Chechen leader showers friends with gold: WikiLeaks
Ramzan Kadyrov, the strongman leader of Chechnya, appears at parties sporting a gold-plated automatic and showers friends with mounds of gold, leaked US diplomatic cables showed Monday.
A WikiLeaks publication of a cable sent to Washington by the US deputy chief of mission in Moscow describes a wedding attended by Kadyrov in the Russian North Caucasus republic of Dagestan.
Kadyrov at one point is described dancing "clumsily with his gold-plated automatic stuck down in the back of his jeans."
Both the man of honour, identified as Dagestan Oil Company chief and current parliament member Gadzhi Makhachev, and Kadyrov then "showered the dancing children with hundred dollar bills."
"Gadzhi told us later that Ramzan had brought the happy couple 'a five kilo lump of gold' as his wedding present," the cable says.
Kadyrov enjoys strong Kremlin support as Russia seeks to reestablish control over a republic where it waged two brutal wars in the past 15 years.
He has near-dictatorial powers in Chechnya and is believed to travel around the region in armoured vehicles with scores of bodyguards.
Kadyrov has also been accused of brutality by human rights groups, charges that he has repeatedly denied.
Earlier this month, a Vienna court trying three men over the murder of a Chechen dissident said it wanted to question Kadyrov over his alleged involvement in the crime.
© 2010 AFP