In an unexpected consequence of Western sanctions against Russia, the Chechen strongman and Putin ally Ramzan Kadyrov has become an outspoken champion for “horse rights.” The Czech Republic, where Kadyrov keeps his stable of racehorses, ruled on Monday that it would freeze any prize money won by the animals.
The Czech decision came as the EU decided to extend sanctions against Russia for its role in the Ukraine crisis. As one of Putin’s staunchest supporters, Kadyrov is on the list of sanctioned individuals.
Writing in a Facebook post that shows him nuzzling a horse (in Cyrillic), Kadyrov said: “What can we say about human rights in the West, if they crudely violate the rights of horses, the most peaceful, kind and gentle animals in the world?” (translated by the Moscow Times).
To emphasize his point, Kadyrov referenced Alexander the Great and his horse Bucephalus, whom he says surely would have been upset by the Western sanctions.
“If Bucephalus had heard about this, even a thousand years later he would have been so surprised that he would have rolled over in his grave,” he writes. “And Alexander the Great would have declared a war to restore horses’ rights.”
Along with Facebook, Kadyrov is also fond of Instagram, where he has 1.1 million followers. Earlier this week, however, he made his Instagram account private in order to weed out critics and pesky journalists.
Despite Kadyrov’s protestations, it seems that the only thing violated here will be Kadyrov’s bank account, as the confiscated prize money will go into the upkeep of the stable. Kadyrov himself has been accused of grave human rights abuses by rights organizations and foreign governments.