Several leading Chechens have criticized what some call the “black P.R.” of Chechen state television, which has given free reign to pro-Kadyrov propaganda while excluding critics such as Aslan Aslakhanov. This is despite the fact that Aslakhanov represents Chechnya in the federal Duma.
To cite one example, Kadyrov’s son Ramzan has gone so far as to use the airwaves to make crude statements insulting the opposition candidates, whom he denounced last week as a “bunch of goats.” As head of the Kadyrov family’s private army, Ramzan’s comments are especially threatening. He told viewers that “after the elections we will attend to those who have offended us.”
In comments that appeared to reflect such tensions, Aslakhanov told the radio station Ekho Moskvy in an August 14 interview that he has no campaign staff. He said that people whom he had tried to recruit told him that they had to refuse not because they opposed his candidacy, but because they were afraid of reprisals against their families.