Russian President Vladimir Putin met with the head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, in June 2018. However, Kadyrov is currently facing controversy after posting a video on social media that shows his 15-year-old son, Adam, attacking a prisoner. The video, which was shared on Telegram, depicts Adam punching and kicking the man. Kadyrov even expressed pride in his son’s actions, stating, “Without exaggeration, I am proud of Adam’s actions.”
The man who was attacked in the video is Nikita Zurabel, a Russian prisoner who was jailed on charges of burning the Quran, the holy book of Islam. Zurabel had previously filed a complaint with the Russian Human Rights Ombudsman regarding the assault by Adam. In response, the Ombudsman raised the issue with Chechnya last month.
Following the release of the video, criticism towards Kadyrov emerged from various Russian political circles. Despite President Putin’s trust in Kadyrov, even pro-Putin figures expressed their disapproval. Yevgeny Popov, a representative known to support Putin, deemed the attack “obviously illegal” and stressed that only the court could determine the appropriate punishment. Vladislav Davankov, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, emphasized the need for Russian laws to be applied equally to everyone.
This incident is not the first involving human rights violations in the Chechen Republic, as numerous cases of prisoner abuse and rights violations have been reported in the region without any consequences so far. The fact that the Russian Human Rights Ombudsman is reviewing Zurabel’s complaint is seen as unusual, shedding light on the complicated relationship between the Kremlin and Kadyrov.
The Kremlin has remained silent on the controversy surrounding the attack video, refusing to comment during a press conference. Kadyrov, often referring to himself as “Putin’s foot soldier,” provided substantial military support during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, some factions within Russia have criticized the government for losing control over Chechnya.
Interestingly, this video controversy has arisen at a time when Kadyrov is also faced with rumors about his health. To address such rumors, Kadyrov recently assured the public on Telegram that he is “alive and well,” indicating awareness of the speculations. Analysts speculate that Kadyrov may be grooming his eldest son, Akhmat, as his potential successor, as he was recently seen meeting alone with President Putin.
In summary, the actions of Ramzan Kadyrov’s son have sparked a backlash, with criticism coming from both Russian political figures and international observers concerned about human rights violations in the Chechen Republic. The incident sheds light on the fragile relationship between Kadyrov and the Kremlin, as well as the potential succession plans within Kadyrov’s family.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) meets and shakes hands with the head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, in June 2018./Russian Kremlin
The head of the Chechen Republic, the so-called ‘Devil’s Unit’ fighting on Russia’s side in the Ukraine war, is causing controversy by posting a video of his son attacking a prisoner on social media.
According to the British Guardian on the 26th (local time), the head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, posted a video on Telegram the day before showing his 15-year-old son Adam punching and kicking a man. Along with the video, Kadyrov wrote, “Without exaggeration, I am proud of Adam’s actions.”
It is known that the man in the video who was attacked is Nikita Zurabel, a Russian prisoner who was imprisoned on charges of burning the Quran, the Islamic holy book. In the video, he is seen crouching and being attacked.
Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic./TASS Yonhap News Agency
Zurabel previously filed a complaint with the Russian Human Rights Ombudsman about Adam’s attack. In response, the Ombudsman announced that she had raised the issue with Chechnya last month.
When the video was released, voices of criticism towards Kadyrov emerged from Russian political circles. President Vladimir Putin is known to trust Kadyrov, but he is causing bitter criticism even among pro-Putin figures.
Representative Yevgeny Popov, who is known as a pro-Putin figure, said of Adam’s attack that it was “obviously illegal.” He said, “Only the court can decide the punishment.” Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Vladislav Davankov also said that Russian laws “must be applied equally to everyone.”
This is not the first incident involving human rights violations in the Chechen Republic. There have been several cases of human rights violations, such as attacks on prisoners, in this region, but no punishment has been given so far.
Accordingly, it is interpreted as unusual for the Russian human rights ombudsman to review complaints of human rights violations by Zurabel. The media analyzed that it revealed complex problems in the precarious relationship between the Kremlin and Kadyrov.
However, the Kremlin was silent on the controversy surrounding the attack video. At a press conference held that day, the Kremlin said, “We will not comment on the story about Kadyrov’s son.”
Kadyrov called himself ‘Putin’s foot soldier’ and spared no military support during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But some Russian right-wing groups have complained that Russia has lost control over Chechnya.
Meanwhile, the controversy surrounding this video came as Kadyrov was engulfed in rumors of health problems. Recently, Kadyrov left a message on Telegram, saying that he is “alive and well,” as if aware of rumors about his health.
There is also an analysis that Kadyrov has started work on succession. It was reported that Kadyrov’s eldest son, Akhmat, was recently seen holding a meeting alone with President Putin.
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