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Chechnya's Kadyrov Vows To 'Protect Human Rights' As Ruthless Ruler Starts Fourth Term

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Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov (file photo)

Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, known for his ruthless rule and threatening to kill his critics, has vowed to "protect human rights" at his inauguration for a fourth term leading the Caucasus region.

Kadyrov’s inauguration on October 5, which coincided with his 45th birthday, came nearly two weeks after he won 99.97 percent of the vote in last month's Russian election.

The election in the Russian region was widely seen as merely symbolic as he faced no real challenger.

Kadyrov, who has ruled Chechnya since 2007 with a cult of personality around him, is frequently accused by Russian and international human rights groups of overseeing grave human rights abuses including abductions, torture, extrajudicial killings, and targeting the LGBT community.

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His inauguration came on the eve of the 15th anniversary of the murder of prominent investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya in central Moscow, which took place on President Vladimir Putin's birthday -- October 7, 2006.

The Chechen leader was one of the subjects of her reporting on human rights abuses.

Politkovskaya had also exposed the brutality of the war in Chechnya, and documented how Putin was curtailing democracy in Russia.

Anna Politkovskaya: A Journalist Silenced
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Kremlin critics say Putin has turned a blind eye to abuses and violations carried out by Kadyrov because he relies on the former rebel commander to control separatist sentiment and violence in Chechnya.

Chechnya went through two devastating post-Soviet wars and an Islamist insurgency that spread to other mostly Muslim regions in the North Caucasus.

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