This piece by Vitaly Klimov is from today’s Komsomolskaya Pravda:
Chechnya’s returning heroes (from the Olympic Games in Rio) were met by thousands of fans waving the flags of the Chechen Republic and of the Russian Federation.
The accompanying short video shows Chechen Leader Ramzan Kadyrov congratulating the returning athletes. After a victory banquet, Kadyrov and the athletes then proceed on a victory lap through the skyscraper-bedecked streets of Grozny, with Kadyrov leading the convoy of cars in his Roll Royce. The others follow in a flotilla of six brand-new Mercedes jeeps. As night descends, a fireworks display erupts, accompanied by shouts of “Allahu Akbar!”
The following athletes hailing from Chechnya were singled out for special acclaim:
Light-weight Boxer Adlan Abdurashidov
Freestyle Wrestler Anzor Boltukaev
Weight-lifters Apti Aukhadov and Adam Maligov were not able to attend the games in Rio due to the banning of the entire Russian weight-lifting team. However, Kadyrov still gave them Mercedes automobiles and called them “victors”.
Here is what Ramzan wrote on his Instagram:
“These lads belong to the number of strongest sportsmen of the country, having won passes to the main sporting event which occurs every four years. And they were worthy to represent the multi-national people of the Russian Federation. The Rio Games were extremely difficult for the Russian team, with the unleashing of the clearly biased and unfair doping scandal (against our athletes). Their participation was put into question until the very last moment. Despite of all this, the Olympians of Russia showed a true determination, strength of will and athletic prowess. Despite the colossal psychological pressure and the arbitrariness of the judges, the Russian team was still able to garner fourth place overall, having won 56 medals. In the course of the triumphal celebration I thanked the athletes for their determination and awarded them on behalf of the Republic. I expressed confidence that our major Olympic successes are still ahead of us. One of the guests at our celebration was our countryman Albert Saritov. Representing Romania, he won the bronze medal in Freestyle Wresting. Stars of the Chechen stage and screen then performed in the Concert Hall Safia, in honor of the hundreds of our athletes. After which, by decision of the President [Kadyrov], six athletes became the proud owners of Mercedes jeeps.”
As of the time I saw this piece, there were 55 comments from Russian readers. In my own non-scientific manner, I divided the comments into the following three categories:
- Positive response – commenter approves of Kadyrov’s actions and is proud of the Chechen team’s accomplishments and/or just in general approving of Kadyrov leadership of Chechnya: 15 comments. Typical comment (Igor): “Ramzan is a cool guy. The athletes deserved this. They will win medals in the future.” [responding to sniping comments that the Chechen team did not actually win any medals]. Iustas: “This was a worthy action of a worthy man. The main thing is how the Chechen Republic was resurrected from the ruins. But there are evil people who continue to poke at the situation, who try to incite war and destruction…”
- Negative or sniping – commenter does not think well of Kadyrov nor of Chechens, or regards them as moochers off the Federal budget and/or thinks Ramzan is a dictator and/or sneers at Putin and/or believes that Russia is paying protection money to the Chechens: 31 comments. This seems to be the trending point of view. Typical comment (Fedya): “I am not opposed to the resurrection of Chechnya, but why at the expense of other regions? Skyscrapers, highways, mosques and stadiums are built in the dotational Chechnya with money that is collected from (other) Russian regions.”
- None of above or comment is cryptic, cannot determine point of view: 9 comments.