Ramzan Kadyrov – a key Vladimir Putin henchman and proponent of the war in Ukraine – has awarded himself a top medal declaring he is a ‘hero’.
He announced the creation of the newly-minted honour three months ago, and has now reportedly presented the first one to himself.
The gold medal means he is a Hero of Chechnya, the republic in southern Russia that he rules with an iron fist.
According to the power-crazy Kadyrov, 46, the medal was planned as an award to fighters who ‘distinguished themselves’ in Putin’s war in Ukraine, and for specific ‘heroic deeds’.
His specific ‘heroic deed’ has not been disclosed.
The award comes amid rumours warlord Kadyrov – who during the war Putin made a Colonel-General in Russia’s national guard – has in recent weeks absented himself to spend time in the Maldives and his palace in Dubai, even as his forces – known for their cruelty – were fighting in Ukraine.
His private jet has been seen in both locations.
Vladimir Putin (left) and Ramzan Kadyrov (right) are pictured at the Kremlin
Putin’s warlord Ramzan Kadyrov (left) wearing a police uniform with some of his awards pinned on the chest
Kadyrov is pictured clutching a pair of machine guns. The Chechen warlord is one of the foremost proponents of the war in Ukraine
Critics say Kadyrov – seen as Russia’s wealthiest politician after Putin, and believed to have at least 14 children – suffers from the ‘Brezhnev medal syndrome’.
Former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev was famous for his chest-full of honours and awards.
Kadyrov’s ally Magomed Daudov, head of the Chechen Parliament, delivered a cringing eulogy to the strongman.
‘On behalf of the deputies of the Parliament of the Chechen Republic and on my own behalf, I sincerely congratulate you on the award of the highest title of the republic – Hero of the Chechen Republic for No. 1,’ he said.
‘Your services to the Chechen Republic and the Russian Federation cannot be overestimated, and they are, without exaggeration, worthy of special study.’
Earlier this month the same parliament voted him the title Father of the Nation.
He has three dozen other awards, including Hero of Russia, bestowed by Putin.
He is a Hero of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, and has been awarded for strengthening the Russian penal system as well as his supposed contribution to the development of parliamentarianism, agriculture, legislation and state building.
He was awarded for his role in the development of healthcare and medical sciences.
In June 2022, the Dental Association of Russia awarded him the Order of Merit for Dentistry, first degree.
He is frequently accused by Russian and international critics of overseeing grave human rights abuses including abductions, torture, extrajudicial killings, and targeting the LGBT community.
Despite this he has been awarded for his role in promoting human rights.
Kadyrov is one of Putin’s biggest supporters and key domestic allies
Kadyrov has snapped a string of pictures while wielding various firearms
Kadyrov (right) is seen with Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu, whom he has ruthlessly criticised amid Russia’s poor war effort
Former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev was famous for showing off a chest-full of awards. Kadyrov is taking a similar tack
The latest award shows the rising personality cult around Kadyrov, who is reported to have three current wives.
There are suspicions that if Putin falls he will seek a major role in Moscow – or lead Chechnya to breakaway independence if Russia descends into civil war.
Earlier this week he announced he intends to set up his own Wagner-style private army.
A hawk on the war, he constantly demands that Russia should overrun all of Ukraine – and Poland.
The Russian advance was ordained by God, he claims, and should continue to ‘denazify and demilitarise’ neighbouring Poland.
In a recent Telegram rant he said that ‘the fight against Satanism should continue throughout Europe and, first of all, on the territory of Poland’.