozny’s central mosque, the Heart of Chechnya, the Quran was recitated on the night of 9 May, asking for ‘God’s mercy and blessing for those who lost their lives for peace in their native lands, who wanted to see their children happy, and who wanted to live and rejoice every coming day’.

A ceremony was also held at Chechnya’s State Theatre and Concert Hall. Flowers were laid at the Memorial to the Fallen in the Fight Against Terrorism.

Until 2011, the Day of Remembrance and Sorrow was commemorated on 23 February, to mark the 1944 deportation of the entire nation to Central Asia on Stalin’s orders. Most Chechens still consider that day to be the most tragic date in the history of the Chechen people.

According to officials, all mourning events should be commemorated on this day alone. At the time the date was moved, many Chechens refused to observe it, even publicly opposed it. However, opposition to the move has been mostly silent in recent years.

[Read also: After 73 years, the memory of Stalin’s deportation of Chechens and Ingush still haunts the survivors]

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