Kadyrov offers resignation
Kadyrov, 41, has been accused of ordering arbitrary arrests and torture of opponents, members of the gay community and hardline political declarations that have embarrassed President Vladimir Putin.
But some observers say the strongman leader of the past decade has no intention of quitting and was primarily seeking public affirmation from the Kremlin.
Kadyrov was groomed by the Kremlin for his role after his father’s 2004 murder.
A former rebel who has led Chechnya since 2007, he was endorsed by Putin in March 2016 to continue in the role, while being told that Russian law must be strictly enforced in the majority-Muslim republic.
Kadyrov made similar offers to resign in the past which went nowhere. He was re-elected last year for a five-year term after Putin gave his personal blessing for him to continue.
Kadyrov told Rossiya 1 national television.: “It is possible to say that it is my dream [to resign].”
Amid footage of him firing weapons, boxing, riding a horse and strolling around lavish gardens and buildings, he said: “Once there was a need for people like me to fight, to put things in order. Now we have order and prosperity … and time has come for changes in the Chechen Republic.
“If I am asked … there are several people who are 100-per-cent capable of carrying out these duties at the highest level.”
Putin is expected to announce that he will run for his fourth term as president in the spring.
It has been suggested by some Kremlin observers that the 65-year-old’s association with Kadyrov may be exploited by opponents during the election campaign.
The former KGB spy has started clearing out the old Russian political elite to bring in younger leaders in a process that has seen some regional bosses pressured to resign.
Chechnya was destroyed by two wars with pro-independence insurgents and has been rebuilt thanks to generous financial handouts from Moscow. It remains one of Russia’s most heavily subsidised regions.
The interview could have been a means to put pressure on Moscow to win concessions on federal financing as the Grozny government moves toward adopting a state budget for the next three years.
Calling Putin his “idol”, Kadyrov told the broadcaster: “I am ready to die for him, to fulfill any order.”
Chechnya’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Picture credit: Kremlin