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Chechnya's Kadyrov Suffering From Pancreatic Necrosis – Novaya Gazeta Europe

Ramzan Kadyrov.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has been living with a diagnosis of pancreatic necrosis for more than five years, the independent news website Novaya Gazeta Europe reported Monday, citing anonymous sources at the Moscow presidential hospital where he was allegedly treated.

His deteriorating condition has reportedly prompted the Kremlin to start working on a succession plan to maintain stability in the North Caucasus republic.

Unverified claims circulating on social media last fall said that Kadyrov was suffering from kidney problems, prompting him to appear in carefully orchestrated videos in an attempt to dispel the rumors.

According to Novaya Gazeta Europe, doctors initially diagnosed Kadyrov with acute pancreatic necrosis — a serious condition that can lead to death — in January 2019.

The following month, Kadyrov announced via decree that he had briefly ceded powers to the regional parliament speaker “for the period of my temporary disability” without disclosing his illness. He issued another decree on a similarly brief transfer of power in January 2020. 

Novaya Gazeta Europe reported that Kadyrov’s health started rapidly deteriorating in the spring of 2022, forcing him to miss a number of televised appearances and raising suspicion about his periodic absence from the public eye.

In September 2023, Novaya Europe said Kadyrov was hospitalized at Moscow's elite Central Clinical Hospital for about a month with acute pulmonary failure after overdosing on sleeping pills that reportedly helped him relieve the pain.

Though doctors were able to stabilize his respiratory function at the time, MRI findings reportedly led Kadyrov’s family to conclude that he would not be able to make a full recovery.

“The old leader will no longer be there, the illness will seriously affect him. Even if he recovers now, he’ll be neither alive nor dead,” Novaya Europe quoted a source close to Kadyrov ally Adam Delimkhanov as saying.

It was around that time that the Kremlin started working on a succession plan in case of Kadyrov’s passing, according to Novaya Europe.

Hours after the report’s publication, Kadyrov’s channel on the Telegram messaging app shared a 4-minute video of the Chechen leader discussing his region’s role in the war on Ukraine. The video cuts in and out of close-up shots of Kadyrov, who does not move his body and can be heard speaking with difficulty.

Officials have not commented on Novaya Gazeta Europe's report and its details could not be independently verified.

Kadyrov has ruled Chechnya, a Russian region in the North Caucasus that was devastated by two bloody wars between Moscow and separatist forces in the 1990s and early 2000s, with an iron fist since Putin formally appointed him in 2007.

Critics have accused Kadyrov of grave human rights abuses, including systemic torture and extrajudicial killings.

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