Chechnya’s gay purge tyrant – who said COVID-19 patients ‘should be executed’ – mounts pathetic defence after ‘hospitalisation’

Ramzan Kadyrov

Homophobic Chechen tyrant Ramzan Kadyrov made his first public appearance since rumours emerged that he had been hospitalised with coronavirus.

The autocratic leader, who orchestrated the region’s brutal ‘gay purge’, was reported to have earned the title of the first Russian official to fall seriously ill in the coronavirus pandemic.

According two Russian state news agencies, RIA Novosti and Tass, Kadyrov was flown to a clinic in Moscow as his condition rapidly deteriorated. The digital news outlet Baza reported there had been damage to his lungs.

Chechen officials refused to confirm the news or give any information as to his whereabouts, while the head of Chechnya’s state-run TV channel openly contested the reports of illness.

After nearly a fortnight of rumours, Kadyrov finally reappeared in public on Tuesday. He was filmed at a government meeting in Grozny, Chechnya’s capital, with what seemed to be a cannula in his right arm.

A video which showed the tube protruding from his sleeve was initially posted on social media by Chechnya’s state television channel, but was later deleted.

Ramzan Kadyrov previously said coronavirus patients should be executed.

Writing on Instagram the following day, Kadyrov did not confirm whether or not he had contracted coronavirus but offered a vigorous defence of his right to fall ill.

“Even if I was ill, there are millions of people infected with coronavirus, tens of thousands have died. Am I not a person? I don’t have the right to fall ill? I don’t have the right to be put on a drip and to raise my immunity? I am an absolutely healthy person,” he said.

Kadyrov appears to have had a sudden change of heart on the matter after previously saying that anyone who falls ill with coronavirus should be executed.

“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.

He also told people that the disease was not to be feared and simply advised citizens to drink water with lemon and honey to strengthen their immune systems.

Kadyrov was instated by Russia’s homophobe-in-chief, Vladimir Putin, in 2017. He has since turned the region into a personal fiefdom, leading through a cult of personality, and has no clear successor.