OLGA KRAVETSIn 2009, Ramzan Kadyrov proudly announced that "peace has come to the land of Chechnya."The head of the Chechen Republic's rise to power started back in May 2004, when Vladimir Putin appointed him deputy prime minister of Chechnya after the death of Kadyrov's father. Since the age of 30, he has been given free rein in his country so long as he keeps the rebels at bay.Officially, Chechnya remains part of Russia as the result of two wars, but Russia's constitution is applied selectively here. The government tortures young men if they show any sign of dissent. The houses of rebels' families are burned to ashes at the direct order of the president, and outspoken human rights activists face angry, violent mobs who torch their offices and beat them. Alcohol is sold only in five-star hotels to foreigners, and Kadyrov was able to summon about 60 percent of the republic's population to a "Love for the Prophet Muhammad" rally.
Once, when asked where he gets the money for his lavish lifestyle and Turkish-built skyscrapers, Kadyrov notoriously answered, "From Allah."
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadykrov greets a widow of a policemen killed in clashes with rebels during the parade dedicated to the 65th anniversary of the Soviet victory in the WWII held in downtown Grozny, 2010.