Vafa Guluzade was Azerbaijan’s leading foreign policy advocate in a very difficult period and part of the most promising initiative to resolve the Karabakh conflict. He has never been adequately replaced.
The latest friction between Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov and Moscow’s siloviki was not an attack intended to unseat Kadyrov. It was not even a conflict per se. Instead, it was an attempt to reformat Moscow’s approach to Chechnya. The contract with Kadyrov isn’t being annulled; it’s just being rewritten before its next extension.
The two political groups’ no-holds-barred partisan wars in Georgia may be emotionally satisfying for the principals, but it is also creating the political space for the return of conservative, Moscow-leaning parties and organizations to thrive.
The Chechen connection to the Nemtsov’s murder has split the ruling elite. Putin’s problem is that Kadyrov has completely cleared Chechnya of all rivals, either Chechen or Russian—having fed and groomed his “dragon,” he has no Plan B in Chechnya.
Putin and Kadyrov resemble Siamese twins, whose separation will result in complication for both of them, and thus for the country at large. Neither one of them stood to benefit from Boris Nemtsov’s death.
The perpetrators of violence have staked their claim to power, or at least a more active role in formulating the regime’s identity and methods. If we are to assume that the president is not directly linked to Nemtsov’s murder, it seems that someone else wants to push Putin in a more decisive and punitive direction.
It is impossible to imagine Ramzan Kadyrov calling his subordinates and directly instructing them to commit the murder of Boris Nemtsov. However, the xenophobia and fear of the West characteristic of some segments of Russia’s Muslim community, including Muslims in the North Caucasus, creates a favorable climate for such acts.