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People & Power
In the court of the Chechen king
We investigate the story of president Ramzan Kadyrov - autocratic gangster or politician?
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2009 10:40 GMT

Filmmakers: Dom Rotheroe and Antony Butts

Islamic and fiercely independent, Chechnya has fought Russian rule for the last 200 years.

Following a short lived rebellion in 1944, Joseph Stalin deported Chechnya's entire population to Kazakhstan and Siberia and it is thought that a third of them may have died in the process.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the Chechen desire for independence only increased.

This led to two notoriously bloody separatist wars with Russia - at the cost of over 100,000 lives – one tenth of the population. The Russians won the second war and turned Grozny into what the UN in 2003 called the most destroyed city on earth.
 
In April 2009, Moscow officially declared the end of those conflicts and suspended its "counter-terrorism" operations, however, in recent months attacks from some regional Islamic insurgents have continued.

Curiously, the man left in charge of the republic after all this turbulence is himself a former rebel.

Ramzan Kadyrov, Kremlin-backed Chechen president, is portrayed in the West as more of an autocratic gangster than a politician, often accused of brutally suppressing human rights.
 
But how is he regarded in Chechnya itself?

This episode of People & Power can be seen from Wednesday, October 21, 2009 at the following times GMT: Wednesday: 0600, 1230; Thursday: 0130, 1400, 1930; Friday: 0630, 1630; Saturday: 0330, 2030; Sunday: 0030, 0530; Monday: 0830.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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