What do Chechens in Kazakhstan Think about Rumors about Kadyrov

cover Video: CHGTRK \\”Grozny\\\"

Rumors have been circulating about the alleged health problems or even the death of the Chechen Republic’s leader, Ramzan Kadyrov. Orda.kz looked into the situation.

The first reports about Kadyrov's condition appeared on September 15 in the Chechen opposition Telegram channel NYISO. Further publications hinted that the power in the republic was gradually being taken over by Magomed Daudov, a former militant who received the title of Hero of Russia, ex-head of Kadyrov's administration, and now the speaker of the Chechen parliament, nicknamed Lord.

Another factor came into play. The Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense that Ramzan Kadyrov is in the Central Clinical Hospital of the Presidential Administration of Russia – the best and most closed clinic in the country. Unlike other visitors, Chechens are not subjected to inspections at the checkpoint, according to sources of the Telegram channel of the VCHK-OGPU. They also report that there are more and more cars with state registration plates from Chechnya.

No Smoke without Fire?

This information seemed believable. Indeed, in recent months Kadyrov has seldom made public appearances. His website says that Kadyrov has been on paid leave since July 3. The Kadyrov’s swollen appearance also seemingly confirmed rumors. Meetings with his participation may have been recorded in advance and several at once, while the head of Chechnya was able to participate in the filming.

"Vyorstka" analyzed Kadyrov’s latest flights via personal plane to Moscow. Flights with the ID number RA-73417 were made on September 6, 9 and 15. Moreover, in a number of them, the aircraft's geolocation sensors were turned off during the flight.

On Sunday, September 17, Kadyrov's Telegram channel posted a video of the Chechen leader walking along an alley on a rainy day. Calls for prayer to the mosque can be heard in the background. The weather in the Republic’s capital, Grozny, on that day matched the weather in the video.

I strongly advise everyone who cannot distinguish truth from lies on the Internet to take a walk in the fresh air, sort their thoughts. The rain invigorates perfectly,  says the caption to the video.

At the same time, it is not possible to establish the video’s authenticity. Other videos on the channel are related to the Akhmat battalion's supposed successes on the Ukrainian front.

Later Leonid Nevzlin claimed on "X" (formerly Twitter) that Kadyrov had passed, though a video in Kadyrov's Telegram appeared. The Chechen leader says that he is not ill and is not dying in it. Kadyrov claims that his uncle, Magomed Abdulhamidovich Kadyrov, who is in the Moscow Central Committee, is the one that is ill. 

What Do Kazakhstani Chechens Say?

An Orda correspondent has contacted the head of the Association for the Development of Culture of the Chechen, Ingush peoples "Vainakh" in Almaty, Akhmet Muradov. He said that he had no information about Ramzan Kadyrov's health, but his relatives and friends in Chechnya had no concerns about this.

The Diaspora cannot know more than what is published in the press. Naturally, we check with acquaintances, friends, relatives who we know. Everyone unequivocally states that there is nothing to worry about. This is disinformation, comments around a famous person. Someone has some sympathies, someone has other things. Today it is already a controlled process from different sides. As for Ramzan's health, apart from what one babka said, I can't say anything else, Muradov told Orda.kz .

There are now more than 33 thousand representatives of the Chechen people in Kazakhstan. They ended up in the republic in 1944 because of the Kremlin's decision to deport them. According to various estimates, 500-600 thousand Chechens and Ingush were deported. During the deportation, 140 thousand people died. The Chechen-Ingush ASSR was restored four years after Stalin's death in 1957. Representatives of the two ethnic groups later began to gradually return to their homeland.

The second wave of migration from Chechnya to Kazakhstan took place in the 1990s, when Moscow launched its "Operation to restore constitutional order”, i.e. the onset of the first Chechen War. After the Chechen forces’ successful 1996 counter offensive that led to the recapturing of the Chechen capital, Grozny, from Russian forces, Boris Yeltsin’s government declared a ceasefire and a peace treaty was later signed in 1997.

The Second Chechen War started in 1999 after Islamist fighters from Chechnya led by Shamil Basayev and Ibn al-Khattab infiltrated Russia’s Dagestan region and subsequent apartment building bombings in Russian cities. Russian authorities quickly laid the blame for said bombings on the so-called Chechen separatists despite no one from the former’s ranks taking responsibility. On April 20, 2000, the first Deputy chief of the Russian General Staff, Valery Manilov, announced that large-scale hostilities in Chechnya had ended.

Moscow’s subsequent “Anti-Terrorist Operation” officially ended in 2009, thus, this in tandem with large-scale hostilities ending perhaps explain why many Chechens returned to their homeland in the 2000s from Kazakhstan. Chechens have not forgotten about Kazakh hospitality. Contacts between Chechnya and Kazakhstan remain at a high level.

Kazakhstan is such a very kind, friendly territory for Chechnya and for Chechens. It is also cultivated in Chechnya itself. We have exchanges on sports, education, science, culture," says one of the leaders of the Association "Vainakh".

What's Really Going on?

Alexey Venediktov, the former head of Echo of Moscow Radio, said that Ramzan Kadyrov has "typical severe renal impairment" and needs frequent renal hemodialysis.

Ababubakar Yangulbayev, one of the main representatives of the Chechen opposition and a human rights activist abroad, wrote in his Telegram channel that Kadyrov was dead.

His brother Ibrahim Yangulbayev, in an interview with the TV channel "Vsyo", expressed the opinion that information about Kadyrov's health status is disinformation created by the "Kadyrovites themselves".

In this case, Kadyrov wanted PR, made disinformation. Unfortunately, Ukraine’s HUR has distributed it. Perhaps some HUR staff member was monitoring Chechen opposition Telegram channels, found out from there that Kadyrov was dead, passed this information to the authorities, they published it, and the Ukrainian media and politicians picked it up, Yangulbayev said.

The Russian President’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov on September 18 commented on the rumors about Kadyrov's health.

We don't have any information. In any case, the presidential administration can hardly comment on the state of his health. Therefore, we have nothing to say here, Peskov said.

There are also rumors that Ramzan Kadyrov may go to the United Arab Emirates for treatment, yet reliable information has not surfaced.

Ramzan Kadyrov has been in power longer than any of the leaders of the Russian regions - since 2007. Some accuse him of building a harsh dictatorship in Chechnya, others attach the republic's restoration after years of warfare to his presidency.