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Chechnya's Kadyrov Goes Berserk At Soccer Match

Ramzan Kadyrov prior to the March 17 soccer match
Ramzan Kadyrov prior to the March 17 soccer match
After unleashing all sorts of details and photos from his public and personal life on the photo-sharing site Instagram, it appears there is very little that Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov is afraid to publicly share.

Or, in this case, announce to a stadium full of people in the middle of a heated soccer match.

During a Russian Premier League football game at Grozny’s Akhmat-Arena on March 17 between Terek Grozny and the visiting team, Tatarstan's Rubin Kazan, the Chechen leader was so overcome with emotion that when, during the 83rd minute, Russian referee Mikhail Vilkov dismissed Terek defender and captain Rizvan Utsiyev, Kadyrov used the stadium's public-address system to shout:

“Referee, sellout...jerk (or more precisely, goat).”

In the video below, Kadyrov’s voice can be heard reverberating throughout the stadium:

According to RIA-Novosti, Terek was dominating the game despite the lack of goals scored by either team. The breaking point for Kadyrov came when Utsiyev was shown a red card.

Although certain Russian media outlets initially reported that it was the announcer who lost his temper and shouted the insults at the referee, Kadyrov later apologized to the football world via his Instagram account for getting caught up in the heat of the moment.

"But I won't apologize to the referee: He deserves the tag 'sellout,'" he added.

"Yes, it was me, Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic," he officially announced, adding that the insult toward the referee wasn't only about the officiating at this week's game.

The disciplinary committee of the Russian Football Union will reportedly discuss the incident during a hearing on March 20.

Football is more than just a game for the Moscow-backed Kadyrov, who since coming to power in 2004 has spent millions of dollars in an effort to reinvent Chechnya as a hub of international soccer.
Referee Mikhail Vilkov (left) issues a red card to Terek's Rizvan Utsiyev (second left) in the March 17 match.
Referee Mikhail Vilkov (left) issues a red card to Terek's Rizvan Utsiyev (second left) in the March 17 match.

Kadyrov served as president of Terek Grozny from 2004 until late 2011, when he decided to step down, citing a "heavy workload." Earlier that year, he dismissed its coach, legendary Dutch footballer Ruud Gullit, following a lackluster season.

In May 2011, he also inaugurated Akhmat-Arena, the $280 million multisport stadium in honor of his father, the late Ahkmad-Hajji Kadyrov, who was killed in a bomb attack at Terek’s old stadium in 2004.

The Rubin-Terek soccer match ended in a scoreless draw, a disappointing result for Terek Grozny, which finds itself in seventh place in Russia's top football league.

-- Deana Kjuka

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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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