Life under Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to return to the old Soviet standards this month after a Chechen newspaper was closed following an embarrassing comment by the editor-in-chief in the presence of the Russia strongman. Worse yet, people actually laughed when Belkis Dudayeva, the editor-in-chief of Kadyrov’s Path, asked a question that began with “Thank God that Chechnya has now become a region of peace and prosperity…”
The laughter appeared to have barely subsided when Ramzan Kadyrov (right), the head of the Chechen Republic, announced later that the newspaper would be closed down. So much for free speech and press freedom in Russia. Putin is not known for his sense of humor despite being the laughing stock of the world for his pathetic efforts to develop of cult of personality around his claimed superhuman abilities.
Of course, there is little funny about Valdimir Putin who has stripped Russians of hard-won civil liberties, destroyed press freedoms, reestablished the Tsarist entanglement of the Russian Orthodox Church in politics, and massively increased military spending. It was a true accomplishment for Ramzan Kadyrov to get anyone to laugh at anything during the Putin era.
Kadyrov’s people insisted it was not censorship but that the name of the publication was the problem. Kadyrov was a former Chechen rebel who became the republic’s president under Putin and the government insisted that the publication could not use his name. It just came to that conclusion hours after embarrassing Putin.