Ramzan Kadyrov posted a meeting with senior Ministry of Internal Affairs and National Guard members on Telegram, dated Dec. 30, where he appeared to promote blood vengeance against criminals and their families.

In it 1Adat highlights Kadyrov saying he has instructed Chechnya’s law enforcement agencies to maintain “extreme vigilance” during the Russian holidays, which take place between Jan. 1 and 8.

The video shows Kadyrov telling his security forces in the Chechen language that if someone kills one of his men or a tourist, then that death must be avenged. He complains that it was no longer acceptable for families to abandon a relative who commits a terrible crime.

“I emphasize that any attempt to commit violence toward a person’s life will impact the relatives of the perpetrator,” he wrote on Telegram.

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“Close relatives must know what a member of their family is doing and bear responsibility for them as Chechen ‘adats’ [customary laws] have taught us for centuries,” Kadyrov added.

He added that if the culprit could not be found then a relative, brother, father or whoever, should be killed in their place.

“A person commits murder and walks away free without punishment, while their relatives begin renouncing them,” Kadyrov was quoted as saying.

“No renouncements will work until we kill someone from their family and claim the right of blood vengeance.”

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1Adat points out that there is no death penalty in Russia and that it is totally unacceptable for someone who holds an official position in the Federation’s government to directly give orders to members of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation and the Russian Guard to conduct blood vengeance.

In a second Telegram post by the opposition group, with video apparently taken later at the same meeting, Kadyrov boasts that he will not spare any of his critics and will kill every single one of them.

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He then goes on to say that criminals or political refugees who flee abroad must be extradited to Chechnya and, if they are not, “we will get rid of such a person as best we know how.”

This is not the first time that Kadyrov has called for violence against those he views as criminals or his critics.

In October, following violent protests at Makhachkala airport after “refugees from Israel” were allegedly supposed to arrive on a flight from Tel Aviv, Kadyrov said the police should take action “shooting” protesters “in the head” if they did not react to warning shots.

He has in the past threatened political opponents that he would “break the fingers and tear out the tongues” of those who insult him.

In November he appointed his teenage son Adam to a senior role in his security service and praised him for beating Nikita Zhuravel, who had been arrested for burning the Quran and is quoted as saying it would have been better if his 16-year-old son had killed Zhuravel.

He has long been known to sanction assassinations of critics and dissidents outside of Chechnya. Notable assassinations included the death of former Ichkeria commander Zelimkhan Khangoshvili in Germany and critic Tumso Abdurakhmanov in Sweden.

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Enforced disappearance is also common in Chechnya under his rule, and human rights organizations noticed a steep rise in forced abductions in the Caucasian enclave in 2017.

Russian investigative journalist Elena Milashina was severely beaten in Grozny, Chechnya’s capital, during a visit in 2022.

In commenting on the latest video, 1Adat suggested that not only was it outrageous that Kadyrov should advocate such actions, but he showed no shame or fear of any consequences for making them so publicly. Why, they ask, are others declared international terrorists for exactly the same terrorist attacks that Kadyrov committed and is committing?

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