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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Too Many Problems for a Single Solution

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President Vladimir Putin's announcement Thursday of his nominee for the post of Chechen president underscored the nagging feeling that the Kremlin's policy in Chechnya can be explained in two words: Ramzan Kadyrov.

Weighing the pros and cons of the "Kadyrov policy" is difficult.

First off, it's tough to say just how popular the new president, who was confirmed by the Chechen parliament Friday, is with the people.

On one hand, he is credited in some corners for restoring a degree of peace and order to the republic. Supporters also say he has overseen a substantial rebuilding program, part of which has been paid for with money Kadyrov attracted from rich Chechens living outside the republic.

On the other hand, critics retort, that stability has been achieved at a very high price: They accuse Kadyrov of resorting to brutal tactics that have led to numerous human rights abuses. They also argue that reconstruction is largely restricted to the capital of Grozny and is directly dependent on funds from Moscow, a portion of which, they say, is funnelled directly into the pockets of the president and those in his inner circle.

Those who defend Kadyrov stress his loyalty and that of his troops, many of whom, like Kadyrov, are former rebels. Kadyrov's own separatist history, detractors argue, points up the fact that loyalty is often fleeting. If Ramzan's father, Akhmad Kadyrov, who once declared jihad against Russian forces, could switch to the federal side, they ask, what's to stop his son from heading in the other direction?

And loyalty in this case is a personal issue, which may be the weakest plank in the Kadyrov policy.

Putin is scheduled to leave office next year, so the personal relationship between his successor and Kadyrov could become a dangerous wildcard in the game of North Caucasus security.

And given the fate of past Chechen leaders, there is the question of how long Kadyrov can be counted on to provide this security. Most of his predecessors, both pro- and anti-Moscow, have met with violent deaths. The concerns for security following the assassination of his father in 2004, should be enough to underline the danger in placing all the Kremlin's eggs in Kadyrov's basket.

The term "Chechenization" is often tossed around to describe Moscow's policy toward power in Grozny. But "Ramzanization" is more accurate.

Eschewing an institutional and system-based approach to dealing with Chechnya in favor of a one-man focus is a tradition in the Caucasus that has generated poor results. Kadyrov has done little so far to suggest that he is either willing or able to put an end to abuses committed by security forces against the civilian population. The security Kadyrov offers for Moscow is likely to be ephemeral, while many in Chechnya will get no security at all.