A man who saw his house burnt down after he criticized the authorities in Russia's Chechen Republic has publicly apologized for making the complaints.
Ramazan Dzhalaldinov also accused the media of distortion in the message broadcast by Chechnya's state television company Grozny.
“I apologize to [Chechen leader] Ramzan Kadyrov that this has happened. I apologize to the entire people [of Chechnya] and ask others like me not to do the wrong things,” he said.
In the message, Dzhalaldinov compared Kadyrov to the “shining of the sun” and said that 99 percent of media information on his story was lies. He maintained that nobody asked him to apologize.
Dzhalaldinov filmed the video in city of Makhachkala in the neighboring Russian republic of Dagestan. He had previously said that he had fled from Chechnya after receiving threats linked to his public complaints. In the message, Dzhalaldinov denied that any threats took place.
On April 14, the day of President Vladimir Putin's annual phone-in marathon, Dzhalaldinov posted an online video message to the Russian head of state. In the clip, he accused local authorities of extortion and complained about the living conditions in his village of Kenkhi, using the video to show half-ruined houses.
In the days after he made the statement, his house was burnt down and his wife and children were expelled from the Chechen republic. Reports from other village residents said that the area had been cordoned off by police while inhabitants were quizzed to reveal Dzhalaldinov's whereabouts, the Kommersant newspaper reported.
Other Kenkhi residents expressed their support for Kadyrov by writing a letter to Putin, apologizing for Dzhalaldinov's behavior. The letter called Dzhalaldinov uneducated and asked the President not to consider his statements as the views of all residents, the Interfax news agency reported.
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov denied that the village had been cordoned off and accused Dzhalaldinov of burning his own house down in order to receive asylum in Europe.
His tone softened after receiving the recorded apologies, with Kadyrov writing on his Instagram account that 'anyone can make a mistake.' He said that he was happy that Dzhalaldinov had finally “reached the path of truth.”
“From the beginning, I understood that some ill force wanted to use Ramazan Dzhalaldinov for their own dirty ends. He came under a psychological attack to intimidate him and to convince him that there was a real threat to his life and his family's safety. They tried to make him leave his native Chechnya and go to the West,” he said.
Chechnya will provide care and support to Dzhalaldinov when he returns to Kenkhi, Kadyrov added.