Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has ceded power as head of the southern Russian region due to a “temporary disability,” according to a decree on the regional government’s website dated Monday.
Kadyrov, 43, announced a similar brief transfer of power in February 2019, later explaining that he was recovering from a common cold.
“I entrust the duties of the head of the republic of Chechnya to head of government Muslim Khuchiyev for the period of my temporary disability,” Kadyrov wrote in the latest decree.
Kadyrov is “undergoing treatment requiring medical procedures,” his spokesman Alvi Karimov told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency Thursday.
Karimov explained that temporary transfers of power are “a common practice used in all regions” across Russia.
News of the Chechen leader’s Jan. 13 announcement began circulating Wednesday, when Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev unexpectedly announced his cabinet’s resignation to allow President Vladimir Putin enact constitutional amendments he had announced earlier in the day.
Kadyrov has ruled Chechnya, which was devastated by two bloody separatist conflicts in the 1990s and early 2000s, since he was formally appointed its leader in 2007.
Critics accuse him of carving out a state within a state, enforcing a strict Islamic “code of virtue” for women and committing human rights abuses including systemic torture and extrajudicial killings.