Thursday, August 24, 2006

Personality Cult

In the Moscow Times, Timur Aliyev writes about Chechnya's Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov, who turns 30 this year, making him eligible for the Chechen presidency. The preparations for Ramzan's enthronement as the country's supreme leader involve poetry contests, plays, the sacrificing of sheep, and a series of commemorations of Ramzan's father, slain President Akhmad Kadyryov, who was assassinated in 2004. The aim is to pass on the father's charisma to the son:
Perhaps the most elaborate celebration of the former president was the premiere of "Vow," a play put on by the State Chechen Theater in Grozny. Set in the early years of the second Chechen war, the play's main characters include Akhmad Kadyrov, Chechen rebel leaders Dzhokhar Dudayev and Aslan Maskhadov, and former Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev. The hero of the play is Kadyrov, whose character courageously fights Wahhabi extremists and ultimately breaks with Maskhadov. In the end, Kadyrov triumphs.
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