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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Public humiliation: Chechen leader’s simple strategy to control social media

Ramzan Kadyrov is punishing ordinary people who criticise his rule with televised shamings, as well as detentions and abuse

Aishat Inaeva, a social worker from a small town in Chechnya, did not speak out against the region’s notorious leader, Ramzan Kadyrov. She wouldn’t have dared. Instead, she made a WhatsApp recording, imploring him to look into the plight of ordinary people “pushed below the poverty line” by local officials, a message that went viral among Chechen users of the messaging app.

A week or so later, Inaeva found herself hauled into the studio of Grozny TV, the state television and radio broadcaster, her husband beside her, the republic’s leader in front of her, being forced to apologise publicly for her “lies”. “You help [the poor] … I was confused, I do not know how and why I did that,” she said to the president, Ramzan Kadyrov, her head bowed. Inaeva’s husband joined in, chastising himself for “allowing her to spread all those lies”.

To access the complete article, please use this link: The Guardian