Chechen head Kadyrov plays down reports of terminal illness with gym video

Chechen head Ramzan Kadyrov has posted videos aiming to show him in good health after Novaya Gazeta Europe reported on Monday that he had been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Within hours of Novaya Gazeta Europe publishing an article reporting that Kadyrov had been suffering from pancreatic necrosis for several years, a video was posted on his Telegram channel showing him at a meeting with Chechen security forces.

In the video, Kadyrov speaks slowly as he discusses Chechnya’s role in the war in Ukraine. He looks straight ahead throughout and close-ups of the Chechen leader make up only 40 seconds of the four-minute-long video.

A second video was posted at 2am on Tuesday of Kadyrov working out in the gym. The video focuses on Kadyrov lifting weights, seemingly emphasising his good health. It is accompanied with a song with the following lyrics: “God willing, you’ll live forever.”

The Kremlin and Kadyrov’s team have made repeated efforts to show Kadyrov in good health in an attempt to dispel concerns about his health since he was placed in a temporary medically induced coma in September.

Kadyrov was first diagnosed with pancreatic necrosis in January 2019 and now the Kremlin appears to be looking for a successor. Rumoured to be considered for the job is Major General Apti Alaudinov, who was recently appointed deputy at the Main Directorate for Military and Political Work at the Defence Ministry.

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