Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has posted an Instagram video showing Russian opposition politician Mikhail Kasyanov in a sniper’s crosshairs.
Former PM Mikhail Kasyanov is a high-profile critic of President Vladimir Putin, in the opposition RPR-Parnas party.
Recently Ramzan Kadyrov called Vladimir Putin’s critics “enemies” and “traitors”.
Russian opposition politicians have described the posting as a murder threat.
Ramzan Kadyrov said Mikhail Kasyanov was seeking cash in Strasbourg for the opposition.
The Chechen leader warned: “Whoever doesn’t get it will get it!”
In March 2015, Ramzan Kadyrov spoke out on Instagram about the assassination of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in Moscow. That message defended one of the Chechens charged over the shooting.
A day later, Vladimir Putin gave Ramzan Kadyrov a top award.
Boris Nemtsov was among several well-known opponents of Vladimir Putin murdered in the past decade.
Ramzan 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 Vladimir 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.
The new video is the latest in a series of threatening messages from Ramzan Kadyrov against Kremlin critics, whom he accuses of working for the West.
It shows Mikhail Kasyanov talking to Vladimir Kara-Murza, a journalist who runs the pro-democracy opposition movement Open Russia. The movement was launched by exiled oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
The video was posted late on January 31 and has more than 16,000 “Likes”.
Mikhail Kasyanov says he sees it as a direct death threat and will demand a criminal investigation.
Ilya Yashin, who co-chairs RPR-Parnas with Mikhail Kasyanov, called the video “an open threat to murder Kasyanov”.
Another opposition leader, anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny, echoed that view.
On Facebook, Alexei Navalny said: “There is no longer any doubt that all such statements in recent weeks and specifically this one were approved by Putin and the Kremlin, and quite probably were inspired by them too.”
One theory discussed on Russian social media is that he is being used by the Kremlin to intimidate its critics – particularly as growing economic problems raise the potential for protest.
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