Ramzan Kadyrov Highly Likely To Retain The Kremlin's Support Following The 2008 Russian Presidential Election

Executive Summary:

Ramzan Kadyrov accepted the presidency for the Russian republic of Chechnya on 5 May 2007, following his success as the deputy prime minister, first deputy prime minister, and premier of Chechnya, with full support from Russian president Vladimir Putin. Despite the upcoming 2008 Russian presidential election in March that will end Putin’s reign as president, it is highly likely that Kadyrov retains the Kremlin’s support due to Putin remaining in a position of power by becoming the leading candidate for the dominant political party, United Russia.


Although Ramzan Kadyrov began as a separatist in the first Chechen war against Russia, he renounced his pro-independence beliefs and
Ramzan Kadyrov
allied himself with the federal security forces at the outset of the second Chechen war in order to pursue his political career. Following this ideological change, and after receiving the Hero of Russia award from Putin in December 2004 for his leadership in Chechnya, Kadyrov began solidifying his relationship with the Kremlin. The relationship began with the promotion of Kadyrov from deputy prime minister to first deputy prime minister in October 2004, and then on to the Premier of Chechnya in February 2006.

On 5 May 2007, Ramzan Kadyrov accepted the presidency for the Russian Republic of Chechnya by reciting the oath of office replacing Alu Alkhanov, who resigned on 15 February 2007. Putin fully backed Kadyrov’s ascension to power, as Putin made sure “to eliminate all obstructions in the path of the young pawn of one of the Kremlin’s cliques. With the resignation of Alkhanov, and his subsequent reassignment to Moscow removed the final significant threat to Kadyrov becoming the new president. Also, Kadyrov received support from Vladislav Surkov, who serves as Putin’s chief domestic ideologue and the deputy director of the Kremlin Administration.

Prior to receiving the presidential nomination, however, Kadyrov aligned his political goals with those of the Kremlin. On 21 March 2007, Kadyrov dismissed the power-sharing treaty between Grozny and Moscow, which was a long-standing political objective of Akhmed-Hadji Kadyrov, Ramzan’s deceased father, by insisting that such an agreement would “undermine the concept of Russian statehood."
Vladimir Putin

Along with the adjustment to his political plans, Kadyrov recommended strongly to the Kremlin to alter Russia’s constitution in order to allow Putin to stay in the presidency for a third term. According to Kevin Leahy, a Central Asia-Caucasus Institute analyst, these persistent recommendations for Putin to remain in office for a third term is based on the idea that Kadyrov’s relationship with Putin allows Kadyrov to hold power in Chechnya on behalf of Putin in exchange for Kadyrov portraying Chechnya as a revitalized nation rising out of the “ashes of war.

As a result, in regards to the upcoming 2008 Russian presidential election in March, Kadyrov’s political strategy is against allying with any of the potential candidates, instead choosing to maintain a status-quo approach as an ally of the Kremlin. However, in support of Kadyrov’s continued relationship with Putin and the Kremlin, Putin announced on 1 October 2007 that he intends to represent Russia’s dominant political party, United Russia, as its leading candidate, thereby vowing to hold on to power within the Russian Government from a position other than through the presidency.

Additional Comments:


Source Reliability: 8
Analytic Confidence: 9

Christopher Anderson

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