print Print    Share Share  
Weekly Email Weekly News Email   RSS Feed News RSS  

Feminist News


Chechnya's New Prime Minister Mandates Headscarves for Women

On his fourth day in office as Chechnya's prime minister, Ramzan Kadyrov banned women from appearing without headscarves in official institutions. Kadyrov told Chechnyas NTV television station that he reinstated the practice because it is a good and beautiful tradition, according to the Chechnya Weekly. Although Kadyrov has so far only issued an oral command requiring the scarves, in Chechnya an oral command is equally if not more effective than an official decree, Tanya Lokshina, chair of the Demos Center for Information and Human Rights Research in Moscow, told Ms. magazine.

The headscarf command is just one aspect of sharia (Islamic) law, that Kadyrov has implemented since taking office. He has also banned gambling, instituted stricter alcohol laws, and is an advocate of polygamy. Kadyrov enforces orders with his 8,000-strong private army of former rebels, which is responsible for the vast majority of disappearances documented by Human Rights Watch and Russian human rights group Memorial.

Experts say Kadyrovs confirmation as Chechen prime minister marks a return to the cultural repression characteristic of life in the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, Chechnyas name under separatist president Maskhadov. Kadyrovs headscarf command is almost a mirror image of the relevant decree by Movladi Udugov, one of [former Chechen president] Maskhadovs ministers between the two wars and a strong supporter of extreme Islamist ideology, says Lokshina. Kadyrov is poised to assume more power in October when he turns 30 and is eligible to assume the presidency.

LEARN MORE Catch up on what's happening in women's lives around the globe at

JOIN Ms. and receive the premier feminist magazine delivered to your door

Media Resources: Chechnya Weekly (published by The Jamestown Foundation) 3/9/06; Reuters 3/10/06; Human Rights Watch 3/10/06; Ms. Magazine interview 3/15/06