Striving to keep up with development, the president of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov has bought himself some bitcoins. The outspoken strongman of the once restive Russian republic has bragged about the purchase on social media. Whether that means “yes” to cryptocurrency in the Caucasus is ultimately up to Moscow. Nevertheless, the government in Grozny has been somewhat positive towards the concept of decentralization and has already moved to put some public records on a blockchain.
Holding a Share of Bitcoin
“I’ve made up my mind to buy a share of bitcoin to follow the evolution of the cryptocurrency”, Kadyrov posted on his VKontakte page. In the constantly changing world of technologies one has to improve oneself to be able to grasp innovations, he told followers on the Russian social network. “I have already stated that blockchain will be introduced in the Chechen Republic and I am also interested in innovative payment networks”, Kadyrov added.
The Chechen head of state believes the crypto sector should be clearly regulated by federal law, but not banned. “The most important thing is to protect citizens from financial pyramids and other fraudulent schemes”, the president wrote.
Ramzan Kadyrov did not reveal the amount of rubles he spent on bitcoin. However, he took time to warn his compatriots about the risks associated with cryptocurrency investments. “It is a dubious thing”, he said. “You can lose all your money. There is no insurance there”, he added, noting the high rates of fraud in the crypto world.
Crypto Morals Preached
An extended version of Kadyrov’s warning was shared some time ago on a Telegram channel posting “selected quotes” from the president. “In recent months we have heard a lot about the so called cryptocurrencies and I cannot stand aside and keep my opinion to myself”, he said, cautioning Chechens that “super profit” comes with extraordinary risks.
“Media is presenting cryptocurrencies as the new gold, provoking some kind of a bitcoin fever. People take credit, deprive themselves and their families to invest their last money in digital assets”, Kadyrov noted. The Chechen leader admitted he was worried about the moral side of such investments.
“Someone who puts money into cryptocurrencies expects their value to increase many fold… Their price grows only at the expense of investors’ greed. Those people are trying to draw in new investors and then get rich thanks to their greed,” Kadyrov said about 10 days before his bitcoin purchase. He went on to ask followers to share his warnings with friends and relatives that had been “drawn into such adventures”.
Russian media have reported that the Chechen leadership has raised sights on the blockchain technology. About a week ago, again on Telegram, Ramzan Kadyrov announced his government was “actively working” on implementing it in “Rosreestr”, the Russian property register system. Chechnya, Kadyrov wrote, was doing that in cooperation with Vnesheconombank (VEB), a federal institution focused on financing development projects.
“We are implementing blockchain in the Republic’s register. A working group has been set up together with Vnesheconombank. I [can’t] say when it will happen, but we are working on it”, the Chechen president stated, quoted by Cryptellect.
Kadyrov put forward the blockchain idea during a meeting with VEB’s president Sergey Gorkov last year. At the time he hinted on Instagram about a series of upcoming innovative projects to be realized in Chechnya. The proposal to decentralize the republic’s property register was the first one on the table.
Social Media Star
From football passions to national healthcare issues, horse riding to motorbiking, Chechnya’s head of state has it all shared on social media, keeping his compatriots well informed about what he is up to. He has been rated as the most quoted blogger among heads of Russian regions. Kadyrov has used his pages to call for Lenin’s body burial and declare readiness to resign and devote his life to protecting the Al-Aqsa Mosque. He has issued official statements and even posted about his missing cat. Russian media have enjoyed his pictures and videos, including exclusive material from high life events.
Beside Russian channels, the Chechen leader had also maintained Facebook and Instagram accounts before they were taken down in December. Kadyrov had over 3 million followers to his Russian-language Instagram, and another 750,000 on Facebook. He accused the U.S. government of putting pressure on the social networks to close his accounts. Kadyrov has since moved to an Instagram-like Chechen social network called Mylistory, quickly followed by 30,000 new subscribers. He is also actively using his Twitter account.
U.S. authorities imposed travel bans and financial sanctions on Ramzan Kadyrov over multiple allegations of human rights abuses. His administration has been accused of persecuting gay men in Chechnya. In a HBO interview last year he said there were no such people in his republic. A couple of years ago Kadyrov urged Chechen men to ban their wives from using WhatsApp after outrage over the marriage of an underage girl to a 47-year-old police chief spread on the messaging service.
Do you think Kadyrov’s bitcoin purchase is just a PR stunt, or the Chechen strongman has really changed his mind about cryptos? Tell us in the comments section below.
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Author: Lubomir Tassev