Staunton, February 24 – In an indication that about some things, the attitudes of the population matter more than those of the man in the Kremlin, Ramzan Kadyrov in the end couldn’t avoid denouncing Stalin on the anniversary of the deportation of the Chechens and other Vaynakh peoples, although he did so not at a public event but via social media.
When he decided to follow Moscow’s line and not mark the anniversary of the 1944 deportation with any public action, Kadyrov not only put himself at odds with the leaders of Ingushetia who went all out but risked alienating Chechens at home and in the diaspora. (See
windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/02/on-73rd-anniversary-of-deportation.html, kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/298227/ and ekhokavkaza.com/a/28327747.html).
So like the cagey politician he is, the Chechen head tried to have it both ways, finally using his social media account on Instagram to try to put himself on the right side of history (instagram.com/p/BQ2gOGyBy67/ and graniru.org/War/Chechnya/m.259015.html). More than 130,000 people have viewed that posting.
More than 1500 have left comments, many of which suggest Kadyrov’s ploy didn’t work as he intended. His words, given in full below, help to explain why:
“Salaam Aleikum! The majority of peoples of the world have suffered in their history large and small tragedies. But there have been few cases when all their members, adults and children, women and men, bosses and subordinates, all suffered at the same time.
“On February 23, 1944, the Chechen people was loaded into cattle cars and deported to Siberia and the endless steppes of Central Asia. More than half of them died from cold, hunger, epidemics and the arbitrary actions of the authorities. Only in 1959 did the Chechen people achieve the numbers which it had in 1939.
“Our republic was disbanded and split into pieces, which gave rise to problems for many, many decades. The people lost their homes, property, archives and priceless relicts. For 30 years of Siberian exile, the economic basis of the Chechens was destroyed or used for the construction of others; their property was taken from them.
“Joseph Stalin, may he be a thousand times cursed wanted to eliminate our people and memory about it from the face of the earthy. But on his soul came ‘a troika’ which shortened the life of the tyrant. Thousands and thousands of Chechens defended the Caucasus, Stalingrad, and Moscow, broke through the blockade of Leningrad, took Koenigsberg and Berlin, liberated Warsaw, Kyiv, Prague, and Vienna.
“In gratitude, Stalin dealt as he did with the Chechen people. Any war in the world is accompanied by an outburst of criminality. Thus it was a thousand years ago, during the Great Fatherland War, and thus it is now.
“The actions of the criminals were given a political paintjob instead of being punished. Moreover, it is well-known that among the tens of thousands of former citizens of the USSR who fought in the ranks of the Hitlerites, there were no Chechens.
“We are firmly convinced that events like those of 1944 will never be repeated. But those who even today seek to make a hero out of Stalin, to ascribe to him exclusively the victory in the Great Fatherland War, should remember that at the fronts and in the rear died tens of millions of people.
“It was they and not Stalin who defeated fascism! The first president of the Chechen Republic, hero of Russia, Akhmat-Khadzhi Kadyrov fifty years later at the price of his own life saved the Chechen people from complete destruction and took on himself responsibility for the fate of the nation. In 1944 such a leader wasn’t found. May Allah have mercy relatives and friends who fell in the years of Stalin’s repressions!”