Confrontation between Chechnya leadership, non-systemic opposition causes concern, exchange of insults cannot solve political problems – Pamfilova

Ramzan Kadyrov file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 20 (Interfax) – Russian Human Rights Ombudsperson Ella Pamfilova has expressed concern about the ongoing confrontation between leadership of the Chechen republic and members of the non-systemic opposition.

“What really worries me is the escalating confrontation between the leadership of Chechnya and members of the non-systemtic opposition,” the press service of the ombudsperson’s office quoted Pamfilova as saying to Interfax on Wednesday.

“The exchange of insults cannot resolve political problems; it can only exacerbate them. For me, it is totally inadmissible to get personal and to insult an individual, no matter who he or she may be. Criticism may be harsh but it must not humiliate human dignity,” Pamfilova said.

“Unfortunately, the level of political culture and debates leaves much to be desired for now. And it is totally inadmissible to go down to the 1937 rhetoric or to shift into the area of zoo-pathetics,” Pamfilova said.

Chechen republic head Ramzan Kadyrov said that the non-systemic opposition had been trying to destabilize the situation in Russia. He branded non-systemic opposition members as enemies of the people and said they should be prosecuted for subversive activity.

The Chechnya head’s comment on the non-systemic opposition “is not only senseless, but also harmful, because they do ‘a disservice’ to the country’s president and cast a shadow on the country itself,” Pamfilova said.

Non-systemic opposition members and human rights activists said that the statement from Kadyrov contained threats, and they were expecting a reaction from the prosecution service and the national administration.

The office of the human rights ombudsperson said on Wednesday, that the polemics between the Chechnya administration and the opposition should calm down.

“This should be done by Ramzan Akhmatovich Kadyrov in the first turn, because he holds a high-ranking official position, and the level of his responsibility and administrative levers is incomparable with the capacities of a rank-and-file opposition member. This is why, I have deemed it necessary to declare my position after his statement,” Pamfilova said.

“The same as any other head of a constituent territory of the federation and a high-ranking federal officer, Kadyrov should bear special responsibility for his declarations because they are seen as a guideline not only by his subordinates, but also by average people. Any careless word may have serious consequences. Yet, Kadyrov’s opponents give him generous ‘praise’, too,” Pamfilova said.

“The entire non-systemic opposition should not be painted with the same brush,” she said. “Certainly, non-systemic politicians largely differ from one another, in particular, by their moral and ethical qualities. There are totally disinterested persons amongst them who are focused on their ideas, and far from all are dreaming of ‘subversive cookies from the Department of State’,” Pamfilova said.

“The practice of administrative pressure is unlawful in case opposition actions and protests are peaceful and keep within the legal field. Even if the non-systemic opposition is profoundly disliked and actively rejected by an overwhelming majority of our citizens, this is not the reason for its obstruction, and a witch-hunt. If anyone is engaged in subversive activity, law enforcement agencies and the judiciary should react properly to that,” she said.