- By Elizabeth F. RalphElizabeth Ralph is a researcher at Foreign Policy.
Ramzan Kadyrov, the 36 year-old president of Chechnya, reported human rights violator, supercar driver, champion boxer, and prolific Instagrammer, has once again posted an amazingly bizarre photo to his Instagram account — posing with a lone wolf (Chechnya’s national animal). The caption reads:
Wolf — The only animal that can go into a fight against a stronger opponent. If he has lost the battle, he will look his opponent in the eye until the last breath, after which he dies…. The wolf always shows himself to his prey and chases it down on the run. It is for precisely this that we can respect them, despite their bloodthirstiness. #Chechnya #Hunting #Wolves.
(Interesting how Kadyrov, once a rebel fighter, appears to be evoking Chechen nationalism even as he grows closer and closer to Russian President Vladimir Putin.)
But there are two sides to this man, clearly. Here’s the picture Kadyrov posted just afterwards, of him cradling this cat:
Ever since November 2012, the Chechen strongman has been uploading several photos a day to the photo-sharing site — quite a self-indulgent act for someone who once called the task a “burden.” But how else to monitor public opinion, comment on current events, and appoint Instagram followers to his cabinet? In case you’re not one of Kadyrov’s 132,804 (and counting) Instagram followers, here are some of his weirdest pics:
1. #lounging #tiger #bondvillain
2. French actor Gérard Depardieu at table with Kadyrov and his identically dressed children.
3. Tracksuit? Check. Golden stag? Check. Let’s do this.
4. The focus was on back, traps, and biceps.
5. “They fixed a few minor things, told me that I have excellent teeth and sent me off.” #oversharing
6. Kadyrov posted this photo along with a caption telling “friends, brothers, sisters, subscribers” to stop making appeals to him via Instagram (“more than half” weren’t true anyway!) and to stop arguing with each other in the comments section. #orthisiswhereiwillburyyou
7. Hugging the sheep the wolf will probably eat later.
8. Chechen rulers — they’re just like us!
9. Just grabbing a bull by the horns, lounging on a tractor…
10. A perk of being president: as much Jello as you want.
11. Anything Putin can do, I can do better.
Christian Caryl contributed to this post.
All photos from Ramzan Kadyrov’s Instagram page.