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Kadyrov Says He's Ready To Step Down

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov (file photo)
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov (file photo)

Kremlin-backed Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has said he is ready to resign.

In an interview with the Kremlin-allied NTV television, Kadyrov said "my time has passed."

Kadyrov's current term of office is due to end in early April.

"There are lots of successors on our team. We've got very good specialists," Kadyrov added in the interview that aired on February 27, first in Russia's Far East.

The announcement comes on the one-year anniversary of the killing of Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov.

Many in the opposition accuse Kadyrov of playing a role in Nemtsov’s murder.

"Nemtsov did not bother me at all, in fact. That's because he is not my level," Kadyrov told NTV.

"The nation's leadership needs to find another person so that my name isn't used against my people," Kadyrov added.

The five suspects arrested for the crime all have ties to Chechnya and the North Caucasus.

"I know that, after the killing of Boris Nemtsov, the relationships between the federal government and Chechnya's leadership have worsened considerably," Dmitry Gudkov, one of only a handful of opposition lawmakers left in the State Duma, told RFE/RL's Russian Service on February 27.

"This explains Ramzan Kadyrov's recent hysteria toward the opposition," Gudkov added.

Earlier this week, opposition leader Ilya Yashin released a report accusing Kadyrov of involvement in Nemtsov's killing and demanding his resignation.

Kadyrov was nominated for the Chechen presidency by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2007 and approved almost without any objections by the Chechen parliament.

Putin has relied on Kadyrov to stabilize Chechnya after two separatist wars, making him effectively immune from federal controls.

Based on reporting by TASS, AP, and