Transcript: Kremlin declines to review comments by Chechen ruler, who says gossipers should be ‘killed’ and ‘imprisoned’
Meduza: On November 5, Chechen head-of-state Ramzan Kadyrov appeared on Chechen television and called for the severe punishment of those who “violate harmony between people by spreading rumors.” According to translations by the BBC and Current Time, Kadyrov said at a government cabinet meeting that these individuals should be “killed, imprisoned, and scared.” Has the Kremlin looked into this speech? How does the Kremlin respond to the head of one of Russia’s regions advocating murder?
Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesman: I didn’t read the original transcript of this cabinet meeting, and I haven’t read the printouts or Kadyrov’s original statements. With all due respect to the BBC, I cannot and won’t consider it a primary source.
Ekho Moskvy: Over the past few weeks, you haven’t commented on several issues related in one way or another to Chechnya. Just to understand: When it comes to observing Russian laws, is the situation in Chechnya right now the same as in other regions across Russia? Or are there some kind of special conditions there now?
Peskov: No, there can’t be any special conditions in Chechnya. This is a subject of the Russian Federation with all the binding consequences, legal and otherwise, from the perspective of law enforcement.
Ekho Moskvy: So the Kremlin will review these statements, which you say you haven’t yet seen? There will be an inquiry to find out if the remarks were really made?
Peskov: Listen, we can’t go by BBC reports, okay? I’m saying that we cannot consider reports by the BBC to be a primary source that [inaudible] comment on.
Ekho Moskvy: But the state television network ChGTRK Grozny also broadcast the remarks, albeit without translation.
Peskov: Without translation? No, we’re not aware of any such statements.
Ekho Moskvy: Will the statements be reviewed or not?
Peskov: No, they won’t.
Ekho Moskvy: Thank you.
Peskov: You’re welcome.
Bloomberg: Can you clarify why such statements won’t be reviewed? Surely the presidential administration can find a Chechen translator? This isn’t the first time you aren’t answering questions about Ramzan Kadyrov and what’s happening in Chechnya. You’re very careful whenever commenting about this. Can you explain the reasons for your caution here?
Peskov: This applies not only to Ramzan Kadyrov, but also to other regional heads. Because we believe, of course, that the necessary respect should be shown to regional heads. As for the statements, there are law-enforcement agencies in any subject of the Russian Federation that apply or do not apply various statutes, let’s say, to halt unlawful activity. I’m unaware of any illegal actions here.
Meduza: Do I understand you correctly that you’re calling on Chechen law-enforcement agencies to review these statements, and that the Kremlin will not review them?
Peskov: No, you’ve misunderstood me. I’m not calling on anyone to do anything. I’m just stating the facts.
Translation by Kevin Rothrock