Blogger who criticised Putins warlord Ramzan Kadyrov murdered, say reports

A Chechen blogger who repeatedly criticised Vladimir Putin’s henchman Ramzan Kadyrov has been gunned down in Sweden in an apparent assassination, according to reports.

Tumso Abdurakhmanov was allegedly ambushed by an armed gang on the evening of Thursday, December 1, according to Chechen opposition network 1ADAT.

In 2021, he had been the target of a hammer attack that was later blamed on operatives from the Chechen and Russian security services.

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While Abdurakhmanov’s death has not yet officially been confirmed, two sources say Abdurakhmanov was shot by a team of assassins.

A statement on 1ADAT group’s official Telegram said: "Very sadly the rumours of his death turned out to be true".

"Tumso was shot at night by a group of people," they added. "The details of the murder are currently being investigated."

Colleagues of Mr Abdurakhmanov corroborated the report on Radio Free Europe’s Russian Service.

However Vayfond, a Chechen human rights organisation based in Sweden, said on Saturday that they hadn’t heard from him since Thursday, and they had no concrete evidence of his death.

“Although more and more sources confirm this information, [Abdurakhmanov ’s bother] Mohamed has not contacted us yet,” Vayfond’s legal team said via Signal.

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A Telegram channel operated by Kadyrov reported Abdurakhmanov’s death on Thursday, posting photos of a dead body alleged to be that of the Chechen blogger, but later deleted it.

The 36-year-old, who is a long-time critic of Chechen warlord Kadyrov, fled to Sweden in 2020 after he was attacked by a hammer-wielding would-be assassin believed to have been acting on the orders of Kadyrov.

One security services source, speaking to Vice, said: “Unless this is an elaborate operation to catch would-be assassins – which feels unlikely but is possible – we have to wait on the Swedes. But we are acting to protect Chechen dissidents here.

“Obviously he had been targeted before, as has his brother in Germany and extended family in Chechnya.”

They added: “There’s multiple operational reasons to remain silent for a few days about a successful or failed attempt on someone under close protection”.

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