- His government set up concentration camps for LGBT+ people to ‘purge’ Chechnya.
Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Chechnya’s viciously anti-LGBT+ government, is in hospital in Moscow with coronavirus symptoms.
Russian state news agencies RIA Novosti and Tass both claim to have confirmed the news from medical sources.
Tass’ source said: ‘Ramzan Kadyrov has been brought to Moscow by plane with suspected coronavirus. He is currently under medical observation.’
However, one of his allies, Akhmed Dudayev, head of Chechnya’s state-run TV channel, insisted on Instagram that Kadyrov continues ‘personal control’ of the country.
How Chechnya carried out its LGBT+ purge
Russian President Vladimir Putin installed Kadyrov as leader of the Chechen Republic in 2007. The region is a subject of the Russian Federation.
Under his leadership, Chechnya has become one of the most dangerous places in the world to be LGBT+.
He tends to rule the country with traditional Islamic social codes, even if these contravene Russian law. Meanwhile Putin has failed to stop him abusing human rights.
The news of a gay purge in Chechnya first broke in 2017.
Investigations revealed Chechen authorities had opened six ‘concentration camps’ across the country for gay men. They rounded up around 100 men in the first wave.
The atrocities included a man strapped to a homemade electric chair and beaten with a hose. Guards beat prisoners to get them to reveal the names of other LGBT+ people.
It later became clear that the police were encouraging families to carry out ‘honor killings’ of LGBT+ members.
Authorities rounded up another group of men in a further wave of the purge in late 2018.
The Russian LGBT+ Network raised the alarm again early in 2019. It prompted people around the world, including GSN readers, to raise money to evacuate LGBT+ people from the country.
It’s not clear how serious Kadyrov’s illness is, although news site Baza reported his lungs have suffered damage. He has no clear successor as leader of the Chechen Republic.
He previously played down concerns about coronavirus saying:
‘They are afraid that it comes [to them] and they’ll die. Don’t be in a rush, you’ll die anyway. Don’t try to die before your time.’