Chechan President Ramzan Kadyrov, who’s been accused of ordering a murderous anti-gay purge earlier this year, says he is ready to step down.
“It is possible to say that it is my dream,” Kadyrov told state-owned television network Russia-1 of resigning. “Once there was a need for people like me to fight, to put things in order. Now we have order and prosperity … and time has come for changes in the Chechen Republic.”
Asked about potential successors, Kadryov said that if he were to step down, his replacement would be chosen by the Kremlin. Kadyrov has has made similar statements in the past, prompting speculation that this was merely a symbolic show of loyalty to Vladimir Putin, who is expected to run for a fourth term in March.
In the same interview, Kadryov described the Russian president as his “idol”: “I am ready to die for him, to fulfill any order.”
Kadryov was originally endorsed by Putin in March 2016, but has allegedly embarrassed the Kremlin with the pogrom, as well as reportedly torturing and murdering political opponents.
More than 100 gay men have reportedly been tortured in concentration camps in Chechnya, with at least four dying. Kadyrov has continually denied such a crackdown exists, even claiming there are no gay people in Chechnya.