This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has awarded the rank of military major general to the head of the North Caucasus republic of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov.
Kadyrovon July 23 posted a photograph of the president’s order on the VK social-media site and wrote that Putin had telephoned him personally to inform him of the decision.
“During the telephone call, the president himself read the order and congratulated me and wished me further successes,” Kadyrov wrote.
In 2009, then President Dmitry Medvedev awarded Kadyrov the rank of police major general. At the time, Kadyrov was 33 and the youngest major general in Russia.
In his July 23 social-media post, Kadyrov announced that he had been transferred from the Interior Ministry, which oversees the police, to the National Guard.
“I also express enormous gratitude to my dear BROTHER, the director of the [Federal Service of National Guard Forces] and the commander of the National Guard forces of the Russian Federation, Viktor Zolotov for authorizing my transfer from the [Interior Ministry] to the National Guard,” Kadyrov wrote.
Kadyrov has ruled Chechnya since 2007. A former Chechen militant who fought against Russian forces in the first Chechen war, Kadyrov has been accused by Russian and international rights activists of numerous human rights violations, including torture, kidnapping, disappearances, extrajudicial executions, and the assassination of personal and political enemies both in Russia and abroad.
On July 20, the United States levied additional targeted sanctions against Kadyrov, his wife, and his two daughters because of “his involvement in gross violations of human rights.” Washington had already imposed multiple layers of sanctions against Kadyrov and some of his associates in Chechnya.
“I have always said and again I repeat that I am a faithful soldier of our president,” Kadyrov wrote in his July 23 social-media post, “and I am ready to carry out any order of whatever complexity on any continent.”