New Chechen President vows to rebuild the republic

Ramzan Kadyrov has been officially sworn in as the new Chechen President. At the inauguration ceremony he pledged to continue rebuilding Chechnya and said he hoped all traces of war are eliminated by the year 2008.

Thousands of people have attended a ceremony in a town near the republic's capital Grozny.

The day of the inauguration has become a national holiday.

Mr Kadyrov vowed to protect the republic and the rights of its citizens.

“I swear to respect and to defend rights and freedoms of the multinational Chechen people while governing the republic. I swear to respect and protect the republic’s Constitution and laws,” he said.

In his speech he made several references to his father, Akhmad Kadyrov, who was Chechnya’s first president until his assassination in 2004.

Many analysts agree the policy of Ramzan Kadyrov is not likely to change. Even before becoming first Acting President and then President, he was a very powerful person in the republic. Mr Kadyrov himself stated he was going to continue his father’s cause to rebuild Chechnya and called on people to support him.

Indeed, there has been a lot of reconstruction underway in Chechnya: a lot of new infrastructure is being built at the moment. This is what even Mr Kadyrov’s harsh opponents and critics admit.

At the same time, President Ramzan Kadyrov agrees it may take longer time for the people, especially qualified professionals, to come back to the region. The republic currently suffers from acute shortage of doctors, educators and other specialists. So experts say that will be another challenge for Mr Kadyrov.

The former Chechen militant, Ramzan Kadyrov gave up the gun for a career in politics. He quickly climbed the career ladder on a “Chechnya revival” manifesto, occupying a number of top posts along the way. His policy of reconciliation proved successful. It allowed thousands of former militants to join the republic's security services. 

Despite being accused by some human rights groups of kidnapping and extortion, Mr Kadyrov enjoys broad support in the republic.