Pro-Putin Chechen Leader Ramzan Kadyrov Hires Zelensky Impersonator for Surrender Fantasy

Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP, File

Ramzan Kadyrov, the eccentric leader of the Chechen Republic and a staunch ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, on Thursday hired a not-terribly-convincing stand-in for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to star in series of short videos where the Ukrainian leader breaks down in tears, signs a surrender document, and begs Kadyrov to forgive him for resisting the Russian invasion of his country.

The videos show a captive “Zelensky” being marched into the opulent Grozny office of the Chechen leader. The ersatz Zelensky has flour smeared on his nose, apparently to suggest he has been snorting cocaine – a visual reference to Putin’s dismissal of the Ukrainian leadership as a bunch of “drug addicts.”

Zelensky is then shoved into a seat and made to deliver a humiliating address to the Ukrainian people in which he announces the “unconditional capitulation of all our armed forces, on land, sea, and in the air.”

Zelensky promises to implement the “full demilitarization and de-Nazification” of Ukraine, as demanded by Putin when he launched the invasion of Ukraine in February. The actor playing Zelensky shivers in exaggerated terror throughout the speech.

The phony Zelensky then offers some ritual praise of the Akhmat Battalions, the Chechen fighters dispatched by Kadyrov to assist with the Russian invasion, and confesses he should have surrendered “a long time ago.”

The video series concludes with a sniveling Zelensky begging for more “flour” and asking if he can join the Akhmat Battalions. Kadyrov sternly refuses both requests.

The number of Chechens fighting for Russia in Ukraine is uncertain, as are their precise activities, although their units have an unsavory reputation. As the Kyiv Post pointed out in June, there are also quite a few Chechens fighting for Ukraine, many of them motivated by distaste for Kadyrov’s regime.


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