Kadyrov's health and what is at stake in Chechnya
The fate of the Grozny strongman, whose militias are on the front line of the war in Ukraine, continues to hold sway in Russia despite the (uncertainly dated) videos circulated to deny that he is in serious health condition. Chechnya is neuralgic for political balances throughout the Federation.
Moscow (AsiaNews) - The topic that holds the most attention on Russian social networks, after the summer epic of the disappearance of Yevgeny Prigozhin, is the fate of the other prominent figure of these two years of warlike ardor, the president of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov.
Like the former "Putin's cook", the Caucasian leader represents the extremist wing of politics and the army, which would like to exterminate all the "Ukrainian Nazis" reaching the borders of Poland.
His attackers known as the Kadyrovtsy have been on the front line since the beginning of the invasion, sowing blood and terror as they did in previous years against the Islamists of ISIS in Syria, also to claim the true Caucasian "Muslim orthodoxy", a mirror of the patriarchal one of Muscovite Kirill.
Rumors about Kadyrov's serious health conditions have been circulating for months, similarly to those about Vladimir Putin's own illnesses. Last February, photographs circulated in which Groznyj's head appeared severely swollen, and in March there was talk of the arrival in Chechnya of a famous doctor from the United Arab Emirates, a kidney disease specialist, news that also ended up on the pages of the German newspaper Bild.
In the summer the rumors had calmed down, only to resume recently after Kadyrov recorded a video appeal addressed to the USA and the West, with the request to lift the sanctions imposed on his mother, suspected of covering up the illicit affairs of her son, the president of 'abroad.
In the video Kadyrov made a strange impression, threatening terrible revenge for his mother's persecution and calling Europeans "beasts who lead an idiot's life", but swaying unnaturally, and without removing the lower part of the bodice on his torso.
According to some sources, Kadyrov is even hospitalized in the Central Clinic in Moscow, around which several men and surveillance vehicles can be seen, trying not to create too much commotion, keeping the situation quiet.
Meanwhile, on September 10, the Bčk-Ogpu Telegram channel had claimed that Kadyrov had savagely killed his doctor and Chechen deputy prime minister Elkhan Suleymanov, suspected of attempting to poison him.
The story is sensational, but it would also have rather plausible confirmation, due to public accusations made by Kadyrov due to the worsening of his health conditions, and due to the disappearance of Suleymanov after the news, no one ever saw him again.
Suleymanov is a distinguished specialist in surgery and oncology, who had worked in Germany and Moscow, and since 2014 had practically placed himself at the exclusive service of Kadyrov's family, also becoming Minister of Health and Deputy Prime Minister.
In Groznyj he also opened his own specialized centre, the Respublikanskij Onkodispanser, where there is no further news of him.
On September 15, however, the news of his death was overtaken by that of Kadyrov's alleged hospitalization in hospital, spread by the Ukrainian services and supported by many bloggers and various sites, who claim that the head of Chechnya is in a coma, or even already deceased.
Neither confirmations nor denials are coming from Moscow, and the issue is occupying the information scene more than Prigožin's daring final adventure.
Videos have therefore appeared in which Kadyrov reassures him of his health and curses all those who rage against him and his family, but these also raise doubts about their authenticity or dating.
The fact is that Kadyrov's death could provoke rather turbulent reactions, much more than Prigozhin's death itself; some commentators write that "the Putin dictatorship began in Chechnya and could end in Chechnya, just as the war in Ukraine began in Crimea and could end in Crimea", where the Kadyrovtsy are the main fighters in countering Kiev's counteroffensive.
Chechnya is in fact a crucial terrain for the political balance of the entire Russian Federation, and for keeping the push for independence in check not only in the Caucasus, but in all the regions and ethnic groups dominated by the Russians. And Kadyrov's personality is closely linked to that of President Putin, so his uncertain fate could shake the entire Kremlin caste.
Photo: Flickr / Clay Gilliland