Will Kremlin Really Investigate Natalya Estemirova's Murder?

On the same day, the president of the neighboring republic of Ingushetia, Yunus Bek Yevkurov, was seriously injured in a bomb attack. He is still being treated in a Moscow hospital. Medvedev had appointed Yevkurov in October 2008, in the hope that he would adopt a new course in the Caucasus. The new Ingushetian president, a former paratrooper, embarked on a dialogue with the opposition, and even human rights activists became cautiously optimistic, going so far as to speak of a "thaw."

Yevkurov was expected to become a counterforce to tyranny in neighboring Chechnya, where Kadyrov's "traditional methods" have not been particularly successful. Kadyrov has been unable to stop a steady flow of young men joining resistance groups in the mountains, and his approach to governing has only increased the numbers of his enemies.

The Russians are keeping a close eye on Kadyrov. The Chechen president's bodyguards are elite fighters from Russia's FSB intelligence service. They protect him -- but they also report anything out of the ordinary to their superiors in Moscow.

The bodyguards recently noted that Kadyrov was becoming increasingly audacious, especially in his quest for new sources of income. "Kadyrov is a toad raised by Putin," says an FSB general. "Putin could easily choke on him."

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan

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