GROZNY, Russia -- A nephew of Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Russia's North Caucasus region of Chechnya, has been appointed by local legislators as Grozny's mayor.
The Grozny city council on July 26 voted for Ibragim Zakriyev, a son of Kadyrov's sister Zulai, to the mayoral post in Chechnya's capital.
He replaces Muslim Khuchiyev, who stepped down from the post in June to become Chechnya's prime minister.
Rights and civil activists say most of the top administrative posts in Chechnya have been occupied by relatives of Kadyrov since 2007 when he was appointed by Russian President Vladimir Putin as Chechnya's leader.
Kadyrov's critics say he rules through repressive measures and has created a climate of impunity for security forces in the region.
They claim Kadyrov and his associates bear responsibility for abuses that included kidnappings, forced disappearances, torture, and the killings of political opponents.
Kremlin critics say the Russian president turns a blind eye to Kadyrov's alleged abuses and violations of the Russian Constitution because Putin relies on the former rebel militant in order to control separatist sentiments and violence in Chechnya.
Chechnya has been the site of two devastating post-Soviet wars and an Islamist insurgency that spread to other mostly Muslim regions of the North Caucasus.