“Keep dangerous ‘pets’ in a cage or get ready to answer for the consequences”

January 19, 2016

Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov petting a lion in his private zoo. Photo by Sergei L. Loiko courtesy Los Angeles Times
Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov petting a lion in his private zoo. Photo by Sergei L. Loiko courtesy Los Angeles Times

Mikhail Khodorkovsky

For a whole week now I’ve been looking on, revolted, at the PR activities of Putin’s Chechen vassal and his “heroes of Russia.”

A week is a little too long for this to be just another bout of personal folly on the part of Putin’s “domestic pet.” A little too long for us not to interpret this as a message from his master. A message addressed to those of us who do not agree with what’s happening in the country.

There are already many of us, and we’re becoming more and more numerous due to the apparent collapse of the system of governance in Russia, and the accompanying economic crisis. So numerous, it would seem, that, on the eve of elections this September, we’ve begun to instil real fear.

The frightened regime has decided to frighten the authorities. This is predictable – and dangerous for both parties.

I remain convinced that this regime isn’t going to go away by itself, and that the inevitable changeover will take place beyond the framework of the laws it has devised to keep itself in power. In other words, by means of revolution. A revolution that’s already knocking at the door.

I will continue to do everything in my power to prevent the inevitable revolution from being accompanied by a civil war. But such a desire must be reciprocal.

The concealment (by Putin personally, despite investigators’ efforts) of the real perpetrators of the murder of Boris Nemtsov has led to a sense of impunity on the part of the persons apparently involved in the case. Now they are being used to threaten us all.

Already looming large is the frontier beyond which society will feel bereft of the state’s protection. But in such a situation, people with a sense of self-dignity won’t be begging for mercy. They’re going to be defending themselves – with weapons in hand if necessary.

Those who abandoned the Chechen people to the mercy of thugs; those who believe we can allow these thugs to dictate their own laws to Russian society, are playing a very risky game.

Another couple of similar unsolved murders, and the line separating the country from armed conflict will be breached, and hitherto impossible alliances will be forged.

Keep dangerous ‘pets’ in a cage or get ready to answer for the consequences.

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