Ramzan Akhmadovich Kadyrov (Russian: Рамза́н Ахма́тович Кады́ров, born October 5th, 1976 - ) is the Head of the Chechen Republic and a former member of the Chechen independence movement.
He is the son of former Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov, who was assassinated in May 2004. In February 2007, Kadyrov replaced Alu Alkhanov as President, shortly after he had turned 30, which is the minimum age for the post. He was engaged in violent power struggles with Chechen government warlords Sulim Yamadayev and Said-Magomed Kakiyev for overall military authority, and with Alkhanov for political authority.
Ramzan Kadyrov is an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences. He founded the Akhmat Fight Club and established an international annual freestyle wrestling tournament called the Ramzan Kadyrov & Adlan Varayev Cup. Since November 2015, he is a member of the Advisory Commission of the State Council of the Russian Federation.
Over the years, he has come under criticism from international organisations for a wide array of human rights abuses under his watch, with Human Rights Watch calling the forced disappearances and torture so widespread they constituted crimes against humanity. During his tenure, he has advocated to restrict the public lives of women, and led a campaign of mass detention for those who are suspected to have engaged in homosexual behavior, allegedly operating a system of concentration camps specifically created to intern gay and bisexual men.
Human rights violations
Kadyrov has previously encouraged extrajudicial killings of homosexual men by family members as an alternative to law enforcement – in some cases, gay men in prison have been released early specifically to enable their murder by relatives.
In April 2017, international media reported that gay men in Chechnya were being arrested, detained and tortured as part of a region-wide pogrom. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on 5 May that he would personally ask the Russian Prosecutor General and Interior Ministry to help Kremlin rights ombudswoman Tatyana Moskalkova check the reported abuse. UK Deputy Foreign Secretary Sir Alan Duncan told the UK Parliament he had been informed of alleged plans to eliminate Chechnya's gay community by the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which commenced on 26 May 2017.
Chechnya has denied the reports, with its interior minister calling the allegations an "April Fools' joke". Kadyrov's spokesman Alvi Karimov rejected the allegations and described the report in the Russian newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, as "absolute lies and disinformation", basing his denial on the claim that "you cannot detain and persecute people who simply do not exist in the republic. If there were such people in Chechnya, the law-enforcement organs wouldn't need to have anything to do with them because their relatives would send them somewhere from which there is no returning." Vladimir Putin's spokesperson Dmitry Peskov also said that there had been no evidence found to support the allegations, adding that he had no reason to doubt Kadyrov's claims that no one under his rule has been persecuted for their sexual orientation.
In an interview with HBO's Real Sports aired on 18 July, Kadyrov said that, if there are any, Chechen gays should be moved to Canada, and claimed that pro-LGBT lobbyists are devils.