Salem Radio Network News Wednesday, December 6, 2023


Kremlin won’t comment on beating of prisoner by Kadyrov’s teenage son

LONDON (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman refused to comment on Tuesday on the beating of a prisoner by the teenaged son of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, an incident that drew condemnation even from some pro-Kremlin hardliners.

Kadyrov said on Monday he was proud of his son Adam, 15, for the attack on Nikita Zhuravel, a Russian man accused of burning the Koran, and posted a video of the beating.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters at the start of his daily briefing that he would not be commenting on the incident. When asked why, he said: “I don’t want to.”

In the video posted by Kadyrov, a young man was shown punching and kicking another man cowering in a chair, before wrestling him to the ground and slapping him on the head.

“Without exaggeration, yes, I am proud of Adam’s action,” wrote Kadyrov, who styles himself as a ruthless Putin ally. He said he respected the boy for acquiring “adult ideals of honour, dignity and defence of his religion”.

The Muslim region of Chechnya fought two separatist wars with Russia after the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991. Kadyrov, son of a former rebel who switched sides to back the Kremlin, has been given generous funding from Putin and free rein to rule the territory as his personal fiefdom in return for ensuring its stability and loyalty to Moscow.

But the beating of a defenceless ethnic Russian prisoner in custody by Kadyrov’s own son – and the fact that Kadyrov saw it as a source of pride – are potentially embarrassing for the Kremlin.

“To call a spade a spade, what happened was illegal,” wrote Rybar, a war blog with 1.2 million subscribers that supports and provides running commentary on Putin’s war in Ukraine.

Another such channel, Grey Zone, said what happened was an outrage.

Russia’s investigative committee said in May that the prisoner, Zhuravel, had been arrested for setting fire to a Koran in the city of Volgograd and had confessed he did it in return for payment from Ukrainian intelligence. It was not clear under what circumstances the alleged confession was made.

Although the alleged crime was not committed in Chechnya, the investigative committee said it transferred Zhuravel to authorities there because numerous Chechens had requested, as Muslims, to be recognised as victims of his action.

The beating was first reported in August, when Zhuravel complained about it to Russia’s human rights ombudswoman, who said she had referred the issue to her counterpart in Chechnya.

Abbas Gallyamov, a former Kremlin speechwriter who is now a harsh critic of Putin and has been designated a “foreign agent”, said Kadyrov’s behaviour was problematic for the Russian president.

“No matter how idiotic the Volgograd resident who burned the Koran may be, he is still an ethnic Russian, and now it turns out that Putin is ready to hand over a Russian to be devoured by the Chechens. Naturally, the majority of Russians really won’t like this,” he wrote on messaging app Telegram.

(Reporting by Mark Trevelyan)


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