05/25/2022, 09.28
RUSSIA
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Champion boxer given lavish wedding while population mourns war dead

by Vladimir Rozanskij

In Chechnya, the population mourns those killed in the conflict in Ukraine. Instead, leader Kadyrov authorises a lavish wedding for martial arts champion Chimaev. In the ongoing war, local youth are used as "cannon fodder".

Moscow (AsiaNews) - In Chechnya, the lavish wedding of the world champion and naturalised martial arts fighter Khamzat Chimaev, a close friend of President Ramzan Kadyrov, was celebrated. The celebration was particularly jarring against the backdrop of national mourning for the many young Chechen soldiers who lose their lives every day in Ukraine, where they are often the 'cannon fodder' of the Russian army.

Throughout the republic, receptions that are too noisy and that gather more than 50 guests have been discouraged. The number of people present at the sportsman's banquet is not officially known, but it was certainly not a discreet event, so much so that it was described in some media as 'the most expensive wedding party in Russia'. For the bride and groom's procession, the authorities closed off the central streets of the capital Groznyj, and Kadyrov himself proudly recounted that 'not only the relatives and those closest to them, but also many friends and admirers' were invited to the wedding ceremony.

The president attended the reception organised at the Parus restaurant, where, according to his words on the social media site Vkontakte, 'everything was organised magnificently, according to national traditions, and I am very satisfied with this gathering'. Videos of the motorcade in the city show several dozen limousines and large cars, escorted by helicopters and military armoured vehicles; the lunch was also attended by Chechen Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov, republican head of the vigilantes Idris Cherkhigov, deputy premier of the local government Abuzaid Vismuradov, and other prominent politicians and businessmen from the Caucasian republic.

According to Telegram channels of Kadyrov's opponents, the Regional Social Support Foundation named after Akhmat Kadyrov, the former president and father of the current one, offered Chimaev's wedding. The wrestler had met the president a few days before the ceremony, after winning a decisive bout with Brazilian Gilbert Berns for the Ufc championship, the International Martial Arts Federation, in which he had hoisted himself onto the podium of his category, remaining undefeated in 11 fights. This victory was extolled by Kadyrov as a wish and inspiration for the ultimate success of the invasion of Ukraine.

The Chechen-Swedish champion has already received a lot of criticism for his proximity to the leader of Chechnya, who has been hit by western sanctions. So far, however, the Ufc has taken no action against him. Next 20 August a challenge with the popular US wrestler Nate Diaz is scheduled, which will take on even more symbolic meanings than the conflict in Ukraine.

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