(The Telegraph) Ramzan Kadyrov styles himself as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most loyal follower, but the scale of his ambitions is now being questioned as he becomes increasingly independent from the Kremlin.
Oblivious to the crosshairs converging neatly on his chest, the sniper’s target stood obligingly still while chatting with his companions. The view shook slightly as the sniper took a breath. He had a perfect shot, but didn’t take it – this time.
The “sniper” was actually a cameraman with a long lens, and the crosshairs just a downloaded filter, but for Mikhail Kasyanov, who featured as the "target" in the notorious video uploaded to Instagram this month, the menace was very real. The opposition leader and former prime minister immediately informed the Russian security services of the death threat. […]
“He is believed to be able to call on 1,000 to 2,000 armed men in Moscow at any one time, and could move in another 20,000 quite easily,” said Nikolai Petrov, an expert on Russian regional politics at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics. “If Vladimir Putin disappears tomorrow for whatever reason, that makes him a potential king maker – or even a king.”
“In that situation whoever is able to act faster than others can take power. Although Kadyrov controls much fewer men than Sergei Shoigu, the defence minister, they are unquestionably loyal to him and they will follow his orders quickly,” said Mr Petrov.
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