‘Nothing unusual here’ The Kremlin dismisses Ramzan Kadyrov's latest threats against independent journalists
Earlier this week, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov lashed out at a report by Novaya Gazeta about the republic's struggles to curb the spread of coronavirus. On Instagram and then Telegram, Kadyrov accused the FSB of “aiding and abetting” the newspaper and demanded that the intelligence community “stop these monsters,” adding, “If you want us to commit a crime and become criminals, just say so! One [of us] will take on this responsibility and serve his time, as required by law. He’ll do his time and then he’ll be released!” On Thursday, April 16, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov finally weighed in on the conflict.
Ekho Moskvy: Mr. Peskov, regarding yesterday’s topic, you said you would examine Ramzan Kadyrov’s comments about Novaya Gazeta and his appeal to the federal authorities that was worded so unusually, where he said basically: “Hey, sort this out! Hey, pay attention here!” Did you manage to take a look and what does the Kremlin think about this?
Dmitry Peskov: Yes, we’ve familiarized ourselves with this. The statement was certainly very emotional. But, on the other hand, the situation now is also quite emotional. So we didn’t see anything unusual here. Naturally, everybody’s a little on edge right now, so to speak. Essentially, this has absolutely no effect on what was said.
Ekho Moskvy: But is there any understanding of why such requests are being made publicly over social media? It’s not exactly the standard practice for interactions between regional heads and the Kremlin.
Dmitry Peskov: Well, regional heads choose this practice themselves. In this case, there’s nothing prohibited or illegal. That’s all I can say. Otherwise, I have nothing to add.
Ekho Moskvy: Regarding illegalities, [Kadyrov] also asks if the Kremlin wants [the Chechen authorities] to commit a crime. Since the question was asked publicly, maybe some kind of public answer is necessary?
Dmitry Peskov: No, we don’t believe it’s necessary.