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Kremlin Says Chechen Leader Staying In Charge, Despite Talk Of Quitting


Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov (file photo)

The Kremlin says Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Russia's Chechnya region, will remain at his post despite comments he made during the weekend about the possibility of standing down.

The 41-year-old Kadyrov said in an interview aired late on November 26 by state-run Rossia 1 TV that it was time for him to leave office.

He suggested that the Kremlin should choose his replacement and said that, if asked, he could suggest several candidates he thinks are capable of taking over his post.

But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on November 27 that Kadyrov remains loyal to Russian President Vladimir Putin and would "work at any position which the country's president has asked him to."

"He did not say otherwise. We are proceeding from this," Peskov said. "He continues to remain as the current head of the republic [of Chechnya]."

Kadyrov told Rossia 1 that "there was a time when people like me were needed to fight, to establish order. Now we have order." He also said it was his "dream" to step down.

"It's very hard to be a leader and bear the responsibility for the people, for the republic in the face of God, the country's leaders," Kadyrov said.

But the Chechen leader also reiterated his allegiance to Putin, calling him his "idol" and saying: "I'm ready to die for him. I'm ready to comply with any order."

Putin appointed Kadyrov in February 2007 as the head of Chechnya’s regional administration.

His appointment was confirmed by Chechnya’s parliament in March 2011 and he was elected to another five-year term in September 2016.

Rights groups and critics have long accused Kadyrov and his paramilitary forces of serious human rights abuses -- including the widespread use of kidnapping, torture, and extrajudicial murders.

He recently faced international condemnation over a brutal crackdown against homosexuals by Chechen authorities.

Kadyrov claims the crackdown never happened and denies the allegations of other human rights abuses.

With reporting by Reuters, Rossia 1, Bloomberg, Interfax, TASS, and RIA Novosti
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