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Putin Appoints Kadyrov As Chechnya’s Acting Head

  • RFE/RL

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov addresses a crowd in Grozny on March 23, 2016.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov addresses a crowd in Grozny on March 23, 2016.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to appoint Ramzan Kadyrov as acting head of the North Caucasus region of Chechnya.

Speaking to Kadyrov at the Kremlin on March 25, Putin expressed hope that he would participate in regional elections in September.

"I believe that the people of Chechnya, the Chechen people, will be able to properly evaluate during the election campaign what you have done for the republic," he said.

Kadyrov's current term ends on April 5. The Russian news agency Interfax quoted an unnamed source among Kadyrov's "close associates" as saying "with firm confidence" that Kadyrov will participate in the election.

Russian President Vladimir Putin talking to Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov on March 25 in the Kremlin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin talking to Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov on March 25 in the Kremlin.

Kadyrov, 39, has ruled Chechnya since shortly after his father, former Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov, was assassinated in 2004. Putin appointed him to head the republic in 2007.

In the 1990s, both Ramzan Kadyrov and his father were anti-Russian separatist militants until they switched sides.

Ramzan Kadyrov has been widely accused of human rights abuses, including kidnappings, disappearances, torture, and the murder of political opponents.

People with ties to Kadyrov have been implicated in the 2015 killing of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov. Although Kadyrov denies any involvement, he has described one suspect, Chechen police official Zaur Dadayev, as "a true patriot."

Kadyrov has provoked controversy recently by saying all those opposed to Putin are "national traitors" and for posting on social media an image showing former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and another opposition activist as if viewed through a sniper's scope.

Kadyrov controls a heavily armed militia force that numbers as many as 30,000 troops.

With by reporting by TASS, Reuters, and Interfax
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