Chechnya’s head Ramzan Kadyrov said that he was mulling over resignation from his position after 15 years, stating that he "had stayed in power for too long," according to a video uploaded on Kadyrov’s Telegram channel on Saturday.
“I myself noticed that I stayed for too long. I think that I fully deserved an indefinite and long vacation. I hope you support and understand me," he said. “I think the time for me to leave has come, before I'll be kicked out.”
“I think the time for me to leave has come, before I'll be kicked out.”Ramzan Kadyrov
Kadyrov, 45, has been the head of Chechnya since 2007, longer than any other leader of Russian-controlled regions. The last time Kadyrov was re-elected as head of the republic was in September 2021, his term of office expires in 2026.
Kadyrov ran unopposed after being encouraged by Russian President Vladimir Putin, winning with 99.97% of the vote.
The longtime ruler has been accused by advocacy groups of overseeing and turning a blind eye to abductions, torture and killings as well as suppressing political opposition and instituting repressive laws against the LGBTQ community, although he vowed last year in his inauguration address for his fourth term to “protect human rights,” according to Forbes.
In 2020, the United States sanctioned him for human rights abuses around the persecution of the LGBTQ community and the detention of journalists.
He has also been a key supporter of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, telling Putin he is “ready to give my life” to the cause, calling on Russia not to “coddle” Ukrainian forces, and slamming Western countries for their opposition to the war, urging residents of those countries to “rise up” against their governments.
What will Kadyrov do now?
The first deputy head of the international committee of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation, FSB General Vladimir Dzhabarov said that the departure of Ramzan Kadyrov from the post of head of Chechnya would be a great loss for the Chechen people and Russia as a whole, the residents would be against it, according to RIA.
He noted that "a person can express his thoughts, but the people will be categorically against his departure."
Russian Political scientist Sergei Markov suggested that Kadyrov could be appointed as governor-general of all the territories of Ukraine controlled by the Russian Federation on his Telegram channel on Saturday.
“Ramzan Kadyrov will remain the head of Chechnya, where he enjoys colossal authority and which he led to prosperity that no one could have imagined, although I would appoint him the governor-general of all the liberated regions of former Ukraine with unlimited powers. In a year, everything would be fine there,” Markov wrote.
"The important points in Ukraine are being cruel to the enemies and with one's officials, Kadyrov could do both."
According to the Russian media outlet Meduza, Kadyrov may take a leadership position in the National Guard, one of Meduza's sources close to the presidential administration reported.