Ramzan Kadyrov

The leader of Chechnya and a staunch ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ramzan Kadyrov is hospitalized in critical condition, Ukrainian intelligence said 15 September 2023. “The information is confirmed by various sources in the medical and political circles,” Andriy Yusov, a representative of Ukraine’s military intelligence branch, told Obozrevatel, (a Ukrainian internet publication) which first reported the news. “There is information that the war criminal Kadyrov is in a serious condition and the diseases that were there have worsened and caused such a serious condition,” he said.

Ramzan Akhmatovich Kadyrov became president of the Chechen Republic in 2011. The former vice-prime minister of Chechnya, Akhmad Zakayev, told the German newspaper Bild in 2022 that Kadyrov had a serious kidney disease. By 2023 the warlord hds been rumored to be in poor health for some months with kidney problems, supposedly as a result of drug addiction. The opposition leader claimed that some kind of energy pills previously supported the overactivity of the head of Chechnya.

The Chechnya Republic is one of 85 constituent components of the Russian Federation. Russian combat losses in the first two Chechen wars equalled Soviet combat losses in Afghanistan. Stability in Chenya is probably essential to political stability in Russia. By 2007 Rosneft spent Rs 800-900 million per year in Chechnya to produce oil it sold for Rs 30 billion.

In exchange for absolute personal loyalty to the Russian president, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov – who came from a family of former separatists – received a carte blanche to govern the region at his own discretion and with the help of security agencies that are controlled by him and that only formally are subordinate to the center. The percentage of respondents who consider themselves first of all as citizens of Russia rarely exceeds 50 percent anywhere. The others are dominated by those who identify themselves with their region or even with their town or village. Experts from the Zircon Research Group, who studied regional identity in Russia, came to the conclusion that this identity is most clearly expressed not only in constituent republics dominated by a titular ethnic group, but also in traditionally ethnic Russian regions located far from the center – for example, the Kaliningrad Region in the northwest or Primorye in the Far East.

Ramzan Kadyrov is the son of Akhmat Kadyrov, the first president of the Chechen Republic within the Russian Federation, and had led the Republic since his father's assassination in 2004. During the First Chechen War, he took part in fighting against federal forces with his father. During the second Chechen war, the two of them sided with the federal government. Since 2009, he had the title of major general of militia.

Ramzan Kadyrov, who celebrated his 38th birthday on 05 October 2015, may not yet be the second-most-powerful political figure in the Russian Federation. But that is not for want of self-promotion. He is already certainly the most colorful/flamboyant, arguably the most quoted (after his surrogate father and political patron, Russian President Vladimir Putin), and probably the most feared, not only across the North Caucasus but by those elsewhere in Russia who are already asking themselves what will happen if Putin leaves office, and who might succeed him.

In an article published in December 2014 in the weekly Versiya, Ruslan Gorevoy quoted analyst Andrei Okara as saying Kadyrov and Putin are "the only two real politicians in Russia today," the remainder being "either bureaucrats, or propagandists, or clowns."

Kadyrov sees himself both as defender and definer of the faith, in his case a bizarre synthesis of traditional Sunni Islam and selected elements of Chechen Sufism that one insurgent scornfully dismissed as "a hodge-podge of Sufi fairy-tales and local adats [traditional precepts]."

Kadyrov had established himself as the unofficial political leader of Russia's estimated 20 million Muslims by presiding over the building of mosques (including the largest mosque in Europe, named after his father), five schools for hafizes, and a clinic for the practice of Islamic medicine. (Never mind that he is seemingly unable to quote a single sura from the Koran).

Ramzan Kadyrov, president of Chechnya, is unusually repressive even by the standards of the Russian Federation. He was independently named by Reporters Without Borders, along with Vladimir Putin, as one of the world’s worst “predators of the press.” The murders of two prominent critics of the Chechen regime, Anna Politkovskaya in 2006 and Natalya Estemirova, remain unsolved, and Estemirova’s murder provoked the closure of the Chechen office of the human rights group Memorial. Kadyrov has fostered a personality cult, posting his photo everywhere and starting petting newspapers using subsidies from the Russian government.

Putin ascribes the success of his Chechnya policies to his unlimited backing of Kadyrov. Putin allows, supports and finances Kadyrov's power and scope of activity in Chechnya, and agrees to abide by the guarantees of immunity and impunity Kadyrov has given his 10,000-15,000 fighters, mostly former rebels like Kadyrov himself. In return, Kadyrov is personally loyal to Putin and ensures that his fighters turn their guns on separatists, Islamists and other enemies of the Russian state.

Kadyrov established a regime of personal power in the republic. Chechnya is a unique region; there is none other like it in Russia. It is a region where Russian laws are essentially not in force, where an autonomous political regime has been created. Kadyrov in large part copies the style of Putin with the addition of a certain religious and national features.

The Kremlin placates Kadyrov. Kadyrov recognizes the power and authority of just one person in Russia — Putin — and will do so as long as it is to his advantage. Therefore, inside the Kremlin they are wary of Kadyrov. In the FSB (Federal Security Service) they are afraid of Kadyrov, in the Investigative Committee they are afraid of crossing Kadyrov. Behind Kadyrov is an army of many thousand fighters, armed to the teeth, who only yesterday fought against Russian soldiers, and know well the taste of blood. Today, they are legalized in the Russian power structures, but are subordinated and personally loyal to Kadyrov. Thus, fearing Kadyrov, the federal authorities cajole and try not to provoke him, endlessly award him, and cede spheres of influence to him.

Ethnic Russians, tired of the cronyism and rigidity of their public institutions, watch with jealousy how much money the North Caucasian “aliens” keep getting from the federal budget.

Kadyrov has become a fairly major political figure which nobody can manage or control. The absence of any control or countermeasures gives Kadyrov a feeling of absolute license and impunity. He has large financial resources; standing behind him are thousands of well-trained and well-armed fighters who are loyal to him personally, not to Russia's laws or constitution.

Ramzan Kadyrov was born October 5, 1976 in the Chechen village Tsentaroy, a son of Akhmad Kadyrov. Prior to 2000, Kadyrov was known primarily his sporting career: participated in many competitions in boxing, is a master of sports. Since 1996, Ramzan Kadyrov was the assistant and bodyguard of his father - Mufti Akhmad Kadyrov. By 2000 he headed the security service of his father - Kadyrov Akhmad Kadyrov, who became at that time the head of the Russian military authorities in Chechnya.

In 2000-2002, Ramzan Kadyrov served as the inspector of communications and special equipment Staff Militia separate company at the Internal Affairs Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation for the Chechen Republic. In the years 2002-2004 he was the commander of a platoon of a separate company on the protection of the police, state security buildings of the Chechen Republic Internal Affairs Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Chechen Republic.

Kadyrov was awarded a medal for his contribution to the development of nuclear physics 05 May 2023. Kadyrov, who supports Putin and the war in Ukraine, received a gold medal named after Igor Kurchatov. It is awarded for outstanding achievements in the development of nuclear physics and nuclear energy. In fact, he received the medal of the name from the "Kurchatov Institute" for his outstanding contribution to the development of the National Research Center. The medal was presented to Kadyrov by President of the National Research Center "Kurchatov Institute" Mikhail Kovalchuk during his visit to Grozny. What kind of contribution to the development of nuclear physics and nuclear energy was made by Kadyrov, Kovalchuk did not specify. He noted the great success of the region in the development of science and education.

The Kurchatov medal is far from the first award of Ramzan Kadyrov. In total, he has more than three dozen orders, medals and honorary titles. Among them are the medal "For military valor" II degree (2000), "For services to the Fatherland" IV and III degrees (2006 and 2021). In 2006, he received the title of Hero of Russia, and in 2020, Putin awarded Kadyrov the title of Major General of the National Guard. In addition, he has the honorary titles "Honored Worker of Physical Culture of the Chechen Republic", "Honored Builder of the Chechen Republic", "Honored Human Rights Defender of Chechnya", "Honorary Farmer", and in June last year he was awarded the Order "For Services to Dentistry" I degree.

In February 2023, Kadyrov was the first in the republic to be awarded the title of Hero of the Chechen Republic. This title was established by him in October 2022. Decisions on rewarding are made by the head of Chechnya, so it turns out that Kadyrov rewarded himself.

A report by the Russian opposition on Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov accused him of amassing a 30,000-strong "private army" that constituted a threat to national security. The report, titled Kadyrov: National Security Threat was released by the Republican Party of Russia-People's Freedom Party's (Parnas) Ilya Yashin on 23 February 2016, was the latest barrage in an escalating war of words between the Chechen strongman and the beleaguered Russian opposition, whom Kadyrov has labeled "enemies of the people" and "traitors." Yashin described Kadyrov's forces as "possibly the most battle-capable military group in modern Russia."

Kadyrov's 30,000 troops are fiercely loyal to the Kremlin-backed Chechen leader, as he pardoned many of them in return for laying down their weapons and abandoning their separatist fight against Moscow. Kadyrov is investing heavily in training for future generations of loyal fighters.

Kadyrov sent Chechen forces to eastern Ukraine in 2014 to fight alongside other Kremlin-backed troops against Kyiv. Kadyrov's men were involved in criminal activities across Russia, pointing to interviews with police disgruntled by the perceived impunity of his forces. "In recent years, Kadyrov's fighters have become active in Moscow," Yashin wrote. "But while they see their main task as defending their boss's regime in Chechnya, they are beginning to see the rest of Russia as potential loot."

Kremlin-backed Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said he was ready to resign. In an interview with the Kremlin-allied NTV television, Kadyrov said "my time has passed." Kadyrov's current term of office is due to end in early April 2016. "There are lots of successors on our team. We've got very good specialists," Kadyrov added in the interview that aired on 27 February 2016, first in Russia's Far East. The announcement came on the one-year anniversary of the killing of Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov. Many in the opposition accused Kadyrov of playing a role in Nemtsov’s murder.

Putin on 25 March 2016 nominated Chechnya's regional leader for another term in office, shrugging off demands for his dismissal over an alleged role in the killing of a Russian opposition leader. But in an apparent bid to rein in the unruly strongman, Putin warned Ramzan Kadyrov of the need to more closely follow the federal law.

Ramzan Kadyrov said on 27 December 2021 “My deep conviction is that if Zelensky and his team behave this way, Ukraine should be annexed to our country. The Ukrainians are our people. It is our territory. This is my opinion,” Kadyrov said, noting that he would have been ready to lead an offensive to “annex Ukraine to the Chechen Republic” if instructed to do so. “If I had been entrusted with it, I would have solved it long ago,” he said, stressing that he was simply expressing a personal opinion.

Kadyrov’s comments come as tensions on the border between Russia and Ukraine remain high. In recent weeks, Western media outlets have alleged that the Kremlin is building up its troop presence on the frontier and planning an invasion. Moscow has denied all such accusations.

July 2, 2023 on the Instagram page*, which is maintained on behalf of the head of Chechnya; A video was published showing Ramzan Kadyrov and Adam Delimkhanov. First they speak Chechen, then switch to Russian. “The dog barks, the caravan moves on. <...> We live, we live slowly, we chew bread. An interesting life, life in general is interesting when it is short. Therefore, we still don’t want to live long. We will live briefly, but with dignity,” - said Kadyrov.

Some years ago, Novaya Gazeta’s sources in Kadyrov’s inner circle began mentioning an allegedly serious illness that was difficult to treat and had a mortality rate of 30%. For several years, Kadyrov’s state of health gave no apparent cause for concern, in spite of noticeable and frequent weight fluctuations. Kadyrov underwent check-ups twice a year, as is standard for a Russian class A official — in the presidential administration hospital in Moscow, during vacation. At times, his leave dragged on for up to forty days, and in several instances, he was seen at work meetings with an intravenous infusion catheter on his arm.

By 2022 changes in Kadyrov’s appearance had prompted rumors of his illness and even imminent death. Elkhan Suleymanov, a medical professional specialising in surgery and oncology, had reportedly been the Kadyrov family’s personal doctor since 2014. The disappearance of Suleymanov in October 2022 was connected to a rapid deterioration in Kadyrov’s health which begun around the same time. When Kadyrov’s health began to deteriorate sharply and unexpectedly, those around the head of Chechnya told him that he was a victim of poisoning. Kadyrov subscribed to this theory and brought his anger down on Suleymanov. Suleymanov had not been seen by any of his close friends or colleagues since October 2022. There were rumours that Suleymanov was killed, and possibly even buried alive.

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