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Chechnya's Kadyrov Refuses to 'March' to U.S. Orders

Kadyrov said the State Department report did not reflect the reality of how human rights are respected in Chechnya or Russia as a whole. Denis Grishkin

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has angrily accused the United States of lecturing him on human rights and demanding that Chechens "march" to its orders.

"The U.S. is trying to lecture the whole world. They are trying to turn all countries and people into formations of marching soldiers, dictating to each and everyone how to live and what to do and not do," Kadyrov said.

He was responding to the State Department's recently released annual human rights report, which accused him of continued violation of fundamental freedoms and of fostering "an overall atmosphere of fear and intimidation."

Kadyrov said the report did not reflect the reality of how human rights are respected in Chechnya or Russia as a whole. "In Chechnya, human rights are observed more than anywhere else," he said in a statement published on his website Friday.

He said Washington was ignoring local traditions outside the United States. "100,000 people have their own centuries-old principles. … You cannot destroy them by pressing them into American standards," he said.

Rights groups have long implicated Kadyrov in killings and abductions in Chechnya, which he is seen as governing as his personal fiefdom with the Kremlin's blessing. Kadyrov denies wrongdoing.

The State Department report dwells at length on the case of Umar Israilov, a Chechen refugee and former bodyguard of Kadyrov who was shot and killed in Vienna in 2010.

An Austrian court last year convicted three Chechens of organizing the murder. A fourth suspect, accused of pulling the trigger, Letscha Bogatirov, "was promoted by the Kadyrov government following the killing as a reward for his actions," the U.S. report said.

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