The much feared president of Chechnya, who rules the republic with an iron fist and even a private militia, loves cats, baking and working out, if you look at his Instagram account.
Ramzan Kadyrov, a former rebel leader who became president in 2007 with the support of Vladimir Putin, is described by one magazine as having the “mindset of an adolescent” combined with “the morals of a mafia hit man.” His militia is accused of involvement in the murder and disappearance of several of his political opponents and critics. Human rights groups have accused him of brutal repression.
You wouldn’t know it by the photos he posts almost daily on Instagram. Since officially joining the photo sharing site in November last year (he had an account before under a pseudonym), he has accrued nearly 134,000 followers and posted 677 photos. Among the fairly standard official photos of Kadyrov at work, there are family shots at dinner and many posts with animals. Kadyrov told the Russian 24 news channel he preferred Instagram over Twitter because it allowed him to communicate instantaneously with the people of Chechnya and Chechens as far away as Norway. He says his celebrity friends convinced him to get an account.
But his social media activity is not just about his work. The Chechen leader likes the company of celebrities. He has posted several photos with the Russian born rapper Timati who has worked with P.Diddy and Timbaland. And Timati posted his own Instagram photo of the two of them checking out photos on Kadyrov’s phone.
Kadyrov’s photos also show a man who has not neglected his domestic side. In one gallery of photos, he is baking bread. The caption reads: “I made Borscht and bread in the traditional way. I am waiting to entertain guests for dinner.”
In another post, he appears to be clearing leaves in the garden. The caption reads: “I spent the evening in the garden, tending to the trees. Now is the most important time to protect the fruit producing trees from insects.”
Kadyrov also posts photographs of himself working out and in one posting, he boxes with his sports minister. (Can’t imagine who won that bout.)
Kadyrov’s posts indicate a close friendship with a Russian TV presenter based in Moscow named Tina Kandelaki. In one exchange Wednesday on Twitter after Kadyrov posted a picture of himself with a cat, Kandelaki tweeted: “You have the best cat in the world. Even on the subject of cats you turned out to be the most innovative.” He responds: “Thank you! My cat has started to smile and purr, upon hearing the kind words from your lips.”