Will Murderer of French Teacher Become National Hero of Chechnya?

Anzorov Beheaded Unfamiliar Man. Crowds Came to His Funeral

Funeral of Anzorov in Shalazhi village. Screenshot from video
Funeral of Anzorov in Shalazhi village. Screenshot from video

On Saturday, pro-government Chechen publics on Instagram reported that the corpse of 18-year-old ethnic Chechen Abdulla Anzorov was delivered from France to Chechnya. On October 17, Anzorov stabbed to death Samuel Pati, a school history teacher, in the Parisian suburb of Conflans-Saint-Honorine. Having murdered Pati, Anzorov published a photo of the teacher's head on his Twitter account in the best tradition of the ISIS, banned in Russia. In such a wild way, the young Muslim cracked down on a man who was a complete stranger to him, because Anzorov read somewhere on the Internet that his victim had allegedly shown disrespect to Prophet Muhammad. When apprehended, Anzorov refused to obey the demands of the French police and was shot dead.

Apparently, the "vigilante" did not know anything about either the prophet or his own religion, and hardly read anything other than Internet publics. At least,

Anzorov certainly did not read the Qur'an, the holy book for Muslims. He acted like a brainwashed zombie.

He was not the only one; thousands of young people from all over the world acted in the same way, following the idea of ​​recreating the Islamic caliphate in Syria and Iraq by destroying everything that did not fit into their view of the world. Most of them died ingloriously but not tracklessly: the ISIS gave birth to a new aesthetic of violence, which is mistakenly associated with the Islamic religion by those don't know any better. But Islam is as relevant to severed heads and black flags as is Christianity to the Third Reich and concentration camps.

The Anzorov family waited for the release of the body for a month and a half. Unlike the Russian authorities with their explicit position towards the corpses of terrorists (which is supported by the Chechen authorities), the French authorities are more lenient in this regard.

The body of Abudulla Anzorov. Screenshot from @ chp.grozny.95 account on Instagram
The body of Abudulla Anzorov. Screenshot from @ chp.grozny.95 account on Instagram

Yesterday, Abudulla Anzorov was finally buried. Videos of the funeral procession participated mainly by youth have already appeared on the Internet. A lot of people attended the funeral, but there could have been even bigger crowds if the authorities had not cordoned off the village and prohibited the entry into it for three days (this is how long a memorial lasts according to the tradition) even for residents of Shalazhi.

On the one hand, the large number of people who came to see Anzorov to his final journey is not surprising, since he belonged to Chinhoi, one of the most numerous Chechen teips with the most of its representatives living in Shalazhi with a population of 10,000 people. Relatives of a decedent are traditionally obliged to participate in the funeral. But who knows how many Chechens would have come to this funeral if the Chechen authorities had not cordoned off the village?

The decision to bury terrorist Anzorov in his ancestral homeland, apparently, was supported by the Chechen authorities. In any case, it certainly could not have been arranged without their consent. A few days ago, the Baza Telegram channel and then the federal mass media spread information that one of the streets in Shalazhi was renamed in honour of the 18-year-old murderer. Photographs were published showing the street signs "Abdulla Anzorov Street" welded to gas poles. The news was fake: the images were created with the use of Photoshop, as was reported by official Chechen media thereafter. However, only photographs turned out to be fake. For all that time, preparations for the funeral of Abdulla Anzorov have been really being conducted in the republic, and there have been active discussions about renaming one of the streets in his honour. To a large extent, the mess was initiated by the head of the Chechen Republic, who made a number of provocative statements and even dared to publicly stand against Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary of the Russian president.

In fact, Ramzan Kadyrov blamed the crime on the victim, teacher Samuel Pati,

and … the President of France, who in Kadyrov's eyes personifies all the "evil" of the Western world following the worship that respects the freedom and not God. Strange as it may seem, this time Kadyrov was supported even by his Chechen haters who consider him to be a Russian henchman responsible for repressions against inhabitants of the republic.

But how can one denounce and at the same time endorse out-of-court massacre of people? It turns out to be possible — if in the first case they are Chechens and in the second case they are French journalists and a teacher.

In this situation, almost no voices of those Chechnya residents were heard, who believe that anyone may not be killed at all, at least because the right to live either works for everyone, or does not work in principle. There are such people in Chechnya, but it is a republic where it is dangerous to show disagreement and, even more, criticise the position of the authorities.

Abdulla Anzorov. Photo: instagram.com
Abdulla Anzorov. Photo: instagram.com

Actually, the Chechen leadership put itself in an extremely uncomfortable position with this funeral. On the one hand, the authorities treated Abdulla Anzorov as kind of a “national hero”, and on the other hand, they could not allow his funeral to turn into a spontaneous flash mob at a republic level, like it was two years ago in Chechnya, when another “national hero”, Yusup Temirkhanov, who murdered Colonel Budanov, was buried in the village of Geldagan in August 2018.

This is a pretty interesting historical analogy, which helps explain why in modern Chechnya murder is treated with understanding and murderers with admiration. But is this the case only for Chechnya?

In 2011, Temirkhanov was commissioned to murder Yuriy Budanov, a former Russian army colonel, who was convicted and did a term in prison for the kidnapping and murder of 18-year-old Chechen girl Elza Kungaeva. By the way, Budanov was buried with military honours, although he was deprived of both his military rank and awards by the court sentence.

Yuri Budanov not only kidnapped and murdered, but also barbarously abused the Chechen girl. And of course, it was not only Budanov who committed war crimes during the two Chechen military campaigns. But he was almost the only one whom the Russian authorities really convicted. This is why Budanov is the epitome of the Russian imperial "evil” in the sight of the Chechen people. Accordingly, his killer is treated as a “national hero”. The religious factor did not play any role in that situation. This murder was of an absolutely "secular” nature. Unlike Abdulla Anzorov, who, as he thought, sought revenge for the hurt feelings of all true believers, Temirkhanov, in the eyes of the Caucasians, avenged the insulted honour of a Chechen woman.

Funeral of Yuri Budanov. Photo: Alexey Nilolaev / RIA
Funeral of Yuri Budanov. Photo: Alexey Nilolaev / RIA

Perhaps, if Budanov and other Russian servicemen had been punished for all the crimes they committed, then Chechens today would not idealize murderers and would not need avengers.

And it would be easier for the post-war generation of Chechens to comprehend the universality of the principle of respecting human rights and treating human life as an unconditional value. And the "ISIS” ranks would not be replenished with young Chechen blood. And history teacher Samuel Pati would have been alive, as well as Abdulla Anzorov.

This is what should be the main civilization’s priority to correct the mistakes of the past, in the sense of the word “civilization” that is meant when dividing humanity into people and barbarians. But barbarians have neither their own religion, nor a specific nationality, because there is no nationality or religion that would proclaim death above life.

Elena Milashina

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