Just a day after a deadly terrorist attack in the Chechen capital of Grozny, the North Caucasus republic’s leader announced sweeping anti-terror laws that may just be the harshest in the world, punishing the terrorist’s family as well as local officials. The buff pro-Kremlin social media aficionado made the announcement on his usual mode of communication, Instagram.
“If a militant in Chechnya kills a policeman or any other person, the militant’s family will be immediately banished from Chechnya without the right to return, and their house will be razed to the ground,” Ramzan Kadyrov wrote as part of his announcement, apparently borrowing a tactic from Israel’s anti-terrorism playbook. To avoid such punishment, Kadyrov wrote that a father who suspects his son is radicalizing must turn him over to the authorities or “stop him using other means,” remaining frighteningly ambiguous about what those other means might be.
In addition, Kadyrov announced that he expects local leaders to immediately tender their resignations if even one person from their districts takes up arms against the state. “Let them work day and night to make sure this doesn’t happen. In Chechnya, we will not only stop people from becoming Wahhabists, but even from emulating them in dress or behavior,” he wrote, referring to an ultraconservative brand of Islam.
And the notoriously violent leader made clear that he doesn’t care at all for the opinions of “so-called human rights organizations,” citing Western bombings in Iraq and Syria as proof of the fact that they don’t care for the rights of innocent Muslim collateral casualties. He’s frequently been accused of sacrificing pesky things like civil liberties in favor of power and security. Before today’s announcement, he had posted a photo of a militant executed by his security forces onto Instagram, boasting that “dogs die like dogs.”
A terrorist attack in Grozny killed at least 20 people early Thursday. The attack destroyed several buildings and was by far the worst in recent memory, though officials have been fighting a radical insurgency — driven by a different brand of political Islam than that held by Kadyrov — for decades.