Ramzan Kadyrov (pictured), the rabidly anti-gay leader of Chechnya, is hospitalized with possibly severe COVID-19 symptoms in Moscow, according to reports.
Kadyrov is responsible for the systematic detention, torture, and killing of gay men in the Russian Federation republic.
The Guardian reports: The news was reported by two Russian state news agencies, RIA Novosti and Tass, both citing a “source in medical circles”. If true, it would mark the most significant illness of a Russian official so far in the Covid-19 pandemic. Kadyrov has become a singular figure in his native Chechnya, where he was installed by Vladimir Putin in 2007 in order to quell a simmering insurgency. He has since turned the region into a personal fiefdom, developing a powerful national guard and a cult of personality. He has no clear successor. … Kadyrov’s illness was first reported by the digital news outlet Baza, which had previously correctly revealed that prime minister Mikhail Mishustin had fallen ill. According to the news outlet, Kadyrov was flown to “one of [Moscow’s] best clinics” on Wednesday after his flu-like symptoms suddenly deteriorated. Baza reported there had been damage to his lungs.
Kadyrov once famously denied allegations about his anti-gay purges in Chechnya by claiming there are no LGBT people in the republic.
“This is nonsense,” Kadyrov said. “We don’t have those kinds of people here. We don’t have any gays. If there are any, take them to Canada. Praise be to god. Take them far from us so we don’t have them at home. To purify our blood, if there are any here, take them.”
In March, Kadyrov said people with COVID-19 who don’t self-quaratine “should be killed.” At the same time, he has also downplayed concerns about the virus.
“People are losing sleep because a disease appeared in China … they are afraid they’ll get it and they’ll die. Don’t be in a rush, you’ll die anyway. Don’t try to die before your time,” Kadyrov has said.
Earlier this month, HBO unveiled the trailer for Welcome to Chechnya, a David France documentary about anti-gay atrocities under Kadyrov’s regime. Watch it below.