A video of Russian opposition figure Mikhail Kasyanov placed in sniper crosshairs was posted late Sunday on the Instagram account of Chechnya's ruler Ramzan Kadyrov in what some are calling a murder threat. Kasyanov, who was prime minister of Russia under President Vladimir Putin from 2000 to 2004, has been a longtime Putin critic as leader of RPR-Parnas party. Putin and Kadyrov are close allies.
In a recent interview, Kadyrov branded Putin's opponents as "traitors" and "enemies."
The Chechen leader said in his Instagram post that Kasyanov was in Strasbourg, France, home of the European Parliament, to raise money for political causes, warning that "Whoever doesn't get it will get it!” referring to the title of a bizarre action movie where Kadyrov cast himself as the lead character.
The Instagram video shows Kasyanov speaking with Vladimir Kara-Murza, a journalist who runs the pro-democracy opposition movement Open Russia. The group was launched by exiled oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
Kadyrov often turns to his Instagram account when making political statements, as in March last year when he defended one of the Chechens that was charged with the assassination of Boris Nemtsov in February 2015. Nemtsov is one of many well-known opponents of Putin who have been murdered over the last 10 years.
The enigmatic leader of the northern Caucasus country rules like a dictator, using his private militia to carry out repression, including torture and assassination, claim his critics. Ilya Yashin, who co-chairs RPR-Parnas with Kasyanov, called the video "an open threat to murder Kasyanov,” according to a BBC report Monday.
Alexei Navalny, an anti-corruption campaigner in Moscow, agreed with Yashin in a Facebook post. "There is no longer any doubt that all such statements in recent weeks and specifically this one were approved by Putin and the Kremlin, and quite probably were inspired by them too,” he said.