How Putin’s Whirlwind Bromance Could End in a Kremlin Tragedy

The Kremlin is reportedly scrambling to find a successor to Ramzan Kadyrov following reports that the Chechen leader has been diagnosed with necrotizing pancreatitis, a terminal illness, according to Russian media reports.

Kadyrov, also known as “Putin‘s attack dog” or “Putin’s soldier” for his loyalty to Russian President Vladimir Putin, has visited Moscow Central Clinical Hospital regularly through the years to undergo procedures. He was allegedly diagnosed with the illness five years ago.

Ukrainian intelligence last year pointed to Kadyrov’s ailing health, noting last year that he was in a coma.

“There is information that the war criminal Kadyrov is in a serious condition and the diseases that were there have worsened and caused such a serious condition,” said Andriy Yusov, a representative of Ukraine’s military intelligence branch. The former vice-prime minister of Chechnya, Akhmad Zakayev, has also previously stated he has been sick.

He overdosed last year on a preoperative sedative, causing acute pulmonary failure, according to Novaya Gazeta.

‘Putin’s Foot Soldier’ Posts Cringe Workout Video to Prove He’s Not Dying

The news of Kadyrov’s terminal ailment is reportedly a “source of concern” for the Kremlin as Putin looks to shore up Russian influence and control in Chechnya in the coming years, which has been a decades-old objective for Moscow.

In 1991, the President of Chechnya, Dzhokhar Dudayev, declared independence—but Moscow pushed back on it out of fear that it could inspire other provinces to break from Russia. In 1994, Russia invaded Chechnya to try to keep it under its fold. Five years later, Putin had the capital of Chechnya, Grozny, destroyed, killing tens of thousands of civilians.

Putin’s operation in Chechnya—where he has claimed he was simply carrying out counterterrorism operations—has drawn comparisons Moscow’s strategy to the war in Ukraine.

The loss of the Kremlin’s loyal foot soldier, however, could directly impact domestic support for the war. Kadyrov has sent soldiers to fight for Russia in Ukraine. He has also been a vocal champion of Putin within Russia, supporting the idea of limiting candidates in elections and vowing loyalty to the Russian president in the face of Wagner’s march on Moscow.

One potential successor could be Major General Apti Alaudinov, the commander of the Chechen special forces volunteer association, who has been working as deputy at the Main Directorate for Military and Political Work at the defense ministry. Alaudinov was personally appointed to the role by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Already, some Chechens have expressed disapproval of Putin and his war in Ukraine. When the war began, some Chechens even joined frontline battalions helping Ukraine to fend off the Russian invasion. In return, some Ukrainians have vowed to fight for a free Chechnya once the war is over.

Kadyrov has sought to throw cold water on his reported terminal ailment. He posted a video of himself working out on Tuesday, as if to signal that his diagnosis isn’t holding him back. The Kremlin has previously worked to spread the narrative that Kadyrov is healthy.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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