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Ahmed Zakayev still may go back to Chechnya: EADaily source

Ahmed Zakayev. Photo: novayagazeta.ru

Head of Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov has posted in his Instagram a video of his meeting with the Chechnya-based relatives of the leader of the Chechen separatists Ahmed Zakayev, who in 1996-1999 was foreign minister in Aslan Maskhadov’s government and now is the leader of the “Ichkeria’s Government in Exile.” Kadyrov told Zakayev’s relatives that he has no need to stay in London.

Earlier, EADaily quoted Zakayev as saying that he was not going to go back to Chechnya despite Kadyrov’s security guarantees. In an interview to Ekho Moskvy he confirmed this.

“I have no such plans. I have a certain attitude, certain views, and they are contrary to the views of the mister you have mentioned (Kadyrov). This is also true about how each of us sees Chechyna’s relations with Russia,” Zakayev said.

Zakayev said that he had had no contacts with his family for years. But he is aware of the “measures” some of his relatives were involved in. “My stance is unchanged: Chechnya’s relations with Russia must be based on the agreements signed by Yeltsin and Maskhadov,” Zakayev told British journalists.

He meant the agreements first discussed by Aslan Maskhadov and Secretary of Russia’s Security Council Alexander Lebed in Khasavyurt on Aug 31, 1996, and later confirmed by Maskhadov and Yeltsin in Moscow on May 12, 1997. In the text signed by Yeltsin and Maskhadov, Russia de facto recognizes Chechnya’s independence and terms Maskhadov as “President of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria.” The agreement was cancelled during the second war in Chechnya. In fact, the agreement was never in force as despite their obligations, the Chechen separatists continued the war.

Why has Kadyrov decided to bring back home a person he has repeatedly called traitor? EADaily’s sources in Russia’s security forces say that this will confirm Kadyrov’s January success, when the widow of Aslan Maskhadov, the grey figure of Ichkeria, Kusama, returned home on her own will.

“The presence of Kusama Maskhadova and Ahmed Zakayev in Chechnya would give Kadyrov prevalence over Chechens staying abroad. Now that the Middle East and Ukraine are facing wars, anti-Russian forces are trying to use the Chechen factor and to revive the ghost of the so-called Ichkeria. For people living in the Caucasus ‘Ichkeria’ is a nightmare but for anti-Russian forces in the West it may be an effective weapon,” the source says.

Kadyrov’s inability to convince Zakayev is regarded by experts as a failure. For them in the West Zakayev is a representative of the so-called secular Ichkeria, but the “secular democratic Ichkeria” concept so much loved by foreign and Russian liberals is a fiction. Everybody knows that this is a façade for a radical Islamic project. In 2007, Dudayev’s man, Doku Umarov, annulled “Ichkeria” and proclaimed Jihadist “Imarat Kavkaz.” So, de facto “Ichkeria” is nothing and Zakayev represents just his own self. For anti-Russian forces in the West he is the leader of the Chechen resistance but in reality he is nobody. So, his refusal might be just an outburst of emotion, the source at the Russian security forces says.

Here, according to the source, one should keep in mind the mentality of the Chechens, so, Zakayev’s “no” might be just a bravado.

In early 2014, Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov was sure that Chechens living in the West would not go to fight in Ukraine. But when they did, he accused Ahmed Zakayev of urging them to do that. Free Caucasus NGO is acting in Ukraine on behalf of Zakayev and even has a parliamentary group in the Supreme Rada.

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