RealNews

New Chechen Leader Stirs Fear, Distrust

There was a time when Khamid Khadayev hated the Russians enough to give up everything he had for a chance to kill them. And he had a lot: a large house and outbuildings, a stable full of prize breeding horses, a woodworking shop with expensive electric tools. The 51-year-old carpenter was born on the frozen steppes of faraway Kazakhstan, after Josef Stalin ordered the entire population of Chechnya into exile. Half of them died of cold, disease and hunger. But Khadayev found his way home. And when Chechnya tried to break away from Russia in 1994, he answered the call to war. “I sold my elite horses,” he said. “I bought a rifle, a submachine gun, a pistol and a grenade launcher.” These days, however, Khadayev isn’t out fighting with the Chechen rebels. He’s back home in this small farming village, though the only horse he has left is a work nag and there is no electricity to run his tools. He still hates the Russians — but he has come to distrust the Chechen leaders even more. Full Story

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