Yesterday, Instagram and Facebook deleted the accounts of brutal Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov, the man who has overseen the year-long campaign of kidnapping, detaining, torturing and murdering gay men. The Kadryrov Instagram and Facebook accounts had “four million subscribers,” Kadryrov said. He also considers the deletions as connected to the U.S. Treasury Department’s sanctions earlier this week barring him and his associate from U.S. travel and banks.
Why was the Kadyrov Instagram account deleted?
The Kadryrov Instagram account had 2.8 million followers and regularly featured images of himself cuddling with cute animals, working out at the gym, being affectionate with other men and overseeing various military, governmental and cultural events. The Kadryrov Instagram account was part of a cultural charm offensive meant to promote himself as a loving, formidable leader, one with militarily might and ties to a lineage of Islamic Chechen warriors who’ve long fought for the region’s cultural sovereignty.
Nevertheless, Kadyrov also has an English language Instagram account with 127,000 followers. (His deleted account was for his Russian language posts). On the English account, he posted the following message about his Russian account’s deletion:
My Instagram page has disappeared over night from Friday to Saturday. It was the verified account, and Instagram must have guaranteed its security. Just out of curiosity we contacted the support team; no reply followed. It’s clear, no one else could practically have a finger in the pie.
They wanted to annoy me, but failed, which is the only thing that pleases me in the Instagram activity, as well as that of their handlers in the White House.
I’ve been long thinking to leave that social network, but didn’t want to upset my friends and followers – almost four millions of them. I’ve been paying much attention and spending a lot of my time to communicating with them, shared the region’s news and my family events. However, no need to be upset….
Indeed, the Instagram move looks strange, the network has long been pretending to be independent from Washington D.C. and their move came right after the US Treasury sanctions. They might block the accounts, but they will never be able to block Ramzan Kadyrov name – nor the social media, neither their handlers.
Despite the deletion of the Russian Kadryrov Instagram account, he still has social media accounts active on VKontakte (a Russian Facebook-style site), Twitter and the encrypted chat service Telegram.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Treasury Department placed sanctions on Kadyrov and Ayub Kataev, another Chechen official accused of overseeing the Republic’s brutal year-long crackdown on LGBTQ people. The sanctions prohibit their entrance into America and use of U.S. banks under the provisions of the 2012 Magnitsky Act, a law signed by then-U.S. President Barack Obama which punishes Russians believed to be responsible for grave human rights abuses.
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