Friday, March 9, 2012

Akhmad Kadyrov

Akhmad Abdulkhamidovich Kadyrov (Russian: Ахмат Абдулхамидович Кадыров) (August 23, 1951 – May 9, 2004), also spelled Akhmat, was the Chief Mufti of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria in the 1990s during and after the First Chechen War. At the outbreak of the Second Chechen War he switched sides, offering his service to the Russian government, and later became the President of the Chechen Republic from October 5, 2003, acting as head of administration since July 2000.

On May 9, 2004, he was assassinated by Chechen Islamists in Grozny, using a bomb blast during a World War II memorial victory parade. His son, Ramzan Kadyrov, who led his father's militia, became one of his successors in March 2007 as the President of the Chechen Republic.

Akhmad (or Akhmat) Abdulkhamidovich Kadyrov was born in Karaganda in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, to a Chechen family that had been expelled from Chechnya during the Stalinist repressions. In April 1957, his family returned to Shalinsky District of the Chechen-Ingush ASSR. In 1980, he started studying Islam at Mir-i Arab Madrasah in Bukhara, and followed by studying at Tashkent Islamic University in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, from 1982–86. In the early 1990s, he returned to Chechnya, and founded the Islam Institute in the village of Kurchaloy.

First Chechen War
Following the Chechen declaration of independence, he became a supporter of separatist president Dzhokhar Dudayev. Kadyrov fought prominently in the First Chechen War on the Chechen side as a militia commander. In 1995 he was appointed Chief Mufti of Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. Following the outbreak of violence between Moscow and Chechen separatists, Kadyrov famously declared that "Russians outnumber Chechens in many times, thus every Chechen would have to kill 150 Russians."

Second Chechen War
While the first war was mainly fought for nationalism, after the de facto independence of Ichkeria, much of the Chechen forces were jihadis, such as the Arab Mujahideen in Chechnya.

Kadyrov, as Chief Mufti, was critical of Wahhabism, to which many of the foreign fighters were adherent to. Kadyrov – a leading figure in the resistance movement – decided to abandon the insurgency in 1999 and offered his support to Russian federal forces in Second Chechen War. Maskhadov immediately fired him from the Chief Mufti chair, although this decree was never accepted by Kadyrov, who abdicated himself a few months later due to his civilian chairman career. According to James Hughes, Kadyrov's U-turn may have been motivated partly by personal ambition and partly by a concern with the desperate condition of the Chechen population, and was also driven by a fear of the growing sectarian Wahhabi influence on the insurgency.

After the Russian forces seized control over Chechnya in July 2000, Kadyrov was appointed acting Head of the Administration by the Russian president Vladimir Putin. On October 5, 2003, he was elected the first President of Chechnya. In this position, he remained mainly pro-Moscow. He also advocated numerous amnesty campaigns for former rebel fighters, who were allowed to join Chechen police and loyalist militia forces if they surrender. His chief personal bodyguard was Movladi Baisarov. Reportedly, there were at least a dozen assassination attempts against him before the final one.

Death and legacy
On May 9, 2004, an explosion ripped through the VIP seating at the Dinamo football stadium during a mid-morning Soviet Victory Day parade in the capital city of Grozny, instantly killing Akhmad Kadyrov. Two of Kadyrov's bodyguards, the Chairman of the Chechen State Council, a Reuters journalist, and as many as a dozen others were also killed (a later report stated that more than 30 people had died). Some 56 others were wounded, including Colonel General Valery Baranov, the commander of Russian forces in Chechnya, who lost his leg in the explosion. The bomb was said to have been built into the concrete of a supporting column during recent repairs.

Akhmad Kadyrov had four children, three sons and a daughter. As of 2009, only one son is still alive, Ramzan Kadyrov, who led his father's militia (the eldest son, Zelimkhan Kadyrov, died later in May 2004). Ramzan was later appointed as Prime Minister of Chechnya and President of Chechnya in March 2007.

As of today, Akhmad is buried in the Grozny Central Dome Mosque.

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