Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 4.14.57 PM

Chechnya’s Instagram President: Brutal Dictator or Gentle Cat Lover?

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.

The President and the Rapper


With the Russian rapper Timati

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.”

Making bread. “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 working in the garden and flying a model plane

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.)

Boxing with his Sports Minister

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.”

With Tina Kandelaki

Twitter exchange about cats between Kadyrov and Kandelaki


Respond Now
Activists of the Right Sector movement and their supporters gather outside the parliament building to demand the immediate resignation of Internal Affairs Minister Arsen Avakov, in Kiev March 27, 2014. A prominent Ukrainian far-right activist, part of a hard-line nationalist movement that played a leading role in the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovich, was shot dead by police overnight, authorities said on March 25. The Interior Ministry said Oleksander Muzychko, also known as Sashko Bily, was killed by officers of the 'Sokol' special unit as he tried to escape from a cafe in the western Ukrainian region of Rivne. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR3IWHV

Organizing a Right-Wing Ukrainian Militia? There’s an App for That

Rachael Levy
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila sit in front of the Taj Mahal while touring city of Agra October 4, 2000. Building on the first day of a visit aimed at rekindling Soviet-era amity, Putin told India's parliament that ties with New Delhi would remain a key element of Moscow's foreign policy. - RTXK1TW

Meet the Putins

Vocativ Staff
Shoppers walk past an advertising billboard for shoes in the central business district (CBD) of Beijing November 3, 2008. A measure of Chinese manufacturing activity showed factory output shrank sharply in October in the face of waning orders, while officials pledged further steps to boost domestic demand to keep the economy from slowing too much. Capital controls and the relative conservatism of China's banks have largely insulated the world's fourth-largest economy from direct hits from the global financial crisis, but its reliance on exports to the United States and Europe makes it vulnerable to a drop-off in Western demand.    REUTERS/David Gray    (CHINA) - RTXA6ZX

New Strike Breaks Out at China Factory That Michael Jordan Made Famous

Versha Sharma
Snoop Fancy

Living a Snoop Dogg-Curated Life

Emily Levy

Brazil’s By-The-Hour Love Hotels

Ramon Iriarte
Lionel Gonzalez (16) dreams of crossing the border and reunite with his family in Denver, Colorado. In the background dowtown El Paso

Teens Caught in Cartels’ Trafficking Crossfire

Jan-Albert Hootsen
Ana Paula Maciel Playboy 05

Greenpeace’s Brazilian Playboy Jailbird

Mac Margolis
NASA Selfies 01

NASA Spaces Out Its Social Media Orbit

Emily Levy
Join the Fray
Grounded! Teen Girl Exiled by Virginia Parents to Siberia