Claims that Chechnya lacks democracy are unsubstantiated, said Vladimir Ustinov, plenipotentiary representative of the Russian president in the Southern Federal District. “Chechnya’s social-political development is evidence that the republic has set on a path of peace and creation,” Ustinov said.
Chechnya’s pro-Moscow dictator, Ramzan Kadyrov, “may not be the most democratic president of Russia’s republics, but there is no doubt that he is on a democratic path,” Ustinov said. Ramzan Kadyrov is, “by his very nature, a man of high spiritual and ethical values,” he asserted.
Ustinov’s statement lends support to Kadyrov’s policy of violence and brutal suppression of any opposition and criticism, said Tatyana Lokshina, head of the Moscow bureau of Human Rights Watch. She said the statement may be a sign Kremlin’s support for Kadyrov or Ustinov’s own initiative.
Earlier, Kadyrov told Radio Svoboda that Natalia Estemirova, a human rights activist who was killed in July 2009, “never had any honour, dignity or conscience.” Estemirova, head of human rights organisation Memorial’s office in Grozny, had been highly critical of Kadyrov.
Before Estemirova’s murder, Kadyrov’s cousin and henchman, Adam Delimkhanov, threatened human rights defenders on Chechen television, accusing them of rendering support to the armed militants. “For us, these people have no value, and we have absolutely no regard for them,” Delimkhanov said.