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'When A Strong Man Armed Keepeth His Palace...'


Photos of Kadyrov's mansion reveal a man whose decorating skills may be lacking.

Photos of Kadyrov's mansion reveal a man whose decorating skills may be lacking.

Pictures were uploaded to the Internet last week of the grandiose mansion constructed for Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov in his home village of Tsentoroi. Although the house, according to Kadyrov's tax return for 2009, legally belongs to his mother, stories of Kadyrov's ostentatious displays of wealth have become a staple of the Russian blogosphere and YouTube.

From the outside, the building appears imposing and architecturally not displeasing, although stylistically it is more oriental than Chechen. Inside, it is tasteless, with marble pillars and ubiquitous gilding. In several rooms, including what appears to be the master bedroom, the wallpaper does not harmonize with the flooring. One of the several lavish bathrooms incongruously has what looks like a cheap rubber bathmat.

At least some of the shots appear to have been taken before Kadyrov moved into the building, when the final touches were being put to the interior. Some crystal chandeliers are still wreathed in plastic. There is only one picture on the walls, possibly a portrait of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, whom Kadyrov claims to love very much "as a man loves another man."

Most rooms are unfurnished, apart from two bedrooms in a style probably best described as Hollywood meets Versailles. The kitchen boasts off-white cabinets and a state-of the-art range.

In the absence of furniture, it is impossible to identify the nursery wing for Kadyrov's seven children -- assuming they do not live with their mothers in the three-room, 36-square-meter apartment in Grozny that is the only real estate that Kadyrov claims to own.

About This Blog

This blog presents analyst Liz Fuller's personal take on events in the region, following on from her work in the "RFE/RL Caucasus Report." It also aims, to borrow a metaphor from Tom de Waal, to act as a smoke detector, focusing attention on potential conflict situations and crises throughout the region. The views are the author's own and do not represent those of RFE/RL.

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