||Akhmed Zakaev is the Prime Minister in Exile of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (CRI). He was born in 1959 into a family deported by Stalin’s regime, along with the rest of the Chechen population, in 1944. Zakaev graduated from acting and choreography schools in Voronezh and Moscow and became an actor, specializing in Shakespearean roles. In 1994 he became Minister of Culture in the independent Chechen government of Djohar Dudaev, and during the First Russo-Chechen War was commander of the Western Group for the Defence of Ichkeria.|
Translated by Arch Tait
When Vladimir Putin became President of Russia in
2000, his first priority was to re-establish the intelligence
agencies’ grip on the country by portraying himself as a strongman
protecting Russian citizens from security threats. Despite
condemnation by the United Nations, the European Parliament, and
European Union, the policy of brutal ‘ethnic cleansing’ in Chechnya
continued. For Putin, Islamist attacks on the United States of
September 11, 2001, were a welcome opportunity to rebrand the war
against Chechen independence, not as the crushing of a democracy,
but as a contribution to President George W. Bush’s ‘War on Terror’.
Zakaev’s memoirs are an essential document for anyone who wishes to
understand the fate of Chechnya in modern times and the rise of Vladimir
Putin. Zakaev was an adroit political strategist at a time when Russia
was seeking to wipe out Chechen independence once and for all. He is
also an acute analyst of international affairs. He observed earlier than
most that Russia in the post-Boris Yeltsin years was heading in an
authoritarian and dangerously chauvinist direction. Putin — a ‘spawn of
the KGB’, in Zakaev’s damning phrase — had a darker vision for Russia’s
future, in which law and human rights counted for little.
Read more on Akhmed Zakaev's page
Updated : 9 November 2022.