This week marks the tenth anniversary of Ramzan Kadyrov’s reign in Chechnya. Commemorating his decade in power, which he says “flew by in the blink of an eye,” Kadyrov wrote on Instagram that his republic is one of the most stable regions not just in Russia, but in the entire world.
It would take volumes to capture the full experience of Kadyrov’s time in office — Chechnya’s rampant human rights abuses, the government’s harassment of journalists and activists, Kadyrov’s bizarre visibility on social media — but this text is limited to a look at ten of his most memorable public statements. Remembering these outlandish remarks, you get a quick sense of what the last ten years in Chechnya have been all about.
Where men are men, and women are not men
“In Chechnya today, we’ve got more women than men, but they all need to find their station in life. Our customs and our religion allow polygamy. On the other hand, if a young [unmarried] woman or a divorced woman is spotted [with a man], then her brother kills her and the man. We have very strict customs. It’s better for a woman to be a second or third wife than to be killed. That’s why I’m certain that we need polygamy today. There’s no such law, but I say to everyone: if you have the desire and the opportunity, you should take a second wife.”
“Hold up. Behave like Chechens. A family's honor is the most important thing. Don’t write such things. Men, take your women away from WhatsApp.”
—May 2015, responding to rumors spreading on WhatsApp about the marriage of a 17-year-old Chechen woman to an already-married 47-year-old police captain.
“I say, if women are going to work half-naked, then that’s not a job for men. I’d be staring at them day and night, wondering how I could ‘why hello there’ to each of them, and for me thoughts about work would be the last thing on my mind.”
Loving Vladimir Putin
“My idol is [Vladimir] Putin. I want him to be the president as long as he lives. I love him very much, as a man loves a man. He is a man of his word; he brought peace to Chechnya. We were in the hands of bandits, and the alcoholic [Boris] Yeltsin bombed us. Those who criticize Putin are not human — they are my personal enemies.”
“I declare with full conviction that the person who gets it in their head to utter a threat against Russia and speak the name of our president, Vladimir Putin, will be destroyed where they stand.”
Damn the Internet
“Every home has the Internet. Anyone can log on and listen to the sermon of some random Wahhabist. There was a time when I dreamed that the Internet would work across our republic, but now I’m in favor of turning it off.”
What is Russia?
“In my personal opinion, sharia is above the laws of the Russian Federation.”
“I am Russia and Russia is me.”
Yankees, go home
“If the United States is against you, it means you’re on the right track.”
Just a boy’s dream
“I never wanted to become president. I always wanted to become a hero to the nation.”