Moscow, Novopushkinskiy Mini-Park, July 16, 2009. Rally in memory of assassinated human rights advocate Natalia Estemirova. Photo of "Caucasian Knot"

10 August 2009, 18:00

Kadyrov's words about Estemirova cause indignation in Chechnya

The words of Chechen President that the prominent human rights activist Natalia Estemirova, who was kidnapped and murdered on July 15, "had never had honour, dignity and conscience," pronounced by Ramzan Kadyrov on air of Radio Liberty on August 8, caused resolute criticism among members of local NGOs. Some of them perceive this statement as scoffing at the memory of the victim, others - as a warning to all those who try to oppose the ruling power.

"I've read Ramzan Kadyrov's interview in the Internet and was just shocked. How can person, especially a president, who in his words is permanently striving for revival of cultural traditions of our nation and calls for respect of traditions, morals and customs of our ancestors, say such things? Chechens, like other nations, are accustomed to never speak badly about deceased persons. Especially, if one's death was violent. And here we see open insults," a leader of one of local NGOs, who preferred to stay anonymous, said to the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

His colleagues agree with him: "First of all, by this statement Kadyrov has humiliated himself, not Natasha Estemirova. He has openly shown to the whole world his hatred to her, trying even now, after her death, to discredit her name."

"It's all because, unlike the huge majority of our 'human rights defenders' and 'public activists', Estemirova never compromised with her conscience; she never sang dithyrambs to Ramzan and his retinue; she spoke and wrote about such things, about which many of us scared even saying aloud. And for this she was respected by people and hated by the authorities," said one of the sources.

In the opinion of one of Natalia Estemirova's friends, whom the assassinated activist helped to find out the fate of her son kidnapped several years ago by power agents, the Kadyrov's statement should be taken as his "honest confession."

"In my opinion," the woman said, "this statement is his open recognition of the fact, known to everyone, that Natasha was killed by his people. Already in those days, when such men like Kadyrov and his today's supporters sat at home afraid even of putting their nose out not to become a victim of 'federals', Natasha kept touring over Chechnya, every day risked her life and fixed the crimes committed by militaries against peaceful citizens."

In the general opinion of public activists, in any normal country such statement would become a subject of judicial proceeding. However in Russia, as members of Chechen NGOs are sure, moreover, in Chechnya, it is just senseless to speak about it.

Let us remind you that on August 8 in his interview to Radio Liberty President of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov made a number of resonant statements. In particular, he re-expressed his fidelity to Vladimir Putin and voiced the idea of making the today's Premier the lifelong President of Russia.

Touching on the murder of Natalia Estemirova, an employee of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial", Kadyrov demanded to refrain from charges against him to this end. "If Kadyrov is guilty, if Kadyrov's people are guilty, let them prove it. Why should Kadyrov kill the woman, whom nobody needs?" asked Chechen President. "She had never had any honour, dignity and conscience, but still I'd appointed her to chair the Council (he meant the Public Council at the Mayoralty of Grozny, chaired for a short time by Estemirova - comment of the "Caucasian Knot")."

"Everyone who has accused me (of Estemirova's murder), say, Oleg Orlov (head of the HRC "Memorial"), has breached my rights," Mr Kadyrov has noted.

Author: Alexander Ivanov; Source: CK correspondent

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