Chechnya profile

President: Ramzan Kadyrov

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov Ramzan Kadyrov was nominated by the Russian president

Ramzan Kadyrov, son of assassinated President Akhmad Kadyrov and a dominant figure in Chechen politics, was nominated for the Chechen presidency by Russian President Vladimir Putin in spring 2007 and approved almost unanimously by the Chechen parliament. He was sworn in in April.

His predecessor, Alu Alkhanov, had been moved to a post in the Russian government some weeks earlier.

Ramzan Kadyrov became prime minister in March 2006 after his predecessor, Sergei Abramov, was severely injured in a car crash.

Too young to run for president after the death of his father - he was then 27 and the required age under the Chechen constitution is 30 - he backed Alu Alkhanov in the 2004 election and took the job of deputy prime minister.

Mr Kadyrov has sworn to avenge his father. Human rights groups have criticised the violent activities of a powerful militia known as the "Kadyrovtsy" consisting of thousands of paramilitaries with the avowed mission of wiping out rebel forces.

Mr Kadyrov denies accusations that the force is behind many of Chechnya's killings, abductions and worst crimes, although he has admitted that there are some "rogue elements" among them.

Austrian police investigating the killing of a former bodyguard of Mr Kadyrov in Vienna said in 2010 that they believe he ordered the killing. Mr Kadyrov strongly denies any involvement.

A rebel fighter in his youth, he now speaks in praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin and is the local leader of the United Russia party.

Mr Kadyrov defends himself against critics of his record on human rights, insisting that iron rule is required to bring stability. As prime minister, he oversaw the development of numerous reconstruction projects.

He describes himself as a believer in traditional Islam.

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