Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Price of loyalty

If you feel outraged about the federal government selling Canadian flags to curb separatism in Quebec, I am on your side. But it pales in comparison to the audacity displayed by the Russian authorities in Chechnya.
I am referring to the pompous ceremony that took place in Gudermes, Chechnia – the foundation of a water park. All Chechen brass, including Ramazan Kadyrov, were present, plus Russia’s own Paris Hilton, Ksenia Sobchak. According to Chechen authorities the park will be built according to Chechen (i.e. Muslim) traditions – with separate pools for men and women.
Stupid things happen in Russia all the time but very few events can match this one on the scale of absurdity. Water park is surely the last thing, the second Stalingrad – ravaged Chechnya, needs. So, why such conspicuous disregard for common sense?
Yulia Latynina, a prominent Russian journalist, might have been on to something when she mocked the reference to “Chechen traditions”. "I know of one Chechen tradition – to carry out virtual construction projects until enough money is stolen. Then, the non-existent buildings are reported to have been destroyed by Chechen guerrillas." - she said.
I don’t think Putin doesn’t know this. But I can speculate with a great degree of certainty that’s what Kadyrov’s loyalty cost him and the Russian state. Or perhaps, it’s called an award. In any case, there is something rotten in the Russian kingdom…


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