Chechnya swears in a new pro-Russian president
Pro-Russian Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, better known as King Ramzan, was sworn in as the president of Chechnya at a ceremony Wednesday in Eastern Chechnya, according to the Independent (http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/article2426224.ece).
Kadyrov had been acting as president of the country, but after having reached the age of 30 was able to officially be sworn in. Russian President Vladimir Putin hand picked Kadyrov as his man to fully integrate Chechnya back into the Russian Federation, after two wars and over a decade of violence.
Controversy has surrounded the inauguration because Kadyrov's forces have been accused of several human rights abuses and he is a former rebel himself.
Wednesday's ceremony has been described as ornate and regal. Kadyrov has developed somewhat of a cult of personality.
Activists have claimed that Kadyrov's militia, the Kadyrovtsy, has killed and tortured their way to create stability in Chechnya at the request of the Kremlin. Colleagues of the recently murdered journalist Anna Politkovskaya allege Kadyrov was involved in her death, although Kadyrov has denied these allegations.
According to the Guardian, Kadyrov's father, Akhmad Kadyrov, a Chechen and pro-Russian president, was assassinated in the capital, Grozny, in 2004 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/chechnya/Story/0,,2051359,00.html). Kadyrov had assumed the role of president-designate last year after Putin fired the previous president, Alu Alkhanov. Both large Russian funds and Kadyrov's militia have been credited for eliminating insurgent groups from the streets of Grozny.
Each article took very different approaches. The Independent article focused on the ceremony, giving vivid descriptions of the material aspects involved. I think it did this to frame and provide context to the cult of personality surrounding Kadyrov. It saves the controversy for later in the story. His militia wasn't mentioned until the very end. I wish the article would've developed the connection to the Kremlin more. Putin is mentioned in the lead but doesn't really appear in the story very much. I also wanted a little more historical background about Kadyrov as a rebel leader and his work as prime minister. The Guardian article focused much heavily on the controversy, almost to the point I thought it was a little biased. The lead even mentioned the human rights abuses. One thing i didn't like about this story was the allegations against Kadyrov were always very vague; specific cases would've been much more helpful. I did like this story more because it discussed Kadyrov's work as prime minister, mentioned his father, and went a little further into the connections with the Kremlin, although still not enough. Some more historical context of the situation in the Chechnya over the last decade would've been helpful to many readers as well.