Sanctioned Chechen leader appoints 22-year-old daughter as culture minister

Aishat Kadyrova marked her appointment by announcing an exhibition in the Chechen capital of historic weaponry from the State Hermitage Museum

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Aishat Kadyrova with her mother Medni Kadyrova, chief designer of the Firdaws Fashion House, and her father Chechnya's leader Ramzan Kadyrov © Said Tzarnaev / Sputnik

Aishat Kadyrova with her mother Medni Kadyrova, chief designer of the Firdaws Fashion House, and her father Chechnya's leader Ramzan Kadyrov © Said Tzarnaev / Sputnik

Ramzan Kadyrov, the strongman leader of Chechnya accused of multiple human rights violations, has appointed his 22-year-old daughter as minister of culture of the mountainous Northern Caucasus region of Russia.

Aishat Kadyrova launched her tenure with Instagram posts praising her father and announcing a forthcoming exhibition in Grozny, the region’s capital, featuring historical weaponry from St Petersburg’s State Hermitage Museum.

Her previous experience includes serving as deputy culture minister and running Firdaws, a luxury Islamic fashion house founded by her mother.

“For me the new post is a huge responsibility,” she wrote on Instagram alongside a portrait of her with her father. “Not only professional responsibility, but first of all personal. I will direct all of my efforts, all of my energy, to live up to this. Not to fail my parents. Not to fail the head of the republic, whose confidence in me is an honor.” She adds: “Without culture there is no nation!”

Kadyrov appointed his daughter after being re-elected as leader of Chechnya in September elections with 99.7% of the vote. He has been accused of ordering the murder of political opponents at home and abroad and anti-LGBTQ violence. Kadyrov is on EU and US sanctions lists. In 2020, Aishat, her sister and mother were included along with Kadyrov on a US State Department sanctions list for involvement in human rights violations.

“This development is not surprising at all, because like in any dictatorship, especially a dictatorship in the post-Soviet space, Ramzan Kadyrov appoints all of his relatives and all of his kin to these very high-profile positions,” including a nephew who was replaced by another nephew after video surfaced of him “torturing and tasering the citizens of Grozny,” Lana Estemirova, a UK-based writer and activist from Chechnya tells The Art Newspaper. Estemirova’s mother, Natalia, a human rights activist, and unrelenting critic of Kadyrov, was kidnapped and then killed in 2009.

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