Kadyrov Turns 31

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 39

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov turned 31 on October 5, and Newsru.com reported that day that Kadyrov had ordered that there be no “luxuriant” celebrations. Still, the website reported that “rites of sacrifice” would be held marking Kadyrov’s birthday, with religious figures calling on the Almighty to grant the republic prosperity and Kadyrov a long life. As Newsru.com reported, Kadyrov decided to mark his birthday not on October 5, but three days later, on October 8, with the opening in Gudermes of a “splendid modern racetrack.” “The opening of the complex, about which everyone has dreamed for a long time, will be a real gift for me,” Kadyrov said.

Rosbalt reported on October 6 that Kadyrov had celebrated his birthday “privately.” Still, the news agency reported that officials of the Chechen presidential administration and government, heads of republican ministries and agencies, deputies of the republic’s parliament and heads of the republic’s districts and cities, had all visited Tsentoroi, Kadyrov’s native village, to wish him a happy birthday. “Friends and colleagues” wished Kadyrov a happy birthday and gave him “a whole tray of gold coins,” wishing him “health, many years of work and also that the treasury of the Chechen Republic would always be filled with such money,” Rosbalt reported.

The website also reported that “guests from Iran” gave Kadyrov “a panel with suras from the Koran embroidered in gold thread.” “We are very glad that our visit to the Chechen Republic coincided with your birthday, and for us it is a great honor to give you this modest present,” Rosbalt quoted the unidentified Iranian guests as telling Kadyrov. “We hope that Iran and the Chechen Republic will cooperate and enjoy friendly relations in the future.”

Thanking his guests for their warm birthday greetings, Kadyrov then invited them to the “holy rite of the zikr” [the mystical Sufi dance] which, according to Rosbalt, Kadyrov himself participated in. After that, Kadyrov “treated all the participants and countrymen to the meat of two huge sacrificial bulls,” the news agency reported.

Sobkor.ru reported on October 8 that all of the heads of the republic comprising the Southern Federal District were invited to the opening of the racetrack in Gudermes, which took place that day. The website quoted an anonymous source in Kadyrov’s inner circle as saying that more than $22 million had been spent on celebrating the Chechen president’s birthday. According to Sobkor.ru, the lion’s share of that money was collected in a “compulsory” manner from “enterprises, agencies and private individuals.”