Chechen leader fires back at John Oliver over lost cat row

Published May 25th, 2016 - 11:44 GMT
Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov in Grozny, 2009 (AFP/Viskhan Magomadov)
Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov in Grozny, 2009 (AFP/Viskhan Magomadov)

In his latest swipe at a world leader, HBO’s John Oliver has gone after Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov. The ‘Last Week Tonight’ host reportedly poked fun at the leader of Russia’s Chechnya federality after Kadyrov posted a picture of his lost cat on his Instagram-@kadyrov_95-asking for help finding it. But now, Kadyrov is fighting back via social media. The Guardian and various other outlets reported on the exchange.

So what exactly went down? On May 22nd, Oliver made fun of Kadyrov’s post on the lost cat. He told the audience he assumed Kadyrov already checked where cats usually hide: “lying in a sun beam,” and “staring right at you with murder in its eyes.”

Oliver further claimed that Kadyrov is known for human rights abuses, citing The New York Times and Wikipedia. “Kadyrov’s like a can of Monster energy drink come to life,” said Oliver after showing a clip of the leader working out.

John Oliver even went so far as to post a picture of himself on Instagram holding a cat, and mentioned Kadyrov’s handle saying “Is this your cat, @kadyrov_95?” Yikes.

Kadyrov didn’t take the joke too well, and on May 23rd, posted a photoshopped image of Oliver’s Instagram post with Oliver in a Vladmir Putin t-shirt on the application.

Actually, what appeared to most set off Kadyrov was Oliver’s mentioning of the Chechen’s relationship with Russian president Putin.

“It seems Kadyrov is absolutely obsessed with him. Just look at him wearing this t-shirt with Putin’s face on it,” said Oliver while showing another pic from Kadyrov’s Instagram showing him in a Putin t-shirt. Kadyrov posts several of such pics.

Kadyrov got all political in response. “Yes, millions of people rejoice t-shirts with the image of the national leader,” he posted in English.

“Thanks to Putin, we have crushed terrorists among whom there were also citizens of the USA, and European citizens...The country directed by Obama under the guise of peacekeeping operations spark new wars and bloody internal conflicts,” he added, referring to Libya, Syria etc.

Ironically, Chechnya is known for exporting Islamic militants, and Daesh (ISIS)’s late top commander Omar al-Shishani (Omar the Chechen) was half-Chechen.

Will the feud end with Kadyrov’s latest pic? Or will Oliver strike again? Either way, it seems clear the comedian struck a nerve.

--AL


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