Chechens gather to support pro-Kremlin leader Kadyrov

Huge crowd gathers in Grozny to support Chechen pro-Kremlin leader Kadyrov

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Tens of thousands of people gather in central Grozny, capital of Russia's North Caucasus region of Chechnya, on January 22, 2016

Tens of thousands of people gathered on Friday in capital of Chechnya, Grozny, to support pro-Kremlin leader Ramzan Kadyrov and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Kadyrov in recent weeks has been speaking out against independent journalists and opposition activists, calling for them to be sent to psychiatric hospitals or prosecuted as traitors in the service of a hostile West.

Kadyrov supporters praised him for bringing stability to the autonomous region after separatist wars chanting "Kadyrov is a Russian patriot."

Two attendees told Reuters they had been forced to participate.

53-year-old housewife Malika Murtaeva came to the rally to show her support for Kadyrov and said some don’'t like his good deeds and some allegations have been asserted by his rivals.

"Everything they say against Kadyrov, I take as a personal attack against me, because their goal is to deprive me of the person who brought peace and stability to me and everyone in our republic, independent of nationality or creed," she said.

"Some people are trying to use the country's complex economic situation for their own dirty agenda to destabilise things," Magomed Daudov, the speaker of the Chechen parliament, told the crowd. "These people are traitors."

Daudov earlier this month posted a picture on the Internet of Kadyrov restraining an enormous dog called "Tarzan," hinting the animal could be set on the liberal opposition.

39-year-old Kadyrov took Chechen leadership after assassination of his father in 2004 and rebuilt the war-torn republic with generous funding from Moscow.

Kadyrov became Kremlin's ally after two separatist war with Russian Federation and he has made a series of strongly-worded verbal tirades against the liberal opposition in recent weeks, calling them "enemies of the people," a Stalin-era phrase some of Putin's rivals see as an implicit death threat.

Many journalists in the region and politicians who were critical of Putin and Kadyrov have been assassinated.

Some of the murders were preceded by similar threats and some of the suspected killers have been Chechens.

Rights activists in Russia and the West have criticised Kadyrov, with some demanding that he step down.

TRTWorld and agencies