Global Voices Online
Friday, September 15, 2006
On October 5, Chechen prime minister Ramzan Kadyrov turns 30, the age at which it would be legal for him to become the republic's president. Although he denies striving for this highest post, some people believe he would get there soon.
Timur Aliev (LJ user timur_aliev), editor-in-chief of the print/online weekly Chechen Society, ruminates (RUS) on how it must feel to be as powerful as Kadyrov, in a country full of people in need. In the same entry, timur_aliev also shares his observations on the state of journalism in Chechnya.
Golden Pen in Chechnya
I've spent half a day today at the Ramzan Hall in Gudermes, at the award ceremony for the journalists who sent their stories to the Golden Pen contest. The event was organized by the [Akhmad Kadyrov] Fund.
From what I saw, there are two themes to consider.
1. The [Best Journalist title] - the Grand Prix of the contest, so to say - was awarded to the guy who works in the [security forces], goes to various detentions and other operations, and periodically films this on camera.
So here's a question: when a policeman who films his own work is called the best journalist - is this the republic's peculiarity or does it reflect contemporary trends (journalist bloggers, etc.)?
2. When the ceremony was over, I was stopped by a woman outside: she asked me to help her talk to Ramzan Kadyrov. She spoke to me with much respect, addressed me as they usually address the elders, though she looked older than I am.
She was telling me about her disabled husband, her ailing child and no money for the most basic things.
We explained to her that we had nothing to do with Ramzan and that it'd be better if she talked to his press service - their people were not far away then. She left.
And it got me thinking - she is one of the many who besiege Ramzan with their requests. There's a constant line of "askers" waiting for him, and they aren't asking him to sign some not very important papers, they are waiting for decisions that would affect the rest of their lives.
How does this change the conscience and behavior of a person who is expected to change the destinies of hundreds of people?
Does he feel their pain, does he begin to suffer together with them? Or did he get used and treats any poor soul as just another beggar? Or does it make him feel almost all-powerful?
hippy55: If any policeman, not just a Chechen one, records on video what he does, he will sign a death verdict for himself. Or will lose his job, at least.
If Kadyrov begins to feel someone else's pain, he won't be Kadyrov anymore. [...]
timur_aliev: This policeman received a car for his work...
Kadyrov is a human, too...
Anonymous: Incredulous... Kadyrov?! Feeling someone else's pain?! Are you sick?
timur_aliev: Kadyrov is a human, too...
jan_voskresensk: Maybe my question isn't tactful and most likely I've got no right to ask it... but - what is your personal attitude toward Ramzan Kadyrov? I myself live in Ukraine, am interested in Ichkeria's history, and both I and my friends, who share my interests and hobbies, have formed a not very good opinion about this person. So it's interesting to listen to someone who faces those problems and [is affected by] the decisions made by Ramzan.
timur_aliev: It's hard to respond unambiguously - I am, most likely, his opponent, but I can't ignore his achievements...
When I have more time, I'll definitely write about him - especially since the [decisive moment] is approaching - October 5...
jan_voskresensk: And what happens on October 5? I've no clue.
timur_aliev: Ramzan turns 30 years old.