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Chechen Leader 'Temporarily Incapacitated,' Puts PM In Charge

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov (right) and the region's Prime Minister Muslim Magomedovich Khuchiyev (file photo)

The leader of Russia's North Caucasus region of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, has temporarily left office due to what he called his "temporary incapacitation."

Kadyrov's order dated January 13 was placed on the Chechen government's website.

"I entrust the chairman of the government of the Chechen Republic, Muslim Magomedovich Khuchiyev with carrying out the duties of the head of the Chechen Republic as of January 13, 2020 for the period of my temporary incapacitation," the document says, without giving any other details.

In February last year, Kadyrov left Khuchiyev in his stead exactly for the same reason. The wording of the February 11, 2019 document does not differ from the latest one.

News of this type usually causes lots of rumors in the volatile region where Kadyrov has governed in an authoritarian style for years.

Rights groups say Kadyrov rules through repressive measures and has created a climate of impunity for security forces in the region. They claim Kadyrov is ultimately responsible for abuses of political opponents by Chechen authorities that include kidnappings and forced disappearances, torture, and extrajudicial killings.

Kremlin critics say Russian President Vladimir Putin turns a blind eye to the alleged abuses and violations of the Russian Constitution by Kadyrov because he relies on the former rebel commander to control separatist sentiments and violence in Chechnya, the site of two devastating post-Soviet wars and an Islamist insurgency that spread to other mostly Muslim regions in the North Caucasus.