Ramzan Kadyrov, Head of Russia’s Chechen Republic, says in an exclusive interview with RT that the West is consciously building a negative image of the restored Chechnya.
In the aftermath of the terror attack at Domodedovo Airport, he stresses that the West eagerly promotes the idea of a “Caucasus trace” in any terror acts, and even uses human rights activists for its own agenda of unhinging Russian unity. He drew attention to the fact that in Chechnya, they build both Orthodox churches and mosques, and that Muslims are restoring Orthodox cemeteries, but despite that, foreign terrorists sent to the Caucasus by the West preach jihad against Russians and Christians in the Russian language.
RT: Why is a negative image of Chechnya being built in the West now when Chechnya is being restored, as contrasted with the period of war and breakdown?
Ramzan Kadyrov: The West implements such a policy towards Russia. They are not interested in the Chechen Republic. Their attitude to the Caucasus is dictated by their global interest. The West is interested in ruining the sovereign state of Russia. Why far away, across the water, are they so interested in Ukraine and Georgia? Why is America building its policy towards them in such a way? Because America knows that Russia is a great power and someone has to interfere with its plans so that its affairs will be damaged. That’s the reason why the West is constantly showing that it seems as though there is no democracy in Russia and human rights are violated. They are working on ruining Russia step by step, as they ruined the USSR before.
RT: Could the US do something positive for the Caucasus?
RK: If they left the Caucasus alone, we would have resolved the issues with Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. If only they could stop interfering with our affairs and leave us alone, If only they could ask the people whether they want NATO troops or American troops present in the Caucasus. Who needs them in the Caucasus? Who’s interested in hostilities in Georgia, Chechnya, Ingushetia, and Abkhazia? We lived peacefully and had brotherly relations with all people. If they had left us alone, our peaceful life would have been restored. That’s the best thing they can do for us.
RT: After the explosion in Domodedovo, Western newspapers were the first to mention a Caucasian link ahead of the first investigators’ reports. What do you say to that?
RK: It’s always this way. They are always in a hurry to tell the whole world that the Caucasus is a place where there is no order and people are ready to kill anyone, as if we are all murderers and terrorists. They present Chechen, Dagestani, and Ingush people as criminals to the international community. That’s the way they conduct their politics. I’ve always said so.
They want Siberia, the Volga Region, St. Petersburg and other regions to treat us with apprehension. They do not want to let our society consolidate in Russia. It’s dirty politics.
Once a terrorist happens to be from the Caucasus – why do they always underline it in public opinion? He is Russian anyway. We all are citizens of Russia. The Caucasus belongs to Russia. We are citizens of Russia as well as the others. Why are we always separated from Russia?
If one comes from the Caucasus and appears to be a terrorist, then he turns into a common enemy and is to be arrested or eliminated. We are doing it day and night – I’ve lost everything fighting against terrorism and extremism.
We put everything in order on our territory, and we will continue doing so. We can assist Americans in this – they have huge problems with it in Iraq and Afghanistan. They do not display their affairs, but interfere with ours.
I am sure that if it turns out that a Caucasian is involved in this case, we are to speak of him as of a criminal without a nationality, religion or homeland. He’s a terrorist. If he dies – good; if not – we are to find and neutralize him. It’s not correct to base a policy on whether he’s a Muscovite or a Caucasian.
Both our high-ranking authorities and security agencies often mention the so-called Caucasian link when reporting on versions of an incident. I often have to hear it. I even raised this question at the Security Council several times.
There is no such thing as the Caucasian link. There is no Caucasian jamia [Muslim association], as many like to say, like there is no Moscow jamia. We aggravate the situation and give grounds for such suspicions in society. As if there is a jamia in the Caucasus, and here they have Command. It turns out that the same people say that the terrorist network is being destroyed, but at the same time we build up confidence that the network becomes stronger. There is a group of criminals, but we’ll destroy them.
RT: In your opinion what’s the situation today – war or reconciliation?
RK: We have neither a war nor reconciliation. There are terrorists in the Caucasus, but they are everywhere. There are terrorists in Moscow, St. Petersburg, the UK, and the US. There are terrorists guided by the security agencies; there are self-made ones; there are terrorists who heard an appeal and came.
We had Arab mercenaries. They’ve been in the Chechen Republic for about 15-16 years and do not speak a word of Chechen, but speak Russian perfectly.
Think why! Who sent them here? Why was it so hard to eliminate them? Abu-Valid spoke Russian, Khattab spoke Russian, Turks and other mercenaries speak Russian well. They preach that Russians are disbelievers and they must be killed, but they made all, including the Chechens, speak in Russian about it.
Those are specially-trained people sent here by the security agencies so that problems would continue in Russia.
The Chechen people have realized that it’s a made-up war against the sovereign state of Russia. We realized that definitely we are to eliminate those people, and we are to protect our children from them.
In the Caucasus, there are regions with problems. Recently there was a meeting on the development of the North-Caucasian Federal District chaired by the head of the government. All law-enforcement and security agencies work in the region. It’s important, but what’s more important is to fight together with the people against extremism and terrorism. Only then will they disappear. We are on the way to it.
RT: Ok, then. Mercenaries preach terrorism in Russian. But what about the Russian population? Are they coming back? What’s being done for that?
RK: There are things that surprise people in this country, including many Russians. For example, in the Orlov Region you can’t build a mosque. In Stavropol, where hundreds of thousands of Muslims live, you can’t build a mosque. But we give a contrary example.
In the Chechen Republic, where there allegedly was a religious war, we build both mosques and Orthodox temples and restore churches.
When I became deputy prime minister, the first thing I did was to gather volunteers to clean the Orthodox cemetery. I was the first to call on Russians to come to the republic and visit the cemetery and pray for their relatives. We were the first to pay for transport for the people to be able to come. As a bonus, I gave every person who came a sum of money from a social fund. We respect Christians.
When the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – left Mecca and arrived to Medina he did not fight either with Christians or Jews. He said that everyone should sign agreements so that Christians and other communities could trade and prosper. When the Prophet returned to Mecca, he made many concessions to Christians. Our religion says that if you are not prevented from praying, you should obey the laws of that country. We – Muslims of Russia – live in the legal area of Russia, and as no other nation we feel a high level of affiliation with society.
In the Chechen Republic, our religion is real and not just words. We work with young people and organize religious scientific conferences, invite scientists from the Caucasus and around the world, including Christians and Muslims. We explain that we were not divided so that no one will impose Wahhabism, extremism or anything else in relation to our separation.
Recently I told religious leaders to preach sermons in Russian, Kumyk and Tatar languages.
We see that religious Christians are honest people. In the Naur Region we are building a complex for Christians – even better than they wanted. In the Shelkovskoy, Sunzhensky and Gudermes regions Christians needed buses for their trips to church. We settled that for them – bought buses for the church to transport them.
We are implementing the right policy. I haven’t seen a single dissatisfied person. In our region, Muslims cleaned the cemetery together with Christians.
The Archbishop of Stavropol, Pheophan, asked to move the church in Grozny to another place, farther from the road where it is now. I invited him to choose the place, and we’ll build it – with a hotel for guests and on a big piece of land. Chechens support that.
RT: What’s the reason for the conflict and tough relations with human rights activists?
RK: There is no conflict. I appeal to them to protect the rights and not violate them. I tell them that if they want to protect rights, they should come to me and voice the issue they think important. I have authority. I can invite the Prosecutor General, the Interior Minister, the Head of the Federal Security Service Directorate, heads of the municipals, and the religious leaders. If there are human rights violations, we can solve issues fast.
Accommodation, a patch of land – we help in any situation.
But activists do not want that! They are paid huge grants. They need to make a precedent to show that rights are not protected in Chechnya. They are ready to do whatever it takes for a $10,000 grant. There is evidence that there are dishonest people among them. They accuse people, knowing that they are not guilty. It’s the court who should decide on guilt and not human rights activists who are paid from unclear foundations and sent here by unknown organizations.
When I stepped up to my post, I gave an oath to respect human rights. A man’s word is the most important thing to him. I tell you, I’ve lost the dearest people in my life for the sake of the rights of the people in my republic, for peace and stability. How can Kadyrov violate human rights? How can any of the activists coming to the republic be interested in human rights more than me?
If you want to see a real picture, come to any village. I gave 14,000 orders within one week. And all of them were fulfilled. We receive phone calls, meet with people and get letters. We solve all kinds of issues. That’s what we are here for.
There was not such a case that human rights activists protected human rights better than we do in our republic. They are protecting their pockets, which explains their cold attitude to the present Chechen Republic.
I invited them to come and ask questions and proved that they were not right. But they are never ashamed. A person should have principles: live for your motherland and give your honor to no one. But evidently they are guided by a different principle. Allah created them like that, I will pray for them.
Nadezhda Kevorkova, RT