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Ramzan Kadyrov, Putin’s close ally and Chechen leader, has frequently spoken out via video message in recent days.
In it he emphasizes how well he is doing and denies speculation about his supposedly poor health, that he is in a coma or has even died.
But there is no way to check whether the videos are actually up to date. And a new video on the official Telegram channel also raises doubts:
It purports to show Kadyrov meeting with the head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations.
However, it seems as if the voices were added to the video later. Even when both men are silent, a soundtrack of their “conversation” can be heard. When speaking, lip movements and tone seem out of sync.
And other incidents are fueling rumors that Kadyrov is not doing as well as he wants the public to believe: A private jet set off from Moscow to Hanover on Wednesday.
The FAI Air Ambulance machine is equipped with “the most modern medical technology”. According to the federal police, there were two Germans on board, but there was speculation on the short message service X, formerly Twitter, whether Kadyrov was on board. He is said to have serious kidney disease.
Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gershenko also shared his guesses on X:
What we know:
Most likely, Kadyrov is on the premises of the Central Clinical Hospital in Moscow. Attempts were made to keep his whereabouts secret. After the information spread, dubious videos (carefully edited) and explanations began to appear.
What could have happened?
1. Kadyrov is actually very sick. The people around him are trying to hide this while they choose a successor and divide the inheritance.
2. All the rumors and claims about Kadyrov’s illness/death are intended to distract the public from something else.
What is really behind all the excitement surrounding Kadyrov, whether it is intended to distract from something or whether he is actually ill, remains to be seen.