Chechen leader makes social network splash

Feb 22, 2013
One Comment

What does an autocrat do with his spare time when he’s not busy stamping out the embers of rebellion? Apparently, he posts pictures of himself holding fuzzy baby chickens, donning historic military garb, or cuddling with a tiger.

 

 Horses don’t annoy you with talk of your human rights abuses.

Chechnya’s iron-fisted leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, did something like that on the photo-sharing service Instagram, according to a statement by the Chechen government. Under the account name kadyrov_95, the 36-year-old politician has posted 81 photos and has 3,883 followers. The statement from the Russia-friendly Chechen government says Kadyrov personally comments on the photos and has nothing to do with any other social network accounts, except his page on Twitter, @RKadyrov.

But for several months, there was a more interesting Instagram site, called alihan777, that had more than 300 photos of the Chechen leader’s quirky and extravagant lifestyle, The Telegraph reports.

The snapshots featured Kadyrov with top Russian politicians such as President Vladimir Putin, businessmen, and celebrities. The Instagram account also shows animal-loving Kadyrov cradling a newborn chick, playfully chasing an ostrich, and curling up with a live tiger.

That account’s access has been blocked, but not before its images were copied and shared across the Internet. Some can be viewed in this Radio Free Europe feature. The authenticity of the account would seem to have been verified by Kadyrov himself, who tweeted a link to a picture from the old Instagram account.


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Transitions Online

Transitions Online (www.tol.org) is an Internet magazine that covers political, social, cultural, and economic issues in the former communist countries of Europe and Central Asia. The magazine has a strong network of local contributors, who provide valuable insight into events in the region’s 29 countries.
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