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Kadyrov Shames Chechen Social Worker On TV

  • Anna Shamanska

Chechen social worker Ayshat Inayeva (left) and her husband looked very contrite when they had to meet with Ramzan Kadyrov on TV after she had sharply criticized the Caucasus leader.

Chechen social worker Ayshat Inayeva (left) and her husband looked very contrite when they had to meet with Ramzan Kadyrov on TV after she had sharply criticized the Caucasus leader.

Few Chechens dare to criticize Ramzan Kadyrov publicly, and those who do risk being bullied into submission. Or worse.

But earlier this month, Ayshat Inayeva was angry.

A social worker from the Chechen village of Gvardeyskoye, Inayeva said that after paying off her utility bills her boss was forcing her to put aside another 3,000 rubles ($42) from her paycheck as collateral for next month's payment.

In a two-minute audio message posted to Whatsapp that was then shared by others on social media, she placed the blame squarely on the Chechen strongman.

"What do you want from us? You are not even letting us bring our salary home," Inayeva asked of Kadyrov. "Are you the only one who ought to eat? Are you the only one who ought to drink? Are you the only one who has the right to live?"

Three days later, a sullen Inayeva found herself on government-run TV, supposedly with an opportunity to address the "Padishah," a superlative meaning "Great King" that Chechens often use in Kadyrov's company, in an "open dialogue."

WATCH: Kadyrov Berates Couple On Live Television

Perched on a golden, brocaded couch next to her seemingly mortified husband and flanked by parliament speaker Magomed Daudov, presidential administration head Islam Kadyrov, and others, including her boss, Inayeva took back everything she'd said.

The 39-year-old Kadyrov -- wearing a sweatshirt decorated with the images of his assassinated father, former pro-Moscow Chechen leader Akhmad Kadyrov, a mosque, and the words "The road to success -- dream, pray, act" -- hectors her at length and casually drops loaded words like "extremism" and "Wahhabism." He replays segments of her audio message as Inayeva and her husband mostly stare downward, hands folded in front of them.

The Inayeva of three days earlier had called out Kadyrov as selfish.

"We'll die of hunger," she'd complained, "and you don't care, as long as you do well, as long as your construction goes well. You pay your artists with apartments and cars.... Why won't you give something to common people?"

Now, back within the friendly confines of state television, Kadyrov uses the opportunity to demonstrate his brand of compassion.

"I am not going to punish you, I just want you to explain to the people and me how do I show off?" asks Kadyrov, who routinely posts photos to his popular Instagram account of him beating underlings in mixed martial-arts fights, hosting celebrities and other high-profile visitors, and cavorting with his collection of exotic animals. "How do I steal money from the people?"

Rights activists say Kadyrov has created a climate of fear in Chechnya and have accused him of rights abuses including abductions, torture, and executions.

In the state TV segment, Inayeva largely remains silent, and when she is asked to speak is nearly inaudible.

Kadyrov and his aides take turns lecturing her on where budget proceeds go -- new childcare centers, roads, power lines, and water pipes.

A state TV anchor also dresses down Inayeva. "In her so-called address to the head of Chechnya, she asks: 'Why don't you care about common people?' She seems to have forgotten that at her personal request Ramzan Kadyrov laid a kilometer-long gas pipeline to her house," the anchorman says.

'How Could I Say Such A Thing?'

Inayeva's husband, Magomed Idigov, also apologizes, saying he blames himself for not keeping an eye on his wife and letting her spread such "lies."

"I don't know what [devil] possessed her. That is what happens when our people listen to those abroad who denigrate our Chechnya and our Padishah," he says.

The woman's boss, Aza Dzankhotova, calls Inayeva a liar.

In a televised "backstage" moment after the couch session with the Chechen officials, Inayeva can no longer explain why she recorded the message. She claims to be completely satisfied with her job and with Kadyrov's government.

"Not once in the past seven years have the salaries of either myself or my husband been delayed," she tells the camera crew. "We never made big mistakes in life, but how I could say such a thing, I don't even know. I am guilty under the gaze of Allah, the people, my husband, and the Padishah."

Inyaeva has returned to work, according to RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service, although there have been unconfirmed rumors that she was beaten and briefly hospitalized.

"She is alright. Nobody is after her... She continues to work for us," Dzankhotova told Caucasian Knot. "As for firing her, I haven't thought of that yet."

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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