03:31 GMT +323 October 2018
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    CHECHNYA WANTS PEACE

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    MOSCOW, Aslambek Aslakhanov, aide to the Russian president, for RIA Novosti

    What is happening in Chechnya after the death of Akhmad Kadyrov? I have just returned from the republic and can tell you that the situation there is relatively calm or, rather, consistently tense, just as before the May 9 terrorist attack. The explosion in the Grozny stadium shocked many. But there is no panic, partly because the people have grown accustomed to acts of terrorist and war and are too tired of it to react passionately any more.

    But there is one more explanation. In the past few months, the situation in Chechnya has been gradually improving: the number of roadblocks has been cut, curfew lifted, and the people have had fewer complaints about the federal troops. Even the number of crimes in Chechnya is about the same as the average for Russia, though more terrorist attacks have been committed there.

    Consequently, the general mood of the overwhelming majority of the people is that the positive changes and return to peaceful life must not be stopped. We do not want another war and further bloodshed.

    The world and Russian press write that the situation in Chechnya will revert to the bloody scenario after Kadyrov's death. I caution you against making such suppositions.

    The terrorists may try to exploit this situation. There may be more terrorist attacks carried out to create an atmosphere of general fear in the republic. But I firmly believe that this will not bring the desired effect. Chechens are tired of being afraid; it has become very difficult to scare them.

    Those who expect an internecine war to begin in Chechnya are wrong, too. As a Chechen, I am surprised to hear such forecasts. Our people have always rallied in times of trouble; this is the Chechen mentality and it has not changed with the years.

    As I see it, the politicians who want to restore peace in Chechnya should help the acting president, Sergei Abramov [he was head of the government under Kadyrov and hence took over after his death in compliance with the Chechen constitution], and Kadyrov's son Ramzan, who has been recently appointed vice-premier and enjoys great prestige in the Chechen security structures, to stabilise the situation.

    In point of fact, Ramzan Kadyrov governs Chechnya now. He was the closest ally of his father and head of his security service. Logically, he holds the levers of power in Chechnya. He is not 30 and hence cannot be nominated for the presidency, which is seriously complicating the situation around the forthcoming presidential elections in Chechnya. On the one hand, they should not be postponed. On the other hand, it is difficult to quickly find a respected man who would be able to rally Chechens.

    But this should not be regarded as an insurmountable obstacle. The main thing is that Chechnya wants peace today and this desire will prompt the right political decisions.

    Experts say Aslambek Aslakhanov is one of the most probable candidates for the post of Chechen president. He is extremely popular in this North Caucasus republic and has been several times elected State Duma deputy from Chechnya, winning over 80% of the vote. However, Aslakhanov says he will not run for the presidency.

    He was born on March 11, 1942 in the village of Noviye Atagi in the Chechen-Ingush autonomous republic, graduated from the Academy of the USSR Interior Ministry, is doctor of law, a professor, major-general of the police (retired), an international master of sambo (Russian martial arts) and judo, and the author of the book "On the Mafia in Russia Without Sensations" and several other publications.

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