Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov didn’t take kindly to comedian John Oliver making fun of him for posting about his lost cat on Instagram.
The 39-year-old, described as a “ruthless” ruler and repeatedly accused of violating human rights and cracking down on press freedom and political dissent, has spent the past two weeks waiting for his tiger-like cat to come home.
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He took to his Instagram account May 20 to make a public plea for any information about his feline companion.
A translation of Kadyrov’s Instagram post, via the Moscow Times, reads:
“We all thought that he would reappear, since he is very attached to the children and loves to play with them and go out with them in the yard. But now we have begun to seriously worry. Perhaps he is with someone nearby. That person may not know how to find the owners. I am sure that no one needs someone else’s cat. Therefore, we would be grateful for any information. Thanks in advance.”
The wayward feline is a toyger, short for “toy tiger.” It’s a cross of a Bengal cat and a domestic shorthair cat, bred to look like a tiger.
Oliver poked fun at Kadyrov Sunday night during the weekly broadcast of his HBO program Last Week Tonight.
“Kadyrov being upset about his lost cat is not good. This is a man whose security forces have been accused of kidnappings and torture, and whose Wikipedia page has an entire section dedicated to accusations of human rights abuses,” the comedian noted, before taking a couple of jabs at the content Kadyrov’s Instagram account.
“It’s not just where he announced that he lost his cat, it’s also where he keeps his 1.8 million followers updated with videos of his workout routine set to the finest European rave music,” said Oliver before going on to describe Kadyrov as “a can of Monster energy drink come to life.”
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Kadyrov’s Instagram account is notorious: at times described as “creepy” and “weird“, his account has everything from pics of him wrestling in the snow and frolicking in the leaves, to cuddling baby animals and posing with assault weapons.
“Honestly, I cannot recommend his Instagram account enough,” Oliver said. “It almost makes you forget he was once accused of beating a prisoner with a shovel handle before executing him… Almost, but not quite.”
That was a claim by Kadyrov’s defector former bodyguard, Umar S. Israilov, made before he was murdered on a street in Vienna in 2009.
Kadyrov was appointed leader of the Chechen Republic by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2007.
His close ties with Putin were also fodder for Oliver’s jokes – something that wasn’t all that hard to do given the ubiquity of Putin’s visage on the account.
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The jabs pushed Kadyrov to take to Instagram once more, in English no less, to hit back at Oliver and attempted to mock him.
Kadyrov posted an image of Oliver, with a Putin T-shirt photoshopped onto him, saying the comedian “got his wish to appear publicly in a T-shirt with an image of Putin, but not Obama.”
He heaped praise on the Russian president and criticized the U.S., accusing President Barack Obama of sparking deadly “new wars and bloody internal conflicts.”
As for his missing cat, he assured his followers that reports of the cat turning up everywhere from Iceland to New Zealand, and even the Oval Office, were false.