Russia says it has ‘nothing’ to reveal on Ramzan Kadyrov health rumours

Talk of the Chechen leader’s health grows on social media after unconfirmed reports say he is in a coma.

Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov
Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov attends a military parade on Victory Day in the Chechen capital, Grozny, Russia, in May 2022 [File: Chingis Kondarov/Reuters]

Russia says it has no information on the health of Ramzan Kadyrov after reports suggested the Chechen leader was sick.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday: “We have no information on this.”

“In any case, the presidential administration can hardly give out health certificates, so we have nothing to tell you here.”

Peskov made the remarks after unconfirmed reports on social media said Kadyrov was in a coma.

After the rumours began to spread, two videos were released on Sunday of Kadyrov at an unidentified location.

In the first, he is seen smiling while on a stroll. In the second, he recommends people play sports. He is heard speaking Chechen and Russian.

“I strongly recommend that everyone who cannot distinguish the truth from lies on the internet go for a walk, get some fresh air and put their thoughts in order,” the video’s captions said.

“The rain can be wonderfully invigorating”.

It was impossible to immediately establish when the videos were recorded.

Speculation grew about Kadyrov’s health after a report from the Ukrainian news outlet Obozrevatel on Friday cited a spokesperson from the security service saying Kadyrov was in “serious condition. His existing diseases have worsened.”

Earlier on Monday, Obozrevatel reported that Kadyrov had allegedly undergone an unsuccessful kidney transplant.

Despite a lack of evidence supporting the spokesperson’s claims, they were made after months of rumours that Kadyrov was suffering from kidney issues.

Kadyrov has been an ardent backer of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, and his soldiers have fought alongside regular Russian forces there.

The former rebel warlord turned Kremlin ally has long called himself President Vladimir Putin’s “foot soldier”.

Kadyrov was elected president of Chechnya in 2007. He has ruled majority-Muslim Chechnya while being accused of ordering extrajudicial killings and torture of his opponents.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies