The wife of man detained for ‘consuming alcohol and drugs’ has been forced to apologise to Chechen Head Ramzan Kadyrov, after she accused police of behaving illegally.
Three dozen men were detained in Chechnya on 24–25 October suspected of consuming alcohol and drugs. They were ordered to clean a cemetery.
According to the Caucasian Knot, people suspected of using alcohol, and illegal and psychotropic drugs were detained in several Chechen settlements. On 30 October, the head of the Interior Department of Chechnya’s Nadterechny District, Valid Batsilov, published on his personal Instagram page a photograph of the men cleaning the local cemetery.
‘Today, the work on the cemetery located in Beno-Yurt village of Nadterechny District of the Chechen Republic has continued. This work involves 30 people who were involved in the use of alcohol, narcotics and psychotropic substances’, Batsilov wrote.
Milana Nuraliyeva, the wife of one of the detainees, appealed to Kadyrov the day after the detention. In her public message on Instagram, she said that 26 people were detained ‘without trial because some drug addict said they too took part in all that, and in order to be released they were told to give [₽150,000 ($2,600)]’.
Quoting a close friend of Nuraliyeva, Caucasian Knot reported that the woman was forced to promptly apologise for her words.
‘She was forced to write a new appeal where she stated her husband was detained for using psychotropic drugs, that no one was demanding money, and that she invented the story herself. She also apologised to Ramzan Akhmatovich [Kadyrov]’, she was quoted as saying.
Public apologies ‘normalised’
An activist in a Russian rights group working in Chechnya told OC Media that such forced public apologies caused widespread resentment among Chechens several years ago. The organisation requested to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.
‘Three or four years ago this was an isolated case. Back then the people’s reaction was based on values. Such actions were massively condemned, it was said you couldn’t treat people like that, public repentance was compared to humiliation of a person’s dignity and pride. They talked about human rights violations. But a transformation has happened’, the activist told OC Media.
According to them, the transformation happened because such public apologies became frequent and normalised.
‘There were different situations. For example, there was a public humiliation of a woman who was caught drinking with men. On TV they showed both the woman and the men, brought their closest relatives, and everything went so far that now people think it’s normal, saying: “If they have acted wrongly, let them be shown before everyone, humiliated, so that next time they don’t do it” ’, the activist says.
The activist does not exclude the possibility that Chechen authorities have analysts who follow the reaction of society, and monitor public attitudes on social networks, and that the public apologies discourages people from speaking out.
‘There are no protests because nobody wants to be on the other side of the screen. I don’t want to blame the people. When you are suppressed for so long, you stop controlling the situation, you don’t know where the next blow will come from. And this is a very fertile ground to be turned into a puppet’, the activist concluded.