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Chechen children get cash for poems praising leader's family

By News from Elsewhere... found by BBC Monitoring

image copyrightRazman Kadrov/Instagram
image captionMr Kadyrov arranged the competition to honour his mother
Children in Chechnya are writing poems in praise of their authoritarian leader's family on the promise of cash prizes and the latest smartphones.
In one recent contest, ten finalists received prizes for poems lauding Ramzan Kadyrov's mother Ayman.
The top winner - and the youngest - received $6,700 (£5,100), the runner-up $4,000, the third-placed $2,700, and the remaining finalists all got a smartphone, Chechnya's official Grozny TV reports.
The results must have impressed Mr Kadyrov, who has ruled the region of southern Russia since 2006, as he arranged another contest to mark his mother's 67th birthday this week.
The winners got "impressive" cash prizes, he later posted on Instagram.
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Mr Kadyrov has come under scrutiny for imposing his own interpretation of Islamic law in the southern region, as well as for his poor human rights record.
Under his rule there have been repeated allegations of abuse at the hands of his security forces, with claims of extrajudicial killings and illegal detentions.
His mother is not the only member of the First Family to have her birthday heralded in verse.
Her husband Akhmat, a former rebel who switched sides and ran Chechnya until his assassination in 2004, has also been honoured with poetry competitions.
One member of the public, who preferred to remain anonymous, told the independent Kavkazsky Uzel news site that contests to flatter Mr Kadyrov are often organised by regional officials in order to curry favour with their leader.
Children's drawings and an international Koran recitation marathon are also rewarded, the latter with a prize of $81,200.
Mr Kadyrov also believes in paying homage to his own leader. In 2017, he ran a poetry contest to honour President Vladimir Putin.
Reporting by Karine Mirumyan
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  • Russia
  • Chechnya