Clerics, weightlifters, and politicians: Ramzan Kadyrov’s Instagram as an official project of Chechen memory and identity production

In: Caucasus Survey
Karena Avedissian Institute of Armenian Studies, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA

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Head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov’s Instagram has been the focus of popular interest and news since it was launched in 2013. This article strives to show that Kadyrov’s communication through Instagram reproduces and imposes a new, authorized discursive hegemony that positions Chechen national identity within a broader pro-Russian ideological framework legitimating Kadyrov’s power in his Chechen nation-building project. The findings reveal the deployment of three main themes: Islam, sport, and government Public Relations (PR), which serve as discursive vehicles to encourage national cohesion. Situated within a discourse analysis analytical framework, the findings contribute to understandings of social media as a communicative platform in a post-Soviet authoritarian context for normalizing new ideologies.

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