St. Petersburg city councilman wants Chechen ruler investigated for extremism
Maxim Reznik, a city councilman in St. Petersburg, has prepared an appeal to Russia's Attorney General, asking prosecutors to investigate remarks by Chechen ruler Ramzan Kadyrov, who recently called the country's liberal protest movement “enemies of the people” and “traitors.” Reznik told the opposition television station Dozhd that he believes Kadyrov's comments qualify as “anti-constitutional” extremist speech.
Reznik says he bases his interpretation of Kadyrov's statements on a Constitutional Court ruling from 1995, which recognized laws using the phrase “enemies of the people” to be unconstitutional. He also points out that Kadyrov's comments were carried on official Chechen media channels.
Reznik plans to send similar appeals to the Interior Ministry, the Federal Security Service, and the Investigative Committee.
“We know that the law against ‘extremism’ is used to persecute the authorities' [political] opponents. Now, in our opinion, one of [the country's] top leaders—the head of a federal subject—is making extremist, anti-constitutional statements,” Reznik explained.
On January 12, the head of the Chechen government, Ramzan Kadyrov, declared that members of Russia's protest opposition should be treated as “enemies of the people” and “traitors.” According to the Chechen ruler, oppositionists “shamelessly try to pretend they are concerned about the future of our country,” while they actually “dance to the tune” of intelligence agencies in the West.