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Published in Press Stream:
March 25, 2016

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Published in Stream:
March 25, 2016
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Putin to Meet with Kadyrov Today
6 years
Stream: March 25, 2016
Publication: Russia Update
US Secretary of State John Kerry Meets with Putin, Lavrov in Moscow; Quips and Losses in Translation, No Breakthroughs
In Previously Unannounced Move, Putin Reappoints Ramzan Kadyrov As Leader Of Chechnya
Russian President Vladimir Putin is to meet with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov today, RBC reported, citing Dmitry Preskov, presidential administration spokesman.

"There are several working meetings in the schedule today. One of them is regional, that's a meeting with Kadyrov," said Interfax.

There was no further information on the topic of the meeting, but given that Kadyrov's term as head of Chechnya is due to expire April 5, it is likely a meeting to decide or confirm his future.

Rumors have circulated for weeks that the Kremlin has already decided to keep the controversial Chechen strongman in power, despite all kinds of allegations of his involvement in disappearances and murders at home, the assassination of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, and corrupt schemes involving the extraction of contributions to a fund named in honor of his father, Akhmad, who was assassinated in May 2004.

Kadyrov has made a number of provocative statements in recent weeks targeting the Russian opposition -- notably posting a clip from a surveillance video taken of opposition leader Mikhail Kasyanov, chair of the PARNAS party and journalist Vladimir Kara-Murza, Jr., coordinator of Open Russia, together in Brussels. He put a sniper scope over the clip and accused them of receiving money from the EU. After that, Kasyanov was attacked several times by men throwing cakes and eggs at him and shouting threats, and he canceled one meeting with voters.

After Ilya Yashin, the deputy chair of PARNAS issued a report chronicling all the accusations against Kadyrov, he was threatened with a libel suit by the Chechen government.

Last week a group of journalists and human rights activists were attacked by Chechen thugs who beat them and torched their car, leaving the driver in the hospital with multiple broken bones and two foreign journalists and a Russian reporter with injuries as well. After that, Kadyrov seemed to maintain "radio silence" and posted about other topics on Instagram.

One of his recent posts contains lavish praise of Danil Martynov, his loyal deputy and trainer of the Interior Ministry's Internal Troops described as Kadyrov's "personal army." Martynov, a former member of the Alfa spetsnaz in Moscow, has long been preparing to go to the North Pole to train under harsh weather conditions and raise the Chechen pole. It seemed strange that Kadyrov would send out of the country such a crucial figure during a time of transition. Either he had already been assured of the continuation of his rein in Chechnya, or he didn't trust Martynov, which seemed to go against all his years of close cooperation with him and praise on Instagram.
2016-03-25 09:19:29
Ekaterina Sokiarianskaia, a researcher for the International Crisis Group and a long time human rights advocate in the North Caucasus said she believed Kadyrov would be kept in place.

A Reuters story today quoting multiple experts did not contain any hard news about Kadyrov, but one seasoned analyst, Denis Sokolov, said he believed Putin would not make a "U-turn" now and remove Kadyrov. The question would be which figure in the Chechen leadership would have the control over the armed forces as well as the connections in Moscow to do the job.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick