A journalist has left the southern Russian republic of Chechnya amid fears for her safety, after writing that a teenage girl was being forced to marry a police commander much older than her.
Elena Milashina had written that the local police head, Nazhud Guchigov, had threatened reprisals against the girl’s family if she was not handed over.
The police commander was also said to be married to another woman.
Ms Milashina’s newspaper said she fled after her safety was threatened.
That’s an interesting style of “police head.” Sounds more like a crime boss.
Chechnya’s authoritarian leader Ramzan Kadyrov, a diehard loyalist of President Vladimir Putin, has in recent years outlawed the abduction of brides and underage marriage.
Although polygamy is banned under Russian law, reports say the Chechen leader is in favour of it.
He took to his Instagram account on Thursday to criticise Russian media coverage of “this fuss ordered by some liberals”.
“The girl’s parents gave their blessing to this marriage,” he claimed, arguing that reports to the contrary were filled with lies.
That’s nice, but what about the girl herself? She’s not a power tool, to be loaned back and forth as long as the owner is happy with the arrangement.
Elena Milashina was said to have visited the girl’s village of Baytarki on Thursday, but then left Chechnya after being warned by police officers from Siberia of a potential threat to her safety from Chechen police.
The Chechen interior ministry said it was “extremely surprised” by the alleged threat and accused the reporter of acting provocatively by entering people’s homes in the village.
Right. Just the way Avijit Roy and Washiqur Rahman and Ananta Bijoy Das “acted provocatively” by writing down their opinions about religion. How dare a journalist go to a place and talk to people there?
Oh well, I’m sure the police chief deserves a nice tight teenager.