Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov insisted on Wednesday he was in good health amid growing rumors he was suffering from serious kidney problems and even the after-effects of a poisoning attempt.
“I am healthy and full of energy”, Kadyrov said in a Telegram post, adding that he was “sorry for upsetting” anyone who hoped he was “terminally ill”.
“As usual, I play sports, hike in the mountains and solve important problems for the development of the republic,” Kadyrov said.
The health of this 46-year-old man, who has ruled Chechnya with an iron fist since 2007, is the subject of much speculation, especially since a article in German newspaper Bild earlier this month, he claimed he had summoned a specialist from the United Arab Emirates to treat a serious kidney condition.
Addressing the reports, Kadyrov explained that the item he had been seen carrying in his hand in recent months – which some had speculated was some sort of medical device – was actually a electronic ring designed to track the religious activities of the day.
Kadyrov’s absence from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech to the Federal Assembly in Moscow on February 2. 21 has only increased speculation about his health.
Earlier this month, Kadyrov revealed that his 17-year-old son Akhmat had encounter “unofficially” with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin, immediately prompting speculation that Kadyrov could lay the foundations for a second generational transfer of power in Chechnya.
On Monday, Kadyrov was seen meeting rather awkwardly with Putin in the Kremlin where the two discussed the economy of Chechnya and the impact of Western sanctions.
A staunch ally of Putin, Kadyrov fully supported the invasion of Ukraine, even affirming of sending two of his teenage sons to the front – and establishing himself as a vocal anti-Ukrainian hawk.