Chechen leader’s 16-year-old son named trustee at special forces university

By Thomson Reuters Apr 28, 2024 | 10:59 PM

(Reuters) – Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said on Sunday that he named his teenage son, who was shown beating a prisoner in custody last year, a trustee of the Russian University of Special Forces named after President Vladimir Putin.

Adam Kadyrov, who turned 16 in November, was appointed last year as his father’s top bodyguard and an observer in a new battalion that is part of Russia’s defence ministry forces.

“He is closely familiar with the activities of the famous university, so I believe that he will cope with his assigned responsibilities perfectly,” Kadyrov wrote in a statement on the Telegram messaging app.

He added that the nomination came after a request by the head of the university, which is located in Gudermes, a town in Chechnya. Russia’s private educational institution provides professional training for special units.

In September, the younger Kadyrov was shown in a social media video posted by his father punching and kicking a prisoner accused of burning the Koran. The prisoner, Nikita Zhuravel, has since been sentenced for three and a half years.

Kadyrov said he was proud of the boy for defending his Muslim religion, but the beating incident drew criticism even from pro-Kremlin hardliners.

Kadyrov enjoys wide leeway from Putin to run Chechnya as his personal fiefdom in return for ensuring the stability of the region, which fought two separatist wars with Moscow after the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Kadyrov has ruled Chechnya, a federal republic of Russia, since 2007 and has sent thousands of his fighters to Ukraine since the start of Russia’s invasion in February 2022.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Lisbon; Editing by Michael Perry)