Ramzan Kadyrov is currently serving as a head of the Chechen Republic and is notorious for being the most prominent and controversial figure in the North Caucasus region of Russia and for having a very close relationship with Vladimir Putin. Over the years Chechen leader was able to rebuild Chechnya and consolidated a significant amount of influence and power thus signaling the changing status and rising importance of Chechnya. These factors have led to a renewed debate over whether the Kremlin’s political control over the region, and over the Chechen republic in particular, won back after two gruesome wars in the post-Soviet years, may be loosening.
Andrey Sazonov is a senior majoring in International Relations at the University of Iowa and is originally from the North Caucasus region of Russian Federation. In 2014 Andrey represented the University of Iowa at the prestigious conference in the U.S. Military Academy in West Point and was a part of a workshop which developed a strategy to counter Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. In 2015 he participated in European Student Conference at Yale University where he authored a paper on issues of European Identity – which was later send to the European Parliament – and took part in creation of European Student think-tank “European Horizons.” During the same month Andrey represented newly created think-tank at Harvard’s annual European Conference. Currently he is working on establishment of a “European Horizons” chapter at the University of Iowa and is largely involved in the local and the university community.