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Tatarstan Head Awards Kadyrov’s Son After Row Over Detainee Beating

Adam Kadyrov meets with Rustam Minnikhanov.

The head of Russia’s republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov awarded the teenage son of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov with his region's second-highest ranking, Kadyrov’s ally Adam Delimkhanov said Tuesday. 

Minnikhanov presented the Duslyk (“friendship” in Tatar) Order to 15-year-old Adam Kadyrov during an official visit to Chechnya’s capital Grozny, as seen in a video posted online by Delimkhanov. 

The award, as shown in the video, was presented in recognition of the younger Kadyrov's “contribution to strengthening interethnic and interfaith peace and harmony.” 

Despite being publicized by Delimkhanov, who is a deputy in Russia's lower-chamber State Duma, the news of the award was not published on Minnikhanov’s official website or social media accounts.

Minnikhanov’s visit to Grozny comes just days after Tatarstan State Council deputy Azat Khamaev publicly criticized Ramzan Kadyrov for awarding his son with the title of the Hero of the Chechen Republic after he was filmed beating a teenager detained on charges of burning the Quran.

“What legal field do we exist in? The head of a region of the Russian Federation awards the title of a Hero to his son for beating up a man. Then… he says that [the son] is the hero of all Muslims. Who can explain [what’s going on]?” Khamaev said during a parliamentary meeting. 

Khamaev later apologized for his statement, saying it was a “personal opinion that wasn’t backed by fellow colleagues.”

Minnikhanov, too, was quick to note that Khamaev’s statement “has nothing to do with the position of the republic’s Muslims.” 

Tatar political analyst Ruslan Aysin told The Moscow Times that the award presented by Minnikhanov was a “clear attempt to smooth things over” with Chechnya's Kadyrov following the controversy. 

“This was a purely personal thing because Minnikhanov and Kadyrov have a friendly familial relationship… they also call each other sworn brothers,” said Aysin. 

However, the analyst believes that Khamaev’s public condemnation was hardly a slip of the tongue and may in fact be a sign of deepening divisions among elites in Tatarstan.

“He is too experienced of a person… who understands well where the lines are drawn and what is allowed to be said,” Aysin explained. 

“I think there are disagreements within the Tatarstani elites, especially given that Khamaev is a nephew of [Tatarstan’s first president] Mintimer Shaimiev.”

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