Russia’s Putin reminds wayward Chechnya leader: I’m the boss

by Maria Tsvetkova and Christian Lowe  |  published on March 25, 2016

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) meets with Chechnya's leader Ramzan Kadyrov at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, in this December 10, 2015 file photo. REUTERS/Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/Kremlin/Files

MOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin has imposed the Kremlin’s writ on every corner of Russia except one: the Chechnya region whose leader Ramzan Kadyrov often pays little heed to the rules that govern the rest of the country.

Putin is now trying to rein Kadyrov in and reminding him who is boss, though alienating him would risk re-igniting an Islamist insurgency that he helped the Kremlin leader defeat.

A former Islamist rebel who has ruled the turbulent, mainly Muslim region in Russia’s North Caucasus since 2007, Kadyrov swears loyalty to Putin.

Those public expressions have helped Putin turn a blind eye to Kadyrov’s idiosyncrasies, which include enforcing a strict Islamic “code of virtue” and embarrassing the Kremlin with verbal attacks on opposition politicians, and methods against insurgents human rights groups see as rights abuses.

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