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The Kadyrov family enhances their influence.

Son Appointed Minister at Age 18

Only 18 and already Chechnya's sports minister: Akhmat Kadyrov.
Only 18 and already Chechnya's sports minister: Akhmat Kadyrov.

The Kadyrov family enhances their influence.

At merely 18, learning how to run a sports department in Chechnya, and also becoming the president of a successful soccer club? If you're born into the right family, it's entirely feasible in Chechnya. That's where Akhmat Kadyrov fits in. He's not the sole Kadyrov who's ascended to high office - this clan has several members who hold significant positions.

Akhmat Kadyrov clinched the role of Minister of Sport in the Russian Republic of Chechnya at just 18 years old. And he also holds an influential position as president of the prosperous Achmat Grozny soccer club, named after his grandfather.

This impressive career harbors more family ties: the 18-year-old is the son of Chechnya's president, Ramzan Kadyrov, and grandson of Akhmat Kadyrov, who served as the ruler of Chechnya after the second Russian-Chechen war in the early 2000s until he perished in a bomb blast in 2004. Kadyrov has since been revered as a national hero in Chechnya.

Akhmat Grozny issued a statement following Akhmat Junior's appointment: "We're convinced that the team is poised to reap new successes, triumphs, and productive outcomes under the leadership of Akhmat Ramzanovich." This soccer club competes in the prestigious Russian Premier League.

Another sibling's violent episode attracts media attention

In late 2021, a different Kadyrov sibling dominated global news headlines. A 15-year-old named Adam Kadyrov inflicted brutal violence on an unprotected inmate. The elder Kadyrov published footage of the assault on his Telegram channel and later extolled his son. Kadyrov stated, "It would've been nice if he had killed him right there," referring to the prisoner caught announcing the public burning of a Koran. Following the attack, the teenager was crowned a "Hero of Chechnya" and was given the post of chief of his father's security service.

The president of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, is a trusted confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He's governed Grozny with an iron grip since 2007. Kadyrov faces allegations of various human rights infringements, including murder. In Chechnya, critics of the government continuously risk abduction and prejudicial killings.

"A splendid guarantee of loyalty"

As the autocrat of Chechnya, Kadyrov has held high posts with his own family members and close aides for years. In October 2022, Radio Free Europe provided a list containing 52 Kadyrov relatives who hold vital jobs within government structures, sports committees, and large state-owned firms. According to the list, 13 out of the 24 members of the Chechen government at that time were linked to the Kadyrov clan.

In Moscow, Chechnya's way of appointing officials finds favor. "It's easier for the Kremlin to negotiate with a local tyrant who meets all its criteria than to establish a convoluted network of interactions with different factions," political scientist Ivan Preobrazhensky told Radio Free Liberty. "Those who stand close to Kadyrov are aware that if he stumbles, they'll join him in the fall. That serves as an outstanding assurance of loyalty," the expert added.

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