Who came to power in 2004, Chechen President and protégé of Vladimir Putin is accused of repression against the opposition and even participation in torture.
“This is nonsense, we have no such people. We do not have gays! If there is — take in Canada. Praise be to Allah, away from us, that they were not”. These words were spoken by the President of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov in interview to the American TV channel HBO on July 14. In recent years, out of this small Caucasian Republic come the terrible news: according to “Novaya Gazeta” for a few months where he was detained more than a hundred homosexuals. They are persecuted, caught, tortured, and sometimes killed. Against this background, the answers, Ramzan Kadyrov sound just surreal: “They are shaitans, they are corrupt, they are bad people. Damn them for what they have to slander us. Before God they will still answer for it.”
If these words surprise you, you do not know, Ramzan Kadyrov. The man who has ruled Chechnya with an iron fist since 2004, long noted for provocative statements and ultra-conservative views. In addition, he is accused of repression against the opposition and even killing some of them. Franceinfo offers to your attention a portrait of a man with an explosive temperament, which, despite all the scandals, has always enjoyed the support of the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin.
Photos with the stars and animals
To become better acquainted with this character, is to go to his page in Instagram, even if it may confuse you. He uses this social network is almost as persuasive as Donald trump Twitter, and boasts 2.8 million subscribers (twice the entire population of Chechnya). Some photos look quite innocent: he appears with a bird in his hands, feeding the calves or prints horse walking against the setting sun. In 2005, he showed reporters, the air force received a gift of a lion cub. When he stretched out his hand, he grinned. “One day I’ll show him who’s boss. And he’ll either kill me, or become a submissive,” — said Kadyrov. “Selection of the lion is very limited. As, however, and the Republic itself,” — said in the article, the journalist.
Anyway, predators are only one of the aspects of the colorful life of Ramzan Kadyrov. As released by WikiLeaks of diplomatic correspondence, the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, was struck by the appearance of Ramzan Kadyrov on the wedding in Dagestan. He arrived accompanied by armed men and “awkwardly dancing” and without removing the machine. Together with the father of the groom they showered the dancers notes: “In total they raised from the floor more than 5 thousand dollars.” Do not forget the dictator and about wedding gift: 5 pounds of pure gold.
He regularly invites to private parties (apparently not free) world stars like Steven Seagal, Maradona, Mike Tyson and does not hide his love for Russia Gerard Depardieu, who dances with him on the published Le Monde in 2013 video. Latest star guest in mid-July, was a former Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho, who it was difficult to keep a yawn at the performance of traditional dance.
Kadyrov likes a beautiful life, but at the same time is a pious Muslim, like most Chechens. The Republic was plunged into rigid conservatism: limiting the sale of alcohol, the women wearing veils in public institutions… He also has nothing against polygamy, though it and is prohibited by Russian law: it was supported by one representative of his entourage, who had intended to take a second wife (17 years). In 2009, he made the excuse of a string of murders, which were believed to have been caused by honour. “When a woman behaves in an immoral manner, the man kills her, Kadyrov said that he understands the motives of the people who killed her,” said one of his advisors. After the attack in edition of Charlie Hebdo in January 2015 and the publication of the newspaper new cartoons of Mohammed, he spoke in Grozny in front of hundreds of thousands of demonstrators who protested against a French publication.
In 2015, he publicly denounced on television the men who let your wives freely using social media. He calls this a conservative position way to cut the ground from under the feet of the Islamists. In opposition to them, by the way, is the main out assigned to him by the Moscow problems. Only here in the region still abound, and many of them joined the ranks of the Islamic state (is banned in Russia as a terrorist organization — approx.ed.).
In power after his father’s death
Ramzan Kadyrov often appears in camouflage than a suit, and never misses an opportunity to demonstrate the power that a few unites him with Vladimir Putin. In the same Instagram plenty of photos, which he harnesses a crocodile with his bare hands (he then, of course, helped a little), training in the gym or posing in traditional military clothing. Kadyrov believes masculinity is an integral part of Chechen identity, as he told the journalist Anna Politkovskaya in 2004: “we, Chechens, do not say that stupid, but more warlike than other peoples.”
In 2013, this Amateur Boxing entered the ring to “conduct educational conversation” with a negligent Minister in front of the cameras: “In the course of our dialogue (or rather, sparring), I softly and unobtrusively hook to the right and left explained to him on the fingers (or rather fists), you need to head to work”.
History of Ramzan Kadyrov — it is, rather, the path of a fighter, not a diplomat. First, the head of the Republic became in 2003 his father Ahmad. During the first war in 1994-1996 he, then Grand mufti of Chechnya, called for a “Holy war” against Moscow and claimed that every Chechen should kill at least 150 Russian. Whatever it was, he changed his camp on the background of the rise of radical Islam. When he took the helm of Chechnya, his son Ramzan was entrusted with the security.
However, in 2004, Ahmad was killed in the attack: the bomb was planted right into the concrete just renovated stadium, which held a military parade. This failure is not simply buried the career of Ramzan Kadyrov, and took him up to the top. The same day he was summoned to Moscow. Vladimir Putin in front of the cameras consoled the young man with the then still very youthful face. He became the new leader of Chechnya, although at 27 years old was still too young to officially hold the post of its President (he had to wait until 2007).
Allegations of repression
Entrenched in his native village of Tsentaroy, Ramzan Kadyrov, rules, surrounded by his personal squad of “Kadyrovites”. Some were police, others military, and others fought in the ranks of fighters in the 1990-ies. Came to Kadyrov in 2005, BBC journalists have described them as armed to the teeth with people who instantly stand at attention with the appearance of the commander. “Look at them, — said Ramzan. — American, Russian weapons, Islamic faith and the Chechen spirit. They are invincible”.
In 2009, The New York Times published the story of Umar Israilov, who was kidnapped and tortured by Kadyrov’s men back in those days, when Ramzan Kadyrov was the head of the security service of the father: “One day Umar Israilov said his attracted to boys. Ramzan Kadyrov personally gave him electroshock therapy”. After the torture the young man agreed to join the squad to save his life, but then fled abroad. Then, “kadyrovtsy” kidnapped his father Sharpuddi to force Umar to return to Russia. He told the newspaper, which was locked in a room with other prisoners:
“He (Kadyrov) went between the victims, one thrashed, the other electrocuted in parallel playing Billiards. (…). He just came to have fun”.
Eventually he was released and he left the country. Settled in Vienna of Umar was killed right in the street in 2009 before The New York Times printed his story.
In those days defenders were concerned about these disappearances that resonate with the current situation of homosexuals. As told the LA Times in 2008, the representative of “Memorial” Natalia Estemirova, “so many people go missing for a few hours or days and then return home beaten and psychologically broken”, if not come back… a Year later she herself was kidnapped in Grozny, and her battered and bullet-riddled body was later found in the woods. According to her NGO, she was personally threatened by Ramzan Kadyrov.
In a duel with the enemy
Kadyrov, of course, denies all these accusations, however, is at least ambiguous stance, it is argued in the aforementioned article by the LA Times: “When Kadyrov hears the term “human rights organization”, then smiles, pulls out a knife and clamps it in his teeth. And then says that all these stories are false.”
Much more likely he’s talking about fighting with the separatists, whom he calls “bandits” When their commander was killed in 2006, Kadyrov posed for the cameras with his naked corpse at her feet. In 2004, he told the journalist Anna Politkovskaya that he wants to go to a duel with another leader of the militant Shamil Basayev:
“Shamil Basayev knows how to fight, and that he did not take. But for all that he did, to kill him a little. Sooner or later he will die — either from bullets, or from tuberculosis of the bone, which wears away… But I pray to Allah that he brought me to the Shaytan in direct combat. I’ll kill Basayev, and it will be a great honor for me”.
When, finally, eliminated in 2006, Kadyrov expressed regret that no more could make this myself. The fear that inspire the head of Chechnya and its people, does not give an accurate assessment of its popularity among the population. Thanks to the financial largesse of Moscow Ivan no longer resembles a battlefield, which was before the coming to power of Kadyrov senior. When the Libération journalist went there in 2007, expressed completely different opinions. “Ramzan Kadyrov, perhaps, and not very smart, but at least he is doing something for the Chechen people, — said one local resident. — Thanks to him, life regained its color!” Whatever it was, one senior official pointed to corruption in the environment of the young leader: “Of all of the funds that Kadyrov receives from investors, the Chechen Diaspora and Federal authorities, each reaching for the reconstruction of Chechnya, the ruble has four that he puts in his pocket”.
A Friend Of Putin
Ten years later, Ramzan Kadyrov, firmly clinging to power (although they promised to leave in 2016). In spite of the periodically emerging discontent of Moscow. When he started the fighting by rules of the mixed single combats (they allowed any strikes) with the participation of children (including his three sons), the Russian government started the investigation. When in 2014 it is proposed to demolish the homes of terrorists, Vladimir Putin put him in his place as presumptuous disciple: “as for Kadyrov’s statement could be just emotional, and this could someone use. Emotions in such cases, I understand”.
It is difficult to say whether the growing international pressure regarding the fate of homosexuals in Chechnya again to ruffle the Kremlin. In any case, Kadyrov and Putin regularly demonstrate intimacy.
“Old, old story, which in the history were many: the Kremlin has grown dragon, and now want to feed him constantly so he doesn’t spew fire,” — wrote in 2004, Anna Politkovskaya. On 7 October 2006 she was murdered in the stairwell of his house. In 2014, she was sentenced to two Chechens as the organizer and executor of murder. However, his customers still unknown….