Europe

Instagram video removal angers Chechen leader Kadyrov

Chechnya's leader Ramzan Kadyrov, 28 Dec 2015 Image copyright AP
Image caption Ramzan Kadyrov often uses inflammatory language about the Russian opposition

Chechnya's leader Ramzan Kadyrov has accused Instagram of bowing to US pressure, after it removed a video he posted showing a Russian opposition leader in a sniper's gunsights.

Instagram said the video had "violated the requirement to respect other members" of the social network.

In a new Instagram post Mr Kadyrov said he had been punished for saying "a few words about the USA's guard dogs".

His video showed former Russian PM Mikhail Kasyanov as a sniper's target.

Mr Kasyanov is a high-profile critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in the opposition RPR-Parnas party.

Putin loyalist Kadyrov unleashed on Russian 'traitors'

Ramzan Kadyrov: Putin's key Chechen ally

Image copyright Instagram - screenshot
Image caption A still from the Kadyrov video showing Mikhail Kasyanov as a target

The Chechen leader has recently called Mr Putin's critics "enemies" and "traitors".

In his latest post on Instagram, Mr Kadyrov said: "Here it is, the much-acclaimed freedom of speech, American style!

"You can write anything you want, but do not touch America's dogs, friends of the Department of State and Congress. You know very well whom I am talking about!"

Mr Kasyanov and other Russian opposition politicians described the sniper video as a murder threat.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mikhail Kasyanov was dismissed by President Putin in 2004

Last March Mr Kadyrov spoke out on Instagram about the assassination of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in Moscow, defending one of the Chechens charged over the shooting.

A day later President Putin gave Mr Kadyrov a top award.

Mr Nemtsov is among several well-known opponents of Mr Putin who have been murdered in the past decade.

Mr Kadyrov runs Chechnya with an iron fist - his private militia has been accused of widespread human rights abuses, including torture and assassination.

He has close ties to Mr Putin, who encouraged him to stamp out a separatist insurgency in Chechnya.

Thousands of civilians died in the North Caucasus republic when Russian troops fought the rebels there in the 1990s.

More on this story