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Kadyrov Proposes Travel Ban for Top Officials

Chechnya republic head Ramzan Kadyrov has proposed banning former top officials, including former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, from traveling abroad, where their state secrets could fall into the wrong hands, Kadyrov wrote in a column published in Kremlin-friendly newspaper Izvestia on Monday.

Such a ban would presumably target all former high-ranking officials, but Kadyrov singled out veteran opposition leaders Boris Nemtsov and Mikhail Kasyanov — a former deputy prime minister and prime minister, respectively — as well as former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin and even Gorbachev for travel restrictions.

Their frequent trips abroad and meetings with foreign officials and Kremlin critics raise questions about the safety of the state secrets to which they have been privy, Kadyrov wrote, citing as an example Kasyanov's recent participation in a conference organized by the U.S. Congress.

"I understand that [this proposal] raises many questions, primarily among human rights activists. … But I believe some things are more important than individuals' rights, namely the interests of the state," wrote Kadyrov, a former separatist leader who has led Chechnya since 2007.

Detractors have accused Kadyrov of running the once-restive region with an iron fist and trampling human rights, and have linked him to the mysterious killings of rivals at home and abroad. Kadyrov has denied wrongdoing.

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