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Published in Stream:
Russia Update: February 3, 2016
Press by
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Kasyanov Files Complaint About Kadyrov to FSB; Kadyrov Says 'Too Early' To Think About Re-Election
4 years
Transgender Woman Murdered in Russia
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov continues to dominate the headlines as the stories of his threats against the Russian opposition and the impending end of his term continue to reverberate.

Kadyrov himself mentioned the expiration of his term on Instagram, adding coyly that he he had "not given thought as to whether he would run for elections again," that it was "too early" to speak of them and that he "did not want to get distracted." He then noted that the candidate for the head of Chechnya "must be the choice of the president of Russia" -- although according to the Chechen Constitution, the head is no longer appointed by the Russian president but is supposed to be directly elected by the people of Chechnya.

RBC.ru reported that presidential administration spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that he was not aware of any decree being prepared regarding the expiration of Kadyrov's term, but said there was "a fair amount of time" before it expired.

According to RBC.ru, Mikhail Kasyanov, chair of the opposition Parnas party and former finance minister, has submitted complaints to the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Investigative Committee about Kadyrov's post on Instagram - since removed by Instagram moderators - threatening Kasyanov and Vladimir Kara-Murza, Jr. with a video clip of surveillance tape while they were in Strasbourg, shown through a sniper's scope.

Kadyrov claimed they were in Strasbourg to pick up EU money; the two were in fact testifying at a hearing about the case of the murder of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. The scope was likely spliced in later; Kadyrov tried to diminish the post, first claiming the opposition were cowards, then saying the crosshairs were only from "a periscope."


Kasyanov believes Kadyrov has violated a number of articles of the Russian criminal code -- attempt on the life of a state or public figure; public calls to extremist activity; and incitement of hatred or enmity. He is referencing not only the Instagram post but the posters and speeches at the January 22 rally in Grozny in support of Kadyrov which featured many attacks on prominent opposition figures.

Sergei Mitrokhin, head of the Yabloko party's Moscow section, also filed a complaint with authorities noting that Kadyrov was inciting hatred of a certain social group that did not support the current political line of the government. He also cited the posters at the Grozny rally: "Liberals of All Stripes Thirst for Crises, Protests, and Death!" "One Opposition Member Does More Harm Than 100 Friends Does Good!" "Liberals in the Government - Crisis in the Economy"; "Don't Spare Money for the Russian Opposition-USA State Department"; "Russian Liberal Needs Materiel for Russia".

The European Union has also weighed in on Kadyrov's threats. Amb. Vygaudas Ušackas, the EU envoy to Russia, after speaking with Kasyanov, issued a statement saying he was shocked by the "repulsive unconcealed threats of murder" and urged the Russian government to respond. 

The statement said such threats were "unacceptable in a democratic society."

Interfax reported that the EU statement then evoked a response from Kadyrov's press secretary, who said the Chechen government was "extremely surprised" and demanded "clarifications" regarding which statements by Kadyrov on Instagram contained "unconcealed threats." 

"We would also be grateful to know on which linguistic analyses your conclusions about 'theats of murder' were based on," the statement said.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick