Chechnya’s gay purge leader Ramzan Kadyrov is ‘ready’ to leave office
Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Chechnya who has overseen a horrifying gay purge, has said he is ready to step down.
More than 100 gay and bi men have been arrested, imprisoned, and tortured by authorities in concentration camps since the purge began earlier this year.
Despite international pressure, reports indicate that the camps are still in operation, and that it is likely dozens of men have been killed.
Kadyrov, who has consistently denied that the existence of a purge, has spent the intervening period spouting hateful homophobic rhetoric.
He told HBO that he and his autonomous region of Russia “don’t have any gays. If there are any, take them to Canada.”
He continued: “Take them far from us so we don’t have them at home. To purify our blood, if there are any here, take them.
“They are devils. They are for sale. They are not people.”
The brutal leader was asked by Russia-1, a state TV channel, if he was prepared to resign.
Kadyrov, who has ruled over Chechnya since 2007, responded: “It is possible to say that it is my dream.
“Once there was a need for people like me to fight, to put things in order,” he continued, according to The Guardian.
“Now we have order and prosperity … and time has come for changes in the Chechen Republic.”
When questioned about who he would like to see take over, he said: “This is the prerogative of the state leadership.
“If I am asked … there are several people who are 100 percent capable of carrying out these duties at the highest level,” he added.
His unforeseen declaration was made in the midst of speculation that President Vladimir Putin will announce a run for a fourth term as president in next year’s elections.
And Kadyrov said later in the broadcast that Putin was his “idol,” adding: “I am ready to die for him, to fulfil any order.”
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Russian government, held his cards close to his chest, telling Reuters today that Kadyrov “didn’t say anything different, and that’s what we’re going on.
“Ramzan continues to remain the current head of the republic.”
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It can only be hoped that Kadyrov will exit and be replaced by a less vicious figurehead.
Journalists who exposed the purge were forced into hiding as they have received numerous threats from the largest mosque in the region, which has declared jihad against the newspaper.
And a number of heart-breaking stories from the region have been shared, including stories of parents of gay people who were issued a warning to kill their children before police killed them in torture camps.