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Security forces blockade village in search for critic of Chechen leader

Source: Kommersant

Since Saturday, May 14, government security forces have blockaded the village of Kenhi, in Chechnya, questioning all those entering or leaving for the whereabouts of Ramadan Dzhalaldinov.

On April 14, Mr. Dzhalaldinov recorded an appeal to Vladimir Putin in the form of a 10 minute Youtube clip, which was reported on Dagestani news website Chernovik. In the appeal, titled “A message from Chechen Sharoy district resident Ramazan Dzhalaldinov to Ramzan Kadyrov,” Mr. Dzhalaldinov speaks of poor living standards and blames the leadership of the Chechen Republic.

“A message from Chechen Sharoy district resident Ramazan Dzhalaldinov to Ramzan Kadyrov,” recorded April 14 (In Russian.)

Acting head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov called Mr. Dzhalaldinov's words “Lies” via his Instagram account. In return, Mr. Dzhalaldinov invited Kadyrov to come visit Kenhi and see for himself.

On May 6, Ramzan Kadyrov arrived in Kenhi to meet with locals and address the issues raised by Mr. Dzhalaldinov. However, Mr. Dzhalaldinov was not able to meet with the Chechen leader. Almost immediately following the posting of his appeal to Putin on Youtube, Mr. Dzhalaldinov began receiving death threats. In late April, he fled to the neighboring Dagestan Republic for his own safety, leaving his wife and three daughters in Kenhi.

Local residents say conditions in Kenhi village have improved greatly following Ramzan Kadyrov's visit.

On the night of May 12, a group of men in army fatigues burnt the Dzhalaldinov's home to the ground. The men burst into the house saying they were there to save them. They removed Dzhalaldinov's wife and daughters from the home to a nearby bridge. The men then returned to the house and burnt it down.

Mr. Dzhalaldinov has blamed government security forces for the arson.

Ramzan Kadyrov has denied the involvement of the government security forces in the torching of the Dzhalaldinov's home. The Chechen head accused Mr. Dzhalaldinov of masterminding the incident to bring scorn against his government.

Mr. Dzhalaldinov told newspaper Kommersant that Chechen security forces had called him and demanded he deny any government involvement in the burning of his home.

Mr. Dzhalaldinov has not made contact with journalists since the weekend.

The Chechen Interior Ministry has yet to comment on the situation.  

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