Chechnya strongman Kadyrov wins 99 percent of vote

By: AFP      Published: 05:15 PM, 20 Sep, 2021
Chechnya strongman Kadyrov wins 99 percent of vote
Chechnya's regional leader Ramzan Kadyrov casts his ballot at a polling station.

The strongman leader of Russia's Chechnya republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, won over 99 percent of the region's votes in this weekend's parliamentary elections, state media said Monday.

Kadyrov, a former warlord and ally of President Vladimir Putin, has ruled the predominantly Muslim region for more than a decade and has formed a cult around his family name.  

With just over half of the votes counted, Kadyrov won 99.6 percent in the polls, according to the RIA Novosti news agency.

Russian opposition figures accused authorities of mass voter fraud as election results on Monday showed the ruling United Russia party winning a sweeping majority in the Duma election. 

Kadyrov traditionally wins a sky-high percentage of votes in the volatile North Caucasus region, gaining 97.9 percent of the vote in 2016 parliamentary polls. 

His regime has been accused of rights violations like extrajudicial killings and of persecuting activists and sexual minorities.

This month Chechen officials announced that the region will offer thousands of dollars to the artist that completes the best portrait of Kadyrov, who is seen as an important player in Russia's political landscape. 

Kadyrov, 44, rose to power in Chechnya following the 2004 assassination of his father Akhmat, a rebel leader-turned-Kremlin-ally who headed the restive republic after two wars between Russian forces and separatists in the 1990s and early 2000s. 

The two wars triggered a wave of emigration, with many Chechens leaving for western Europe.