Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov sneaked up on a crocodile and wrestled it to the ground in a bizarre video posted here to the leader's personal Instagram account, the Telegraph reported Monday. The 39-year-old Kadyrov, leader of the northern Russian region of Chechnya, has an expansive social media presence, with more than 1.2 million followers on the photo-sharing site.
The video of Kadryov is possibly staged, according to the Telegraph, as evidenced by its professional quality filming and apparent premeditation. The video shows the Chechen leader attack and quickly overpower the crocodile, seemingly with little effort.
Kadryov's video is reminiscent of photographs taken of Russian President Vladimir Putin riding a horse bare-chested in 2009 -- or ones of him shooting harmless darts at whales using a crossbow in 2010. The macho publicity stunts are usually intended to project an image of power and virility to the rest of the world.
Ramzan Kadryov's IG is outrageous as ever. Here he is w/ a massive fish and dressed like a biker in a state meeting. pic.twitter.com/fXhu8b1ZfY
— Mohammed (@think_B1G) July 8, 2015
Kadryov has close ties with Putin, and he was directly appointed by the Russian president to the position he now serves. Following the assassination of Kadyrov's father, former Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov, and the subsequent 2004 removal of his successor Alu Alkhanov, the young Kadyrov became president in 2007.
The leader of the often war-torn region has fused a potent mix of Muslim religiosity and pro-Putin sentiment to form a distinctive brand of Chechen identity. "Long live our great motherland Russia! Long live our national leader Vladimir Putin! Allah-u Akbar,” he declared at a speech in June, reported the Guardian.
"He acts like a medieval tyrant," Movladi Baisarov, a defected Chechen special forces officer said, reported the Washington Post in 2007, soon after Kadryov was appointed. "I know of many people executed on his express orders, and I know exactly where they are buried. If someone tells the truth about what is going on, it's like signing his own death warrant," said Baisarov, who was mysteriously shot and killed several months later in Moscow.
Many commentators both in and outside Chechnya have called President Kadryov a "war lord," given his background commanding paramilitary troops.