Six months in Chechnya: A cure for narcolepsy?

So many strange things about this Moscow Times story on Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov’s latest outlandish boast: Kadyrov was touched by the plight of Sasha Pisarenko, a 9-year-old who doctors said suffered from the only case of narcolepsy in Russia, the Chechen government said in a statement on its web site. At Kadyrov’s insistence, Pisarenko was dispatched to Grozny, where she lived for six months with ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
MURAD NUKHAYEV/AFP/Getty Images
MURAD NUKHAYEV/AFP/Getty Images
MURAD NUKHAYEV/AFP/Getty Images

So many strange things about this Moscow Times story on Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov's latest outlandish boast:

Kadyrov was touched by the plight of Sasha Pisarenko, a 9-year-old who doctors said suffered from the only case of narcolepsy in Russia, the Chechen government said in a statement on its web site.

At Kadyrov's insistence, Pisarenko was dispatched to Grozny, where she lived for six months with her mother and sister in a luxury apartment.

So many strange things about this Moscow Times story on Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov’s latest outlandish boast:

Kadyrov was touched by the plight of Sasha Pisarenko, a 9-year-old who doctors said suffered from the only case of narcolepsy in Russia, the Chechen government said in a statement on its web site.

At Kadyrov’s insistence, Pisarenko was dispatched to Grozny, where she lived for six months with her mother and sister in a luxury apartment.

"Grozny was charming, not menacing at all," the statement said, adding that Kadyrov personally telephoned the girl after his own mother learned about her from a television program and instructed him to help out.

Helping Pisarenko is the latest gesture from Kadyrov, 34, to prove that normalcy has returned to Chechnya, a small republic widely feared by ordinary Russians who do not venture there.

The Chechen government attributes Pisarenko’s miraculous recovery to the "sun, smiles, music and hospitality" she encountered in the Chechen capital. Though the easy retort is that after six months around Ramzan Kadyrov, most people would have trouble falling asleep. 

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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