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Chechen Leader Kadyrov Appears Nervous Reading Achievements to Putin

Chechnya’s strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov has been caught on camera looking nervous during a recorded meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The two leaders face one another in a clip of their encounter on Monday in Moscow, during which Kadyrov reads from pre-prepared notes as Putin looks on.

Kadyrov is one of Putin’s most steadfast allies, maintaining a personal relationship with Putin as he rules over the southern Russian republic of Chechnya. They have a “father-son relationship,” but one that hinges on “mutual dependency,” experts previously told Newsweek. Kadyrov has also vocally supported Russia’s war in Ukraine.

In the video clip, Kadyrov told Putin that Chechnya was doing “well,” yet used constant filler words in his speech, according to a translation and analysis posted to Twitter by BBC Monitoring journalist Francis Scarr.

In the excerpt, and according to a Kremlin-supplied transcript of the conversation, Kadyrov tells Putin he wishes to “brag” about Grozny’s success in state projects, employment and industrial production. He also praised Chechnya’s efforts on Moscow’s behalf in Ukraine.

In an accompanying post on Telegram, Kadyrov said Chechnya’s residents understand “the importance of what is happening in our country and fully supports the course of our national leader.”

Referencing Monday’s meeting, the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) think tank described Kadyrov as attempting to maintain the republic’s political and military relevance to Putin.

But a “visibly nervous” Kadyrov likely felt “considerable pressure to present Chechnya, himself, and his troops to Putin in a positive and productive light,” the think tank argued on Monday.

But Chechen fighters have a “very minimal role” on Ukraine’s front lines, the ISW evaluated. Some will be found in the contested eastern Ukrainian Luhansk region, but many will be “carrying out law enforcement tasks” behind the front lines, the think tank said.

Newsweek has contacted the Kremlin for comment.

Kadyrov’s soldiers, known for presenting a very public face on social media platforms, have likely been used as a cleansing force or military police in Ukraine, experts previously told Newsweek.

With Chechen troops far from the bitter fighting on the front lines, Kadyrov could be worried about “losing favor with Putin,” the ISW said. He “likely hoped to correct and bolster his reputation over the course of this meeting,” the think tank added.

Earlier this month, speculation surrounded whether the Chechen leader was suffering health problems. Various media reports claimed Kadyrov had grave kidney problems, and others claimed he had been poisoned.

In February, Kadyrov said on his Telegram channel that his top general in Ukraine had been poisoned after handling an envelope, but that his life was not in danger.

Newsweek could not independently verify these claims.

Chechnya’s strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov has been caught on camera looking nervous during a recorded meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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