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Ramzan Kadyrov, the man behind Chechnya’s brutal gay purges, says people with coronavirus should be ‘killed’

Josh Milton March 26, 2020
Head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov said those quarantined with the coronavirus that break house arrest should be executed. (Yelena AfoninaTASS via Getty Images)

Head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov said those quarantined with the coronavirus that break house arrest should be executed. (Yelena AfoninaTASS via Getty Images)

Anyone who breaks coronavirus quarantine should be executed, says Chechnya leader, Ramzan Kadyrov.

The president of the Russian republic – who oversaw a brutal crackdown on LGBT+ people in Chechnya  – made the claim on March 24 at a government meeting as the region confirmed its first three coronavirus cases.

“If you ask me, anyone who creates this problem for himself should be killed,” he said.

“Not only does he get sick, [but he also infects] his family, his sisters, brothers, neighbours,” the regional Caucasian Knot news agency quoted Kadyrov as saying.

Ramzan Kadyrov recommends Chechens drink water with lemon and honey to combat coronavirus. 

Kadyrov added that people spreading fake information about the deadly but delicate virus should be punished with community service.

His comments came as the president ordered all restaurants, cafés and “crowded places” in the republic to shutter doors in an effort to curb the caseload steadily crawling upwards.

Ramzan Kadyrov takes an oath during the ceremony of his inauguration as the head of Russia’s Caucasus region of Chechnya for a third term, in Grozny on October 5, 2016. (ELENA FITKULINA/AFP/Getty Images)

But such measures also eclipsed comments made by Kadyrov that the pandemic paralysing the world is not to be feared. Earlier this month, he simply advised citizens to drink water with lemon and honey to strengthen immune systems.

Alongside consuming garlic for “pure blood”, BBC Russia reported.

What was the ‘gay purge’ in Chechnya?

Chechnya, a mostly Muslim region in southern Russia that fought two wars for independence, is now under Moscow’s control.

Regional leader Kadyrov operates a vastly carte blanche rule in exchange for devotion to the Kremlin.

Mugs decorated with images of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Soviet leaders Joseph Stalin and Vladimir Lenin and Chechnya's leader Ramzan Kadyrov are seen on sale among other items at a gift shop in Moscow. (DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Mugs decorated with images of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Soviet leaders Joseph Stalin and Vladimir Lenin and Chechnya’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov are seen on sale among other items at a gift shop in Moscow. (DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Being gay is taboo in Chechnya, which pushed the lives of many queer folk into private online chat rooms and darkened alleyways.

But one day, this all changed.

In 2017, images and anecdotes of queer men who suffered weeks of torture and brutal beatings in a targeted pogrom were exposed by local journalists, in a horrifying turn in the country’s long history of human rights abuses.

Local authorities denied the sweeps ever happened, but journalist Elena Milashina and human rights lawyer Marina Dubrovina hurled countless cases of kidnapped gay men into the public eye.

Witnesses have painted a brutal playbook of Chechen regional authorities bundling gay men into cars, thrown into basements of police stations or thrown into facilities where they were tormented and starved.

More: Chechnya, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Ramzan Kadyrov, Russia, Vladimir Putin

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