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Chechen Leader Fires Culture Minister Over 'Moral' Shortcomings

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has fired the republic's culture minister over the "moral" failings of his subordinates.

"We must instill love and respect for our cultural values in the younger generation. These are high-priority tasks, the fulfillment of which depends in large part on the activity of the Culture Ministry," Kadyrov said in a statement on the Chechen government website. "But unfortunately, it did not live up to the hopes laid on it."

Not only did the workers' morals "leave something to be desired," but the ministry as a whole was the least effective in the government, Kadyrov said.

He did not elaborate on the nature of the officials' moral shortcomings.

The fired culture minister, Dikalu Muzakayev, rose to renown as a dancer and director in the traditional dance troupes Ingushetia and Vainakh. He had headed the Chechen Culture Ministry since 2007.

He did not immediately comment on his dismissal. But in an interview in May 2012, Muzakayev noted the toll that the violent conflicts in Chechnya have taken on the republic's cultural legacy.

"We have lost 100 percent of the material content of our culture. We have lost 80 percent of our professionals. … There isn't one professional classical musician left in the republic," Muzakayev told Vestnik Kavkaza news website.

"Naturally it is impossible to solve everything. It is impossible to wave a magic wand and overnight turn a downtrodden, fragmented, bewildered society into an ideal moral society with understanding and a perspective on tomorrow," Muzakayev said, adding "the most important thing is that here the process is under way."

Muzakayev will be replaced by Khozh-Baudi Daayev, Chechnya's top official in charge of youth affairs.

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