A member of the Presidential Human Rights Council called for a probe Wednesday into the recent scandal-mired wedding between a Chechen police chief and his 17-year-old second bride, shortly after the republic's outspoken leader Ramzan Kadyrov stirred even more controversy by calling for men to lock up their wives.
Yelena Masyuk, well-known journalist and member of the human rights council, pointed out in a recent blog post several suspected legal issues with the marriage between Nazhud Guchigov — a man variously reported to be in his late 40s to mid 50s — and teenager Kheda (Luiza) Goylabiyeva.
In Russia, the minimum marital age is generally 18, with a few narrow exceptions. Masyuk argued that none of the legal exceptions appeared to apply in Guchigov and Goylabiyeva's case.
Masyuk further questioned whether both of Guchigov's marriages were legally registered at once, in violation of federal law, which does not permit polygamy, and whether Goylabiyeva herself in fact said "yes" to the marriage.
"We need to fully analyze this situation, to reach a conclusion about it, and perhaps file a complaint with prosecutors," Masyuk wrote in the post, which was published on the human rights council's website. The Presidential Human Rights Council consults with and assists President Vladimir Putin in carrying out his constitutional duty to protect human rights in Russia.
Masyuk made a name for herself with her coverage of the first and second Chechen wars. As a young NTV journalist in 1997, she famously spent 101 days in captivity after being kidnapped and held hostage alongside two fellow journalists in Grozny.
Following the wedding, Kadyrov — who himself attended the controversial reception — lashed out over the jokes and gossip that had apparently become pervasive on popular instant messaging application WhatsApp since the wedding.
During a television address, Kadyrov urged men to stop the cycle of banter by keeping their women under lock and key.
"Lock them in, do not let them go out, then they will not post anything," Kadyrov — speaking in Chechen — instructed the men among his viewers, according to the BBC. "Behave like Chechens. The family honor is the most important thing," he implored them.
In case merely locking the women up fails to do the trick, Kadyrov took it up a notch by then instructing the men to "take your women out of WhatsApp," according to the BBC.